Have you ever felt like nobody was there?
Have you ever felt forgotten in the middle of nowhere?
Have you ever felt like you could disappear?
Like you could fall, and no one would hear?
I find I am having trouble starting this post. Perhaps it is because I am out of practice, looking back my January post last year was my only one. I think, it is a good thing - it means that I am through some of the I'm-a-mom-of-young-children-and-need-to-vent-and-to-know-I-am-not-alone-itus.
It's a thing, look it up.
It means that my time and energy last year went more towards things that can be submitted to editors, that my focus was more on the creative aspect of writing instead of simple stream of conscience. (Not that there is anything wrong with stream of conscience, it just doesn't sell so well in the children's picture book industry.)
But I think I am also having trouble because 2018 was a year of chaos for so many of those that I love. Hearts were wrenched apart, worlds were capsized, tears were shed and lives were unraveled, and so it feels weird to look back on my own year and feel peace. It feels....wrong.
Well, let that lonely feeling wash away
Maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be okay
'Cause when you don't feel strong enough to stand
You can reach, reach out your hand
And oh, someone will come running
And I know, they'll take you home
In 2018, I think I was more me than I ever have been. As I looked back at my January 2018 Post I could see that sparking, and I think it has carried into this year.
Perhaps reflecting a bit will help...sometimes the process of writing helps the stream of conscience become clear, readable, reliable.
Last year I had 3 goals, resolutions if you will:
1. Do more to love humanity, whether that is in the physical sense or the metaphorical. Humans need caring for, whether it is ourselves or those around us. I want to do better caring for the humans in this world.
I am not sure I achieved this goal as much as I had hoped too. But then, I think that is a good attitude to have on it all. If I was looking back over my year saying "yes, yes I am satisfied with how humanity has been cared for over the past year." then I would be missing the point, not to mention I would be dead wrong. I think I have broken the surface of this resolution, and I hope to continue. But perhaps this year I will add an addendum: I would like to include my children more in learning how to care for humanity, those outside of our circle of comfort. I am not sure what that looks like yet, but it feels worth learning.
2. I would like to end 2018 in the best shape of my life.
Ah, I remember. This felt huge, it felt bigger than me. This promise was scary, I knew it would hurt. It was overwhelming and way more then I had to energy to do. It was scary and outside of every comfort zone. I had excuses - after all, I have a medical condition that makes me so very, very tired all of the time. Because of it, I cannot lose weight as easily as "normal" humans. If I exhaust myself, there is nothing left of me to give my children, no more spoons. If I am too sore, then I cannot be the best of me for them. I have to start slow, right? Work up to being in shape. I have never been athletic, I just don't have the history for it, I don't have strong joints, I will hurt myself and end up in worse shape than I already am. I don't have time to add in an exercise class, mornings I have to spend writing and then by the time evening come I just don't have it in me. What will people think if I start something and can't even finish the warm-up? That is so embarrassing! I should start on my own and work up to it....
And I fucking did it!
I joined the (cult?) that is cross-fit exactly one year ago, and for the first time in my life, I feel strong! The freedom, the empowerment, the confidence, it makes me want to cry with joy. It feeds into a part of me that I didn't even know was starving.
I have come to realize, that through my life, there has been a fear of feeling pain - whether it was physical pain or physiological pain. I am not sure exactly why or where this fear came from. But I have missed out on so many things because at the root of it all, I was afraid I would hurt myself. Pain was bad, VERY bad, and was to be avoided at all cost. When something hurt, life often stopped until the hurt was better. I didn't trust myself to be strong enough. The pain became the focus, healing the pain was always the goal. In my mind, no good could ever come from pain, and so I was careful, careful about so many things. I thought protecting myself from all pain was how to take care of myself... I was wrong.
Now, I live most of my life in pain; something is always hurting, something is always sore. Sometimes it hurts so bad I can barely walk, and I swear the stairs are plotting against me! But the pain has purpose, it is making me stronger. I cannot put into words how amazing it feels. And every time I see my numbers go up, when I break my own records, when I finish faster, when I lift heavier, when I recover faster - I feel victorious. The pain is not in charge anymore. This I think has spilled into other factors of my life as well. I have dealt with some interpersonal and psychological pain points this year, because the pain is not as scary as it used to be, the pain has purpose, and so I become stronger.
