Monday, February 25, 2013

Excavating

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 ;)

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The Silent Bliss of Solitude

Peace within myself.
Reflection upon the deepest reality of my soul.
The ability to wander undisturbed,
through the intricate labyrinth of my mind.
The silent bliss of solitude.

Detachment from the ever-daunting,
judgments and expectations of others.
Able to remove the mask.
Far from the masquerade ball of the social world.
The silent bliss of solitude.

Within my temple of silence,
serene tranquility envelopes my senses.
I allow few to enter and witness the beauty of what's inside,
for fear that its contents will not be appreciated.
Perhaps someday I will possess the security to leave my temple.
Even still, I will always value the silent bliss of solitude.

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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.

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Perspective

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.

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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.

33 comments:

gold fawn said...

Thank you for your honest words. about 1 year ago I separated from my partner of nearly a decade and it was awful and so difficult. I do finally feel like I am progressing and working on who I've always wanted to become though. Good luck to you on your path, whether you walk it alone or with your man. xo m

moonshinejunkyard said...

this is so beautiful and raw and true. i think it is so very important to dig through those boxes of ourselves, our own lives, before our partners or children, before we made commitments and when we were free and open to ourselves in that young ever angsty way. i love your analogy about the wind and the hair in our eyes. it puts a lump in my throat. your strengths of grace and inner strength are carrying you beautifully friend. and i am so glad to know you and to see where this wind blows you and your family. i offer love and support and understanding and some witchy-wild-woman-energy to ride upon.

Milla said...

Wow. You are so eloquent. This piece is so beautiful and raw, yet well-worded and composed. It is so clear and urgent that I feel like you are right here, speaking. The entries from your past seem to let on that, yes, you've always been this way. In silence, your inner self is creating magnificent structures, magic words, strength that will carry you through. I am so in awe of you and your power and your vulnerability. Love you sister. Thank you so much for daring to share this with us.

anne said...

so beautiful missa. maybe you don't open up often but when you do, man it is honest and poetic. that last sentence really got me. so much truth and even hope there. hang in there sweet friend and i admire your bravery for sharing this difficult time with us.

much love,
anne

flaming hag folkwear said...

that was a mouthful. i love who you are. maybe that is just convenient for me, as a sort of fellow silent type, but i hope you will be gentle with yourself. as long as we breathe, we all have a long way to go (including those who are "open" and talkative). i admire your honesty and thoughtfulness, and am sure that both will serve you in getting on a path to feeling both content and alive.
take care.

Milla said...

Nicole said it right. As a bona fide blabber mouth, I have a long way to go. Love you.

Nicky said...

I so appreciate hearing your open thoughts. I'm sorry change is taking place in the family- many changes are good and this could be one of em but it sure is difficult with kids. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!! I really enjoyed reading your old poems/writings, I did a lot of poem writing when I was in high school and totally used the word "enveloped" more than a few times :D hehe. There's something enchanting about woman who keeps to herself. She lets things out around some but doesn't over do it! You're perfect how you are, it's how you were made/designed to be :D The best to you as your hair blows back and you see new things :D

Tera said...

I understand this, all of this. In fact I cut my hair a few weeks ago. What you wrote years ago is there for you, all these years later, you sent messages to yourself and finding them now, that is special. Your post serves as a message to me as well. Time to change.

Sara said...

Missa, often times the quietest of folk are the ones with the richest, most complex inner life. I see that so clearly in you. You are a beautiful, strong soul. I hope you remember that though the wind may tear at your hair and sway your body from side to side, can keep your feet.

xo

angelina said...

you know, i think you're going to learn to love that winds. love you soooo much you strong woman (who runs with wolves) :)
a

Crystal Lee said...

Missa, what a beautiful mind you have. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly. I admire your ability to see yourself so clearly. Stay positive and hopeful, and enjoy the freedom that comes with new beginnings.

Caroline said...

Wow Missa...what honesty! I went through the same type of changes a couple years ago and couldn't bear to even keep up an online presence. I'm really impressed by the rawness here - kind of giving me chills. Wishing you the very best, you lovely lady.

sally said...

Wow, I am going through something similar currently and while I don't know what the end result will be, trust that I sympathize to the core. Sending love and strength to you, Missa.

Kristen said...

Hi Missa,

I've been reading for years, but only commented a handful of times. I've always admired your quiet humor and strength - and love reading your thoughts on vintage fashion, and everything in between. So, thank you for sharing this part of your journey here. I hope it doesn't sound silly, but I'm sending prayers and a virtual hug to you today.

Thrifted Treasure said...

I'm sorry to hear you're going through a rough time, sending hugs to you and your family and hope you all come through it stronger and happier xxx

Eyeliah said...

