Today is the Winter Solstice.
This day marks the shortest day of the year.
But more importantly is the significance of this day as far as starting fresh is concerned. Today is a day for new beginnings. Of setting down old ways and opening new doors of opportunities and habits. It is a time for letting go. For being cleansed. A clean slate.
It couldn’t have come at a better time.
Two days ago I hit a deep dark space in myself. Fell headfirst into a deep dark hole and found myself so wrapped up in hopelessness that I saw nothing beyond my own nose but defeat and failure. And I lost touch with myself for a bit. And someone I trusted with my fragility threw some words at me and because my entire mind was already stuck in give-up-mode I had zero ability to defend or even really behave like a proper adult.So I lashed back. And then a bunch of folks attacked to defend the one I lashed out at. And I crumbled. Found myself curled up face first on cold cement in the rain in my backyard, hands to my ears to block out the words that were trapped inside of my own mind, crying, broken, done. 100% unequivocally DONE. With all of it. Life had kicked my ass and I was waving the white flag. I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t want to exist.
But life is still beautiful, despite it’s undeniable ability to kick my ass at times. And my children are my soul song, the only reason I ever dance. And although my darkness is deep, my light is blinding and filled with hope. So, the world keeps spinning on it’s tilt and I do my best to stand straight in it and keep on keeping on.
Today. Today I went to church. Sat beside the man who doesn’t always understand my depression but is still by my side nonetheless. He’s human. He falters and fucks up. He says the wrong thing. He gets frustrated. But damnit he tries. Every day. He puts his heart out there and reaches out to me even when the demons in my heart keep slapping his hand away. Keep reaching, my King. I swear it will be worth the holding on. I love his heart. ❤
After church we walked to the park. Justin suggested putting Lucy in the stroller but I am determined to beat this PPD and get back my bond with her. So, I pulled down my now-rarely-used purple butterfly wrap and wrapped her snug in it against me.
It was a leisurely walk through the entire park. Past duck ponds and lighthouses, over bridges and through fields, on swings and benches. She was content through it all and I was grateful. It made me miss the days she was still nestled within my body, lulled to sleep by the steady sway of my hips as I walked.
The theme for the day seemed to be flying. It was everywhere. As soon as we got to the park the boys spied a man hanggliding and pointed him out excitedly. We all paused to stand still and watch him carve curves through the air above us in his bright red hangglider. All 9 of us were very still, very silent. No one else was around that part of the park and we could hear the soft rumble of the motor on his glider. Just then the sun broke through the clouds. Everything looked golden and green and I became very aware for a moment of gratitude. Of beauty in simplicity. Of small moments that make up a very very big picture.
One of the boys said he wished he could do that, fly up n the sky like that. I agreed. But maybe not for the same reasons. I just liked the idea of being way up high above the world, where no one could bother me. No one could judge me or badger me or offer me unsolicited advice or accuse me or anything. Just me in the blue with the breeze at my face. It sounded heavenly. I thought about the fact I had gotten so wrapped up in the shoulds and rules and expectations recently. I was my own worst critic and I sure as hell don’t ever cut myself an inch of slack.
A bit later on Justin spied one of the piers was loaded with seagulls. Blaze, the toddler has a bit of an obsession with birds. All birds. It began the day one of our neighbors chickens strolled through our open back door. Blaze spent a good hour chasing it around and around our house in glee. Each time he caught it he would hug it in his fat little arms and plop down on his butt to rock it and croon to it and smother it with love. Each time it managed to escape his grasp he would sob in a heartbroken way. It was adorable and pitiful. Then came duckies. His baby sister has an inflatable duck bath tub that he insisted on squishing his too-big body into every morning and bathing in. We bought his a slew of rubber duckies. He carries them around everywhere he goes. Then he discovered duckies are REAL. Real “guckies” quack and splash and eat your bread. He nearly dove in headfirst the first time we brought him to the duck pond in his attempt to grab one to hug. So, today it was seagulls. I watched from the grass as Justin pushed his stroller out on the pier. And I thought of what a good man he was. To know the things that give the children joy and to nurture them. I watched from a distance as they got closer to the birds and finally the seagulls dipped and swooped and filled the sky over their heads. The bliss in my sons heart was so tangible I could reach out and touch it in the air. I wanted to soak it in through my pores I needed that joy.
We passed by a couple of old war planes that were up on display. While the kids went to inspect them with Justin I sat on a bench with Lucy. The bench was red like the mans hangglider had been and it had a name and dates on it. A memorial of a loved one. With a line beneath the dates that said “Lets go wet a hook”. Right there by the water, a reminder of a man who once walked this earth and loved to fish. I wondered if his family ever came to sit on this bench and think of him. I wondered what kind of man he was and what kind of impact he left on those who loved him most. I wondered what kind of impact I was leaving. I breathed in the smell of my baby daughters head and kissed her sweet face. Then my 5 year old ran up with a flower. Lucy smelled it and smiled. My heart burst. Small things. Little moments.
I’m not perfect. And my greatest flaw is the fact I cannot forgive myself for not being perfect. I can accept that no one else on earth can be perfect. But me? Hell, I need to wear all of the hats and do all of the things and live a million lifetimes in one life. It’s exhausting and defeating and downright impossible. Perfection cannot be done.
You know what CAN be done?
One damn thing at a time.
So, I am trying to learn the art of THAT now. Of forgiving myself for not being god. Of putting all of my focus on whatever is in my hands in that given moment.
Because we are only given a limited amount of moments. And you don’t know when you are being handed your very last moment. You don’t know if this will be the last time you hug them or kiss their face or throw your head back and laugh with them. You don’t know if those will be the last words they ever speak. What sentence, what grouping of words will play and replay and play gain in your memory when they are gone? What about your words?
Better yet, what about your words to yourself? The ones you murmur in the mirror, in the car, in your bed at night? The ones you hurl at God? The ones you hash out in your brain? Are you forgetting to tell yourself how amazing you are? How awe-inspiring and brilliant and wonderful you are?
I do it all of the time. Find it easy to inspire and encourage anyone else but myself. I forget. I forget how awesome I am. Because I was taught pride is bad and humility is good. Blend that with a type-A personality and a dash of OCD and you have a perfect specimen for utter defeat. Because you simply can’t live that way. You just can’t. You will eventually crash and burn under all the weight. No one is strong enough to carry around the entire damn world on her shoulders. Trust me, I have tried.
So, I am taking baby steps. Allowing myself far more margin of error. Trusting my gut. Listening to my heart. Dancing more with my soul songs. Holding tight to Justins hand and keeping one eye on my spirit and the other on the sky.
It’s okay to be not-so-perfect. I need to stop putting tally marks next to all the things on my to-do list. I am not what I do or what I fail at. I am me. Beautiful. Strong. Steady. Loved. Brave. Hopeful. Enough.
And I think maybe I always have been.