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Archive for the ‘Ponderings’ Category

It occurred to me in the shower this morning that I am paralyzed by fear. Stuck stock still, feet set in concrete. I’m scared out of my mind. And here is what I am afraid of: that I will never change. That I will always be wondering where my motivation is hiding. Wondering what my problem is–blaming the stagnant patterns in my life on OCD, or depression, or my childhood, or something else external that I have no control over (my sister’s death…). Scared to death that if I start something–anything–that I will just run out of motivational gas and go back to wondering when my life is going to change. I have started and fizzled out so many times–the memories of pushing off and heading out full speed only to fail and stop lay on top of each other in my head like a pile of unmovable rocks–heavy and unyielding.

The other obvious related bullet I’m trying to dodge is failure. I haven’t written on here because I’ve been so fearful of having nothing to say. A friend of mine over at Snarkington Post told me wisely on facebook the other day: “Blog about being blog-blocked.” Good advice. Of course the conversation started because her sister, my dear friend, told me gently (and I quote) “Update your blog you wiener!” I would link to HER blog, but she too has been on hiatus (wiener!).

So I guess that is what I’m doing. I’m just going to start and be boring and make mistakes and sound stupid. I found this super inspiring blog yesterday by Christine Kane. Her tagline is Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous. I love that. Especially because I’m in need of some courage. She wrote this great post about taking imperfect action. How taking action–however imperfect–is better than taking no action at all. Which is where I have been hiding. Where it is safe (but boring and terribly unsatisfying…)

I want to look my fear in the eye and not flinch. I want to roll my eyes and shrug my shoulders and just dismiss it.

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I’ve been feeling lately like I have nothing to say. As someone who Says Things as a hobby, this makes me a little panicky. When I have conversations with people these days, my face feels weird, like I don’t know how to communicate anymore–like I’m verbally frozen, and a little bit twitchy. What’s that all about?

And then, I had to speak in front of a group a few weeks ago. Public speaking is something I consider exhilarating and fun. Some people even say I’m good at it. What usually happens is that I prepare and get an outline together and these great funny stories emerge from my mouth when I’m up front–many of which I have no idea are there until they show up. It’s like I watch myself from the side when I’m speaking, and I’m like, wow–she’s good. I wonder how she does it. So I usually count on this sparkly person showing up when walk myself up to the front. This last time, Stutter-girl showed up instead.  And someone who said ‘youknowhwhatever’ every time I was at a loss for words. WHAT? I mean, when I was up front, I kept waiting for the person who knew the outline to just start talking. It was a bit embarrassing, since THAT PERSON was supposed to be me. Grrr. I would prefer to be perfect, please…

I’m chalking it up to spending too much time alone. It’s hibernation time in my neck of the woods, and I can’t believe I ever attended bbq’s and pool parties and hung out in the park after church. Was that me? What was that, like, 30 years ago? Do green things grow here? I’ve forgotten…

I’m not really depressed. I just can’t find my words.

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I started running after my sister died. Well, running is a little ambitious to describe it. Let’s just say someone walking at a very brisk pace could lap me repeatedly. I always thought I hated running, but somehow–right now–it is the only thing that seems to make sense to me. When I’m running, I feel like I’m right where I am supposed to be, doing exactly the right thing. I don’t have mundane things over my head like ‘I should be unloading the dishwasher right now,’ or even meaningful things like ‘I should be sending thank you cards to people so they know I’ve appreciated their kindness during my sorrow.’ Both of those things are important to do, and both feel like insurmountable tasks sometimes. I may not be able to do them, but I CAN run.

I was trying to figure out what is it about running that feels right, and I wrote this in my journal on Tuesday after I came home from the gym:

Running and stretching open me up. I feel creative and alive and connected to myself. I like the feeling of being present–I’m all there when I’m running. It’s like meditation: focused but loose–and I feel released and peaceful afterward. The rock-huge boulder that holds my mind back from motivation is rolled away. I feel worshipful. Joyful. Open.

I’m intrigued by this joy I feel in spite of my sorrow. I don’t know how connected to running it is, but I am experiencing something I never understood before. That I can be mourning and grieving, but underneath know deep joy. Not happiness, necessarily. But a right-ness. Peace that passes all understanding, perhaps?

The sun and the beauty and leaves and the smell of wood stoves and the crisp fall weather–even the pinecones on the tree in my backyard–they are all trying to tell me something. Being in this place, connected to these people at this very time–all of it feels like God is saying: I’m with you. I love you. This grief is not forever. I have plans for you. Look around! See my hand. I am here.