Over the summer of last year, I took a good long look at my diet, and switched to eating just meats, veggies and LOTS of good fat. I lost almost 30lbs in 4 months. I went from a size 14 to a size 8. I was floored how much better I felt with the addition of fat, how much better my brain worked. No other diet had ever been this effective - and so doable. I wasn't strict KETO, but that was what I was drawing from. I have kept the weight off, and plan on falling back on that eating plan whenever I feel the need to get back to basics. I feel in control, like I never have before - and it is freeing.
So yes. This resolution I feel I 100% achieved. I absolutely ended 2018 in the best shape I have ever been in in my life, both physically and mentally. I plan to continue it.
By 2020 I think I would like to be able to do a push-up. A really real push-up, maybe even 2 in a row!
3. Buy a new book whenever I am in need of something new and exciting to read.
I just bought a new one yesterday! I have spent hours reading this year, though I do need to get better about wearing my reading glasses. My eyes are getting old, they are no longer as reliable as they used to be. Perhaps that should be my new resolution? Wear my reading glasses more. Oh what have I become!
This year, I think my resolutions will be more abstract. For myself, I don't want to go backwards, I don't want to fear the pain, I don't want to lose what I have achieved, but it's more than that.
I want to read out-loud. I want to say the wrong thing. I want to go on walks without saving any energy for the way home. I want to try new foods, and listen to new music. I want to talk about colors that don't exist and dreams that are un-achievable. I want to drive without a timeline or a destination and see where we end up. I want to sing too loud, talk too much or not at all, believe in impossible things and then make them a reality. I want to laugh so hard I pee a little. I want to climb trees and howl at the moon. I want to simply be, no expectations, no guilt, no shame, just be.
I want to buy breakfast for those that have had a hard day, week, month, year and just listen, making sure that the coffee never runs out. I can't do a lot, but I can do that.
I want to be a shelter to others within the storm. I can't calm the storm, but I can offer you an umbrella, for just a moment.
I want to be the hand that reaches out, the place others can feel safe, to know that they are not alone. I can't make the fear go away, but I can laugh in its face with you - whether we should or not!
I want to laugh and cry with those that can't figure out what will help the most, and so they do both - often at the same time. I can't heal the pain, but I can make sure you are not lonely in the midst of it.
I want to run on the sand until we are both so out of breath we collapse, laughing at the absurdity of it all. (I don't want to go in the ocean though, its cold. Unless you REALLY need me to go into the ocean with you. Then I will, but I will whine a little bit.)
I want to stay up way too late, probably drinking a little too much - because that is when things get real. I can't put the tattered pieces back together. But I can talk about the hard stuff, the things that we don't usually like to talk about, because it shows our humanity a little too much. I can be human with you.
I want to be with you in the doubt, in the fear, in the confusion. Because those are lonely places, and no one should be alone.
I want to be the oasis in the dessert, a place where you can breath, for just a moment.
Even when the dark comes crashing through
When you need a friend to carry you
And when you're broken on the ground
You will be found
Four years ago I was in a very broken and tattered place. I felt very lost, life was chaotic - Often it felt like in the course of a day, my heart could be wrenched apart, my world would capsize, tears were shed and it felt as if my life was continually unraveling. I often felt very alone.
So let the sun come streaming in
'Cause you'll reach up and you'll rise again
Lift your head and look around
You will be found
Today I feel strong, I feel foolish, I am more me than I have ever been. I feel peaceful.
There's a place where we don't have to feel unknown
And every time that you call out
You're a little less alone
If you only say the word
From across the silence
Your voice is heard
Tomorrow it is possible that everything could fall apart again, I am not so arrogant as to believe that this peace will last forever. Trauma rarely gives warning, but for the moment, for this exact moment - my world is calm. In this moment, I can hold the hand of those that cannot stand on their own, as they were there for me when I was in the storm, as they will be there for me again.
It's so easy to feel alone, but we're not alone, none of us.
None of us are alone
Out of the shadows
The morning is breaking
And all is new, all is new
It's filling up the empty
And suddenly I see that
All is new, all is new
You are not alone
You are not alone
You are not alone
You are not alone
- Dear Evan Hanson