You know, I've never been a fan of the wind. One of my coined phrases as a very small child being “When the trees breeze, the hair gets in my eyes.” Even then, I found this extremely annoying.
If you are a regular reader, you may have noticed that I disappeared for a bit. It's been awhile, even for my erratic blogging habits. Which brings me back to the wind. The “winds of change” to be exact. This new year has brought them into my life with what has felt to me like gale force. In other words, it's hard to type up a blog post when your hands are busy trying to keep the hair out of your eyes.
Unfortunately, the kind of change I've been dealing with is the hard kind, the kind that you should have seen coming, the kind that you could have been better prepared for, maybe, had you not been so involved in reinforcing that wind block you didn't even realize you'd built.
Change within the person I've spent close to half my life loving, change within myself, change within our relationship, our family... my foundation. “Embrace change,” they say. I have many strengths, but this has never been one of them.
While embracing still feels beyond me, I am struggling to allow myself to flow along with it, with as much inner strength and outer grace as I can muster. Lucky for me, these things come easier.
Needless to say, there has been a lot of soul searching going on around these parts. The other day, this lead to the excavation of an old cardboard box buried deep in the detritus of family life that builds up over time in a household closet. Bits and pieces saved from my childhood through college years.
The contents ranging from a few of my milk teeth and locks of soft blond toddler hair to old report cards, yearbooks, and a few pieces of childhood artwork to letters written as a kid to my grandfather and mailed across the country before finding their way back to me after his death, handmade Father's Day cards, an American flag I inadvertently won in a high school government class drawing (it came with an official certificate that it had flown over the capital building) to old photos and my old Michael Jackson scrapbook from the 80's (I was a very dedicated fan), to a certain love letter written to me 14 years ago that I now can't read without my heart breaking into a million little pieces.
There was also an old journal from my college years during the 90's (covered in sunflowers of course) with only a few bits of writing that I'd done very sporadically, I was a science major and didn't spend much time writing for fun or as a creative outlet. In addition to the writing in the journal, there was an old piece of binder paper folded up neatly into fours. A poem I'd hand written during my high school years that I don't recall ever having shown to anyone. I was not really a kid to write poetry but felt compelled to compose this and made sure to save it for whatever reason. Oddly enough, one of Milla's posts awhile back jogged my memory of its existence and I even told her as much in the comments. Milla, this one's for you ;)
The Silent Bliss of Solitude
Friends, I will tell you, it kills me a little to realize that at 41 years old I still have quite a ways to go with the security that young girl wrote hopefully of possessing one day. In a way, I feel like I've let her down, let us down. In truth, the only thing I have found more difficult in this life than embracing change, is opening myself up/letting people in. There's not even a rational reason for it. It has always just been how I am. I can still remember being asked quite frequently by other kids in my early years of elementary school “Why don't you talk?” “How come you never talk?”
They weren't asking this question in a mean way. I was never teased about it. They were simply curious as young children are about things that are different. I didn't look different, but I felt different and when they would ask me this I would very honestly answer that I didn't know why. And I didn't. "Why do you have so much to say and feel so comfortable saying it?” I could have asked them. But I didn't.
Not to say that there hasn't been progress in this area throughout my life, because there has indeed, and now would be an appropriate time to mention that this blog, over the past five years, has actually helped me A LOT. I've made some really wonderful connections as a result of putting myself “out there” in this way and it spills over into my real life too.
As I'm tallying up my greatest hits list of
flaws challenging character elements though, it bears mentioning that I will also bend over backwards in any direction required to avoid conflict and am definitely one to choose the path of least resistance when given a choice.
So, as a change resisting, closed off, conflict avoider (how's that for a trifecta of disfunction?), it's really a wonder I've managed to keep an 18 year relationship going in the first place, right? Or is it exactly how I've managed to keep it going? These are the sort of painful questions I'm asking myself these days.
I realize it may be sounding as if I feel that I am solely to blame. Not at all, I didn't arrive here by myself and we all have our own inner struggles. I am merely focusing on the things that are within my power to change.
On the bright side, the effects of how this will ultimately change me for the better are already making themselves felt. As it turns out when your heart is torn open, and I'm referring to a feeling both emotional and that phantom physical pain, a doorway is created for true self to emerge blinking into the light and a channel opened for gifts like more meaningful connection and personal growth where it's needed most to find their way in.
Protection mechanisms are funny things. Like for some people, having long hair makes them feel protected. However, when that wind starts blowing it around and it's keeping you from seeing where you are and where you need to go, it's just in the way. I suppose all one can do is face the wind head on, let it sting your soft skin with its cold lessons and send fresh air deep into your lungs, then open your eyes as your hair blows back and look ahead.
I'll leave you with something I wrote in the journal years later, when I was 22. I remember feeling compelled to write it in the same way as the earlier poem.
I stand on the beach above a vast expanse of white sand. Looking down, I see tiny black insects scattered beneath me. I crouch and observe the small black creatures, scurrying about in their minute little white sand world.
As I stand again, they become black dots on a white canvas. Suddenly, I feel so big, like a giant being. The sun beats down on me, I hear the waves crashing on the shore beside me, and I feel content.
Day becomes night and I stand beneath the blackness of the never ending sky above me. As I lay down upon the sand, still clinging to the warmth of the now invisible sun, I gaze up into a black infinity.
My trance-like stare interrupted by the magnificence of the star filled sky. Hundreds of thousands of tiny luminescent fixtures of space and time floating about in a sea of black. They shine like white dots on a black canvas, yet there is an added dimension of depth.
Suddenly, I feel so small, but at the same time, part of something huge. As if I were a tiny piece of a massive jigsaw puzzle fit securely into place.
As these beautiful sources of light beam down upon me, I am enveloped by the refreshing ocean breeze and I feel alive.
I've spent a long time fostering a sense of contentment in my life and for the most part I have been wildly successful, but maybe, just maybe... feeling alive could be even better.