relishyourstory.com

Powered by WordPress and Notable Themes™

NAMING

Our desire to name things is so powerful that most of us come into the world already named before we ever take our first breath.

Amy Jo – December 1968

Often the names we are given come still attached to another loved one – my middle name is Jo, after my father’s father who died long before I was born – or a memory, or a special place. Other times a name might be randomly drawn out of a hat when a decision cannot be made among too many possible contenders.

But no matter what name you are given, each of us is a unique manifestation called a human being, who will spend the rest of our lives learning the names of our loved ones, our emotions and every other single thing we see, hear, smell, taste and touch, along with the myriad of thousands of other things that affect our lives every day in every way.

“In many ways love has already named us before we can even begin to speak back to it, before we can utter the right words or understand what has happened to us or is continuing to happen to us: an invitation to the most difficult art of all, to love without naming at all.” – David Whyte Consolations

In the beginning, we love without naming. During our first formative years, our love is entirely reciprocal. If all goes according to plan, we are shown love by our parents. We are taken care of by them, fed by them, our full diapers changed by them, taught by them and nurtured by them. We are made to feel safe and loved and in return, we reciprocate that love with a smile or a snuggle when held in the arms of someone who loves us.

We have no names for any of these feelings yet, just an invitation to return the love we are given.

Slowly, over time, we learn that the large protuberance on our father’s face is called a nose, and the long thing that sometimes pops out of our mother’s mouth in an effort to make us giggle is called a tongue and that it is pink, and the sky is blue, and there is only one sun, but we each have ten fingers and ten toes.

Our vocabulary grows each day exponentially as we gradually learn the names of everything around us, until one day if we’re lucky, we’ll be walking in the middle of the woods and stumble upon something we don’t know the name for yet.

And then (if you’re anything like me) you will go home and learn its name, and the next time you see it, you will speak it.

But as so often happens, as soon as we name something, that becomes an end to our inquiry.

Once we know its name, we assume we know the thing, but of course, that’s not likely the case.

I remember seeing a damselfly dipping in and out of a river once and confusing it with a dragonfly until one alighted on my arm and folded its wings up together across the top of its back, unlike a dragonfly that holds its wings out perpendicular to its body. I knew its name was damselfly, but I was wrong about what it was. And that wasn’t an isolated incident.

Several years ago we set up a nesting box for owls. The following summer I see a duck flying in and out of it. I know it’s a duck because I learned its name long ago when I was a child. But unlike the mallards I was accustomed to seeing every summer, this duck was determined to nest in the box we had attached to a large oak more than ten feet off the ground instead of laying its eggs in the reeds down by the water as the mallards do.

So the first thing my kids and I do is set about trying to find out just what kind of duck it is. We want to know what it’s called. We want very much to know its name.

After doing a bit of digging, we feel certain it’s a wood duck. We tell everyone we know how lucky we are to have wood ducks nesting in our owl house.

We learned everything we could about them including how long the eggs are typically incubated so we could gauge when to expect they would hatch.

After keeping vigil for days, my daughter and I were fortunate enough to witness each tiny, fuzzy, bundle of feathers take their leap of faith as one by one they each jumped out of the box, tumbling into the leaves at the base of the tree where their mother stood guard waiting for the last one to jump, before hurrying to escort them all down to the pond.

Only we were wrong. It turns out they weren’t wood ducks after all. When I showed the above picture to my niece, who then showed it to someone she worked with, we learned what they were. Now we call them by their name: hooded mergansers.

They are distinctly different from all other ducks just as we are each distinctly different from all other human beings, and while our urge to name everything is strong, often in doing so, we miss the truth of what something – or someone – really is.

Words elicit strong emotions.

Black. White. Rich. Poor. Republican. Democrat. Man. Woman. Refugee.

Many of us disagree with each other based solely on our reactions to certain words.

If I hear someone being described as an old, rich, white, religious, Republican male, I immediately form an opinion of that person – and it’s not a good one. Chances are I would opt to steer clear of that person based solely on the emotions those words elicit in me.

But those very same words could be used to describe Fred Rogers, from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. 

So many of the words we use to name things are so charged with perceived meaning that they create a stigma around them and skew our interpretation of someone before we ever have a chance to get to know them.

Naming someone ‘crazy’ or ‘disturbed’ or ‘nuts’ when talking about someone’s mental health promotes the negative stereotype that people with mental illness are dangerous and often prevents someone who might be suffering to seek out the help they need.

So it is with naming someone an alcoholic. The minute we hear that word we think we know that person’s story.

Instead, we could challenge our perception of someone as opposed to blindly accepting who we think they are based on our labels for them.