Missa, I have definitely also experienced these winds of change and it is always a struggle. That being said, coming out the other side is exhilarating and getting away from stagnation also has huge rewards. Best of luck on where your lifes journeys take you next.

shannon said...

I am literally going through the same situation as I type this, your words mean so much to me and are a reminder that I have to be strong and love myself through this awful time. My heart goes out to you.

Mrs. Habit said...

You were one of the very first blogs I ever read, on a regular basis, mostly because I thought you were a great writer, with a smart, honest narrative, in addition to all the pretty clothes and beaming daughter. This post confirms it 100 times over. You inspire me, and so many others because your space here always feels open, real, and heartfelt. Thank you, Missa, for sharing such a raw glimpse into your life, and the love you have shared here so eloquently. I loved every piece of it, and wish you all the best with the changing tides. And love, so much love to you all.

Alexa said...

What amazing words. I just copied your beautiful poem about solitude; your young self expressed so much more eloquently some ideas that my almost-40 self has been circling around lately.

Change is so hard, so bittersweet, and my change-resistant heart goes out to you. But these winds may sail you to a wonderful, different place, in time.

Kendra said...

Hi Missa,
I've been a reader for a couple years but I don't know if I've ever commented. This post is beautifully raw and honest and it really resonates for me. I've been nurturing a broken heart and working on accepting a lot of change in the last 6 months. I read something by astrologer Rob Brezsny a few months ago that I'll share with you, in the hopes that it's helpful or at least interesting:
"Even if your heart's not exactly shattered at the moment, it has no doubt been so at some time in the past. I invite you to feel a wave of sadness about your suffering, then move on to this possibility: that having a broken heart is one of the best things that can happen to you.

Why? Because it strengthens your humility, which makes you smarter. It demonstrates to you that you have a tremendous capacity for deep feelings—far more than you're normally aware of.

It breaks down defense mechanisms that have desensitized you to the world's secret beauty. It may also inspire you to treat other people's hearts with greater care, making it more likely that you'll be able to create intelligent intimacy in the future.
That's why I say, celebrate your broken heart. It's a gift the world gives you to awaken you to the truth about what matters most."
Here's to the world's secret beauty, and all of us working towards seeing the poetry in the everyday.

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Anonymous said...

Just dropping by to tell you you are missed.

~k

bill said...

hello missa

i miss you. i hope things work out for the best

love

bill

Mustika said...

nice blog dear!
would you like to follow each other dear ?
:)

http://choccopost.blogspot.com/

svelteSTUFF said...

Missa~
...missing you, hoping the winds of change are being kind to you. Take good care of yourself and that sweet little one ~ drop blogland a line when you get a chance ;-) !!

Valerie Fern said...

Missa,
I just stumbled upon this blog and though my heart suddenly filled halfway with sadness, the other half is full of hope. Hope for you. Hope for your beautiful family. Hope that the strong and mighty winds have already begun to carry you, like seeds from the most lovely flowers, to greener fields.
Love from a long lost acquaintance, Valerie

Anonymous said...

Are you no longer blogging? I miss reading your adventures and seeing your posts. Please update us on what's going on with you! Much love!

Anna said...

Come back soon, Missa!

Andrea said...

Missa-- I too have been out of the blog world for quite some time. I was catching up today and noticed you hadn't blogged in a while and thought I would "check in" on you :) I had not read this post from months ago until now. My hear is open wide for you, and it aches for you as well. Not sure how things have been in the space and time between this post and now, but I do want to wish you well and send lots of positive energy and light your way.

I really enjoyed what Kendra posted above. I went through some challenges this summer, different, but equally personal-- and really found the wisdom of this passage from Parmahansa Yogananda, quite useful: "Life is worth nothing if it is not a continuous overcoming of problems. Each problem that waits for a solution at your hand is a religious duty imposed upon you by life itself. Any escape from problems, physical or mental, is an escape from life, as there can be no life that is not full of problems."

Hope you are well, friend :)

kristen said...

Just a note to tell you that I really miss your blog. I started reading years and years ago when Miss Clover was only a little toddler peeking around your legs in your outfit posts. I hope that you'll write again soon to let us know how you are.

Anonymous said...

I so miss reading your blog. Hope everything is going well for you and Clover.

prairiegirl said...

Hey Missa.
I was visiting Milla's blog one day and something led me to your page. I was intrigued by your adventuring's and gentleness and humor. I was sure hoping you'd come back!
You poured your heart out and I bet you feel a bit freer in doing so. Writing is such sweet release.
You opened that door...now go enjoy your beautiful life.
And don't forget to share some of it with us! ;)

svelteSTUFF said...

...hope you are happy.
Maybe someday your pages will take on a new life.