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What happens if all I feel is a giant, heavy, Blah? It’s like a big rock is just sitting on my stomach. Sometimes I am afraid that I’m not dealing with my sister’s death at all, so I write in my journal over and over: Tate is gone. Tate died. My sister died. I have a dead sister. My sister is dead. –just to make myself FEEL the reality. But I wonder where the feelings are. I can explain the entire hospital ordeal to anyone who asks with clinical detachment. I can talk about lawyers and wrongful death and exhuming like it was something I saw on a show. I guess I’m wondering, no fearing, that all of a sudden, I’ll pass out when it truly hits me.

I’m waiting for it to hit me.

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I was doing ok today until I went to Tate’s Myspace page. I watched the images of her slideshow go by, and I just sat here and choked out sobs. She looks so happy in the pictures. So fun to be around. So smiley and gorgeous. The conflict for me is that I haven’t seen her in that way these past few years. All I have been able to see was her neediness–this bottomless hole that sucked all my air away when I was with her. There was always drama, always a crisis. Always some desperate attempt for my (everyone’s) approval.

How do I reconcile this? I’m so sad that I missed her before she was even gone.

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Roller Coaster is so cliche, but it fittingly describes my summer. When we first arrived in NY I felt this sense of home–a comfortable familiar even though we we’ve been away from this town for 11 years. I was in wonderland–a cool breezy land of green enchantment. The trees, of course, but also the people. The extrovert in me was 100 percent GO–meeting new people everyday, reconnecting with old friends, barbecues, play group–where am I Heaven? People dropping cookies off on our doorstep, coming home to a gift of homemade bread; feeling so embraced, so welcomed. Top of the coaster excitement.

Then Dan actually has to go to work. Oh. So this isn’t Playtime Summer Vacation? I have to readjust to planning meals and keeping the house in order and wrangling an extremely social and extroverted near 6 year old–you know, do my part to contribute to Team Noyes. But now I have to relearn everything because I keep opening the wrong drawer when I want to grab a spoon, and my shopping/meal planning system doesn’t work here because I live out in freaking nowhere now, and Sadie is asking me four hundred times a minute: what are the plans for the day? I miss my friends in Arkansas–the ones you could pop in on, or call and say ‘we’re comin’ over, get the coffee on (Where IS my coffee, Shannon!?) And it dawns on me that I really have to start all over again with all my background because lots of people here don’t know me from Adam’s housecat, and these things take time. So I feel all lonely and wonder where I fit in, and worry that people are just being nice to me because they feel sorry for me because I’m really that annoying person who is totally intense and shares too much the first time I talk to someone. So my insecurity makes me all irrational and  tight faced, and I’m sure I’m missing out on everything EVEN THOUGH I have been invited to many things. I keep wondering why I feel random bouts of depression, and Dan reminds me that TIME is the answer, and that feeling at the bottom of the roller coaster is totally normal when you move to a new place and reality sets in.

Despite everything, though, the great thing is that I know we are supposed to be here. I feel excited and hopeful for the plans God has in store for us. For me. I don’t know yet how my day to day life is going to shake down once school starts and I can go to a Bible study and we get into more of a routine. I know that sooner than later I’ll find my place here in this community–the people here have been awesome to me, and I’m so thankful for being included so far. I know it’s going to be alright, even though I panic once in a while.

It’s about trusting, really. And letting go. Which I do when I ride roller coasters, by the way.  I love those wooden rickety ones that make you feel like you are going to fly right out of your seat. I purposely go slack and not hold on because I like the feeling of being held in, even when I think I’m going to fall out. The less I resist the twists and jerks, the smoother the ride feels. If I’m clenching on for dear life, I get whiplash.

Holy Cow, what a ride.

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The cataclysmic event of moving across the country and settling into new routines, new church, new friends, new temperatures, new LIFE–leaves me with so much to say I don’t know where to start. So I’ll begin with a word:

GRATEFUL.

Grateful for so much. But first for the trees. I forgot about trees. I forgot what it’s like to live in and around them. On my back deck I can see and hear a Quaking Aspen–taller than the house, leaves flashing silver in the wind. Then there are the Evergreens. Tall and close–home to woodpeckers; surrounding me with beauty, tucking me away from the busyness of life. I feel like I’m on an extended retreat here, right in my own house.  I needed to be away from this part of the country for awhile to appreciate what I took for granted. I didn’t really notice before and now I can’t stop staring. I found an old, old tree on a nearby trail–big knots, mammoth trunk. I waved hello, and wondered if it had been there even before the college in 1883. I wanted to know what it could tell me.

Also, I was glad no one saw me wave at the tree.

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