Change your perception, change your reality.

“We name mostly in order to control but what is worth loving does not want to be held within the bounds of too narrow a calling.” – David Whyte Consolations

Every so often while I’m out walking in the woods (without my dogs), I get so fully immersed in my attention to every single thing I see, that I allow myself to imagine what it would be like if I didn’t already know the names for everything.

For some reason, this works best with butterflies and bees.

For the briefest of moments this tiny creature – this thing that can fly! – alights on my arm and I pretend I have no idea what it is or where it came from, but I know that I love it.

Like the stories I am sharing here. In the past, I had names for many of them, and I judged some of them harshly for the painful memories they rekindled.

But by revisiting them I am able to better understand them for what they were and for what I learned from them, and relish them all.

 

NEXT WEEK: NOSTALGIA

MEMORY

The earliest memory I can recall is one of being afraid.

My best guess is that I’m somewhere around three years old. I was with at least a couple of my older sisters and my mother visiting a great aunt and uncle. It was morning, spring or summer because I remember it being warm and green. We must have gone inside first to say our obligatory hellos, then told to go outside and play.

There was a large bulkhead at the back of the house that led into the basement. My older sisters didn’t hesitate before going inside.

I, on the other hand, stood stubbornly outside refusing to follow them in after being told that the monsters from the breakfast cereal I loved – Count Chocula, Franken Berry, and Boo Berry – were hiding in their dark, dank basement.

I was terribly frightened and began crying after being teased mercilessly, but I don’t remember anything more after that.

This memory feels like a dream the way it haunts me still. It feels as though I could close my eyes and continue the story and invent what happened next.

But I guess in some ways I already have.

“A full inhabitation of memory makes human beings conscious, a living connection between what has been, what is and what is about to be. Memory is a link to personal freedom.” – David Whyte Consolations

I don’t know why that memory clings to me still, but I do know that perhaps I have it to thank for overcoming my fear of the dark. And I don’t just mean dark, dank basements.

I went from being afraid of cartoon monsters to actively seeking out anything that frightened me, like walking in the woods alone at night without a flashlight or devouring every Stephen King book I could get my hands on, reading many of them before I’d even hit my teens.

Another memory I can still clearly recall to this day took place on a hot summer night in July deep in the woods where my family camped each summer. I was thirteen and was sharing a tent with two of my sisters. Each of us had our own cot and a small space cordoned off around it for our things. It was past one in the morning, but I had stayed up to finish reading Pet Semetary by flashlight.

Spoiler alert: Pet Semetary is among other things a story about a beloved family cat that’s been run over and killed then buried on ancient Indian burial grounds which somehow allows it to come back to life.

Just as I finished reading the last page and had shut off the light, carefully placing the flashlight on the ground under my cot so as not to wake anyone, I heard a noise.

Something or someone was pulling at the zipper slowly opening the screened doors inch by inch.

I remember pulling my sleeping bag up to my chin and being unable to breathe and unable to move as I waited to see who or what was about to force its way into our tent.

There was just enough light to make out something pushing its head through the space in the open screen then all at once the zipper gave way, and a cat pushed its way through and ever so slowly began making it way over to my cot.

I remember quietly cursing at it before throwing the book at it then breaking into a fit of laughter over how damn scared I was.

It was an adrenaline rush that Stephen King himself would have been proud of.

In many ways, this blog, this collection of my stories good and bad, has been more frightening than any Stephen King book I’ve ever read.

Frightening because each week I am relying on my memory to dive back into dark waters and surface with another story to share. Maybe the very act of pushing past my fears so long ago was somehow instrumental to my no longer being so afraid now, who knows?

What I do know is that my memories are still very much alive.

After my sister died, it was my memories of her that kept her alive, same with my grandmother who had passed away years before her.

My memories were all that I had left of them after they both died.

One of my favorite memories of my sister, Karen, happened while a few of us were eating dinner together after walking twenty of fifty miles at a fundraiser walk for MS research, a disease that would ultimately take her life.

She and I were sitting at one of the picnic tables together, along with another of our sisters, a brother, and her son. My nephew had just excused himself to get something to drink, and while he was gone, I motioned to my sister, Karen and my brother, to watch as I discreetly slide his dessert plate of chocolate cake away without our other sister seeing.

What happened next was as predictable as the tides.

As soon as he returned he saw that his cake was missing and immediately accused our other sister of taking it which of course started them both bickering about it while the rest of us nearly bust a gut laughing. It was a silly, sibling thing to do, and I knew it would get them both riled up, but it didn’t take long to realize things were getting a little more heated than I anticipated.

That’s when they both happened to notice how hard the rest of us were trying to keep from laughing.

As soon as they figured out what was going on, I was called an asshole and told that my little joke wasn’t very funny, but oh it so was. So much so that it became a running joke each year after that, every time the fifty-mile challenge walk came around.

But what’s even funnier was that somehow in the retelling of this story year after year, it changed as many stories tend to do.

A few years later when the five of us got around to telling the story again, my brother remembered things very differently. So differently in fact, that he now believed it was his idea to take the cake plate away as a joke in the first place.

Even after we all called him out for it and corrected him, he maintained that that was how he remembered it.

Memory can be a funny, fickle thing sometimes precisely because we remember things from our own point of view.

“Every human life holds the power of this immense inherited pulse, holds and then supercharges it, according to the way we inhabit our identities in the untouchable now.” – David Whyte Consolations.

I’ve lost track of how many times my husband and I have fought over the details of how something went down, each of us stubbornly certain that we are right and the other is wrong.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter who said or did what or who didn’t, or at least it shouldn’t. In the end, we’re just fortunate to have the memory of the thing at all.

In the words of the wonderfully wise Dr. Suess, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”

I couldn’t know that she would die so young and I would be left only with my memories of her. Memories that are near and dear to my heart.

I will never get her back, never make any new memories with her, but at least I can be happy that they happened in the first place.

 

NEXT WEEK: NAMING

MATURITY

At the root of my loneliness was my longing to know my purpose.

That much I was sure of.

I was also sure that I was not going to have another baby. So sure in fact, that only a few months after having that vivid dream my husband got a vasectomy.

In many ways, the decision to make things permanent was even easier than the decision to start trying in the first place, once I figured out that I was trying to move forward with one foot cemented in the past.

“Immaturity always beckons, offering a false haven…a hiding place and disappearance in the past, a false isolation of the present, or an unobtainable sure prediction of the future. But maturity beckons also, asking us to be larger, more fluid, more elemental, less cornered, less unilateral, a living conversational intuition between the inherited story, the one we are privileged to inhabit and the one, if we are large enough and broad enough, moveable enough and even, here enough, just, astonishingly, about to occur.” – David Whyte Consolations

As uncomfortable as it was (and still is) for me to live each day in conversational intuition between my past present and future selves and allow enough space for life to point me in the direction I need to go, when I am able to it feels a lot like grace. Challenging as it may be and again, still is, looking back on that time in my life I can now see it clearly for what it was offering me.

As the poet, Mary Oliver said, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I was being given the chance – the time and space and opportunity – to figure that out, and it was terrifying.

I was still working from home, a decision I felt good about since it allowed me to be there for my kids during vacations and sick days and the like, but since I was now able to get most of my work out of the way pretty quickly, I was left with ample time to try and figure out what to do next.

For as long as I could remember I longed to write a novel, but unlike my longing for another baby which was something I knew I was good at, I never finished college and had no good idea how to go about writing a book.

Each time I sat down to attempt it, I felt like a surgeon about to operate without ever having gone to medical school. Who was I kidding? Who did I think I was to even attempt something like that? Both were questions I asked myself on a daily basis back then.

I would be out walking my three dogs every day and every day without fail the thought of writing a book would tag along trying desperately to get my attention.

I was slowly driving myself crazy with indecision. It felt a lot like sticking my fingers inside a Chinese finger trap when I was a little girl. The more I felt pulled in opposite directions, the more pain was being inflicted on me and the more trapped I felt.

I remember thinking, what if I spend the next several years writing this book and then nothing happens? I’m never published, and I will have wasted all that time without anything to show for it. I wasn’t even close to living in the present, all I could think about was the future and what a colossal waste of time writing a novel was likely to be.

But like the finger trap, I guess I finally figured out that above all it was necessary for me to relax. Relax in the not knowing – the not knowing how to write a novel as well as the not knowing what, if anything, would ever come of it.

Only when I was able to relax and let go of any and all expectations was I able to begin.

“Maturity is not a static arrived platform, where life is viewed from a calm, untouched oasis of wisdom, but a living elemental frontier between what has happened, what is happening now and the consequences of that past and present; first imagined and then lived into the waiting future.” – David Whyte Consolations

Once I finally began, there was no stopping me. Around this time I learned that a great uncle had died and left me with a small inheritance, so I used it to take a leave of absence from my painting for three months to devote more time to my writing. After almost a year, my first book was finished.

But the protagonist in it was so thinly disguised that anyone that knew me and knew what I had been through would know it was me, so after letting my husband and a sister read it, I promptly burned all traces of it. Not a very mature thing to do I know.

If nothing else it was cathartic to be sure. The act of writing without attachment to any outcome allowed me to finally release a lot of pain I had carried around for far too long.

It also allowed me to understand that I didn’t need to understand everything.

Unlike those fortunate souls who come into the world seemingly knowing exactly what it is they were put on this earth to do, I still had no good idea, but I was slowly growing accustomed to that being okay.

Not long after that and surprising no one more than myself, the idea of homeschooling my kids came to me rather suddenly one day.

My daughter had just started fourth grade and was being harassed by other kids (about what I can’t quite remember) on a regular basis. The teacher she had at the time was also turning her into a perfectionist which was not something I supported. She was told that when a mistake was made, there would be no erasing only starting over. The effect this had on her was startling. This strong, confident, smart kid was crying herself to sleep every night and beginning to doubt herself in every way, and I wasn’t having it.

I had the good fortune of having a sister in another state that was already homeschooling her two children, and I knew I could count on her to be a source of strength and support for me.

After some serious soul searching and considerable bouts of doubt due to the general lack of support from anyone other than my husband and this same sister, I made the decision to pull my daughter out of school and teach her myself. Then a year later I pulled my son out as well.

(This picture was taken soon after our adventure together began.)

It was hands down the scariest decision I have ever made. There would be no one else to blame if I screwed it up – if I screwed them up. I was back to being one hundred percent responsible not only for caring for them in all the myriad of ways a parent does but for their education, which would shape who they would become.

And the craziest part is that at that time I didn’t immediately recognize it for what it was – my purpose – at least for the time being anyway.

For the first time in my life I was wasn’t fighting the current but going with the flow, allowing my life and by extension theirs, to be shaped by the passing days and years like a river winding its way through the woods. If anything I was unschooling them, and we were all starting from scratch.

And like a river, they were constantly changing and so was I.

Instead of trying to always force things, always wanting to know the answer to the question of what I was meant to do with my one precious life, I was allowing my life to unfold of its own accord. It was a privilege that I will always be extremely grateful for. I was teaching and learning twice over.

After a time, I even began writing again and finished my second novel several years later. I still didn’t know what I was doing, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. This was only one of the many things my children taught me.

I learned from their example to stop being so afraid to make mistakes and to stop caring so much about what other people think. I had zero safety net, a very disagreeable superintendent I had to deal with on a regular basis, and everyone telling me with a bizarre degree of certainty that I was going to fail. I was doing a disservice to my kids; they would fall behind and then what would they do?

Despite the overall lack of support I received, my children and I thrived. If I never did another important thing for the rest of my life, being their teacher will have been enough.

I taught my son until he was ready to start high school. He wanted very much to go to the same trade school that my husband attended, so I backed his decision from the start. I taught my daughter until she started college – she graduated with honors a couple of years ago.

All those years ago I was convinced that having another baby would complete me. It would fill the emptiness I felt, cure me of my loneliness and my rid me of my desperate longing for something more.

What I couldn’t know then, was that by my trusting my intuition in concert with my past, present, and future I would gain some much-needed wisdom and in the process hopefully pass some of that wisdom on to my children.

“The wisdom that comes from maturity is recognized through a disciplined refusal to choose between or isolate three powerful dynamics that form human identity: what has happened, what is happening now and what is about to occur.” – David Whyte Consolations

In the following years, I would finish my third novel, Relish, which eventually became the inspiration for this blog.

I’m writing not only about what has happened to me in the past, but how it affects my life now, and how it will continue to do so in the future.

If someone were to tell me this is what I’d be doing all these years later, I’d think they were crazy, or at the very least that they didn’t know me very well. I am an extremely private person, yet here I am telling my life stories to the world.

And this particular story would have been so very different had I insisted on having another baby and not followed the guidance coming straight from my heart.

Instead, here I am, looking through a wide-angle lens of my life, in the hopes I might inspire others to do the same.

 

NEXT WEEK: MEMORY

 

LONGING

My longing to fill the void in my life was felt on a cellular level pulling me in the direction towards another pregnancy.

I knew I could easily opt back into the workforce again, but I was already a stay-at-home working mom with a steady, reliable job living in a brand new house with two great kids, so I rather relished the thought of welcoming another new life into our family.

“In longing we move and are moving from a known but abstracted elsewhere, to a beautiful, about to be reached, someone, something or somewhere we want to call our own.” – David Whyte Consolations

I desperately needed something or someone new to call my own; someone to fill the emptiness that was growing inside me. With my kids now in school, it felt like my life jumped the track and I was derailed.

Having another child would fix that, would fix me. I was sure of it.

Boxes of baby clothes packed away years before were hauled up from the basement and sorted through. The first box contained dozens of onesies and just holding the thin white fabric in my hands again, was powerful enough to fling open the floodgates and release the high tide of emotions I’d been trying so hard to hold back.

Since we already had a daughter and a son, it was exciting to imagine how the tie would be broken. Still, I felt nagging anxiety over just how much our family dynamic would inevitably change. Not only that but also how my body would also change, again. It had taken me years to lose the weight I had gained with each pregnancy, and now I’d have to wage that battle all over again.

The terrible heartburn and the myriad of other not so pleasant things that would come with another pregnancy and the sleepless nights and round the clock nursing and dirty diapers that would come with having another baby had me questioning my sanity some days, but I felt sure we were making the right decision.

I honestly never imagined I would ever have another child or more to the point that I would ever want another child. While pregnant with my son I was acutely aware of this so I savored every minute of being pregnant with him, believing he would be my last.

I was sure he would be the last to perform parlor tricks for people he hadn’t met yet – a kick to the ribs, a shoulder or an elbow or a knee jutting out suddenly against taut skin sometimes so dramatically that the coffee cup I had balanced on my belly would threaten to tip over. Knowing my son and his passion for snowmobiling, it’s easy to imagine he was already boondocking in there.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my hair curled. Gone was the stick straight hair I was born with, somehow several months into that pregnancy it morphed into curly waves. Now I was left wondering if it might switch back.

I was left wondering about a good many things during this time, like could I or more to the point would I, be the same kind of mother I was to the two children I already had once a new baby came along.

And what would other people think? Surely, they’d think I was crazy to finally have my children in school full time only to start all over again, and an incessant little voice in my head reinforcing that message wasn’t helping matters.

But my longing never wavered. I desperately desired something that would ease my constant ache. Having another baby checked all the boxes precisely because I’d be starting all over again. My days would once again be filled with a sense of purpose, and I could put off having to think about what else to do with my life for at least the next five to six years.

I never thought to ask myself what would happen if I couldn’t get pregnant. Each of the four times I’d been pregnant, I conceived on the first try, so despite my having two miscarriages, I felt sure that this time around would be no different.

But it was.

And so was I.

The longer we went without the result we anticipated, the deeper I sank in the well of my pain and loneliness.

If I wasn’t able to have another child, what the hell was I going to do with my life?

“Longing is nothing without its dangerous edge, that cuts and wounds us while setting us free and beckons us exactly because of the human need to invite the right kind of peril.” – David Whyte Consolations

It was supposed to be like that big red easy button. I had it all planned out. I would push it, and all my problems would be solved. I was prepared to be pregnant again. I was dreaming about it already. I wasn’t prepared to have made such an important and difficult decision only to have it backfire on me.

Then one day, after spending the afternoon reading to the children in my daughter’s classroom on Read Across America Day, aka Dr. Suess Day, I casually asked her what she would think about the idea of me maybe having another baby someday.

She looked at me quite seriously and took her time thinking about it before asking me if I would still be able to come to her classroom and read to her if I did.

I told her no, probably not, to which she replied, “Then no. I don’t think that would be a good idea.”

Her candor and her simple, direct statement sent my head spinning in every direction.

Maybe she was right.

At this point, I at least had to allow for the possibility.

That same night I had a dream so vivid I still remember it clearly to this day.

I was holding my new baby, a girl, and was attempting to nurse her but she refused my every attempt. Each time I would try, she would become more and more upset until finally, exasperated, she looked up at me and said, “Neither one of us wants this, do we?”

 

PART II of III

NEXT WEEK: MATURITY

 

LONELINESS

I remember the feeling well. It was subtle at first; an overall unease that settled in my bones making it a challenge to get out of bed in the morning.

It was a new bed in our new home, a home that my husband and I built from the ground up, together. We worked on it night and day, much of the time with our two small children underfoot, and when we were finally finished and had moved in, I remember breaking down in tears with ecstatic relief that it was over. It had taken us seven months to build, but it felt like it shaved ten years off my life, so I attributed the unease I was feeling after moving in, to my recovering from my considerable efforts.

Soon after we had purchased the land, I got to work on designing the house. When the time came to begin construction, I took on the daunting task of general contractor as well, while also continuing to work (from my parents home) as a fine art painter in-between shuffling my daughter to and from kindergarten in our new town.

It was a monumental undertaking, one in which I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

But we did it. We called in favors from many of our friends and with their help, along with the help of many others, including my parents who were lifesavers for letting us live with them and watching the kids for us a lot of the time, we built the home of our dreams. I had everything I had ever wished for, a happy marriage, two beautiful, healthy kids, a new home built in the middle of the woods that abutted more than two thousand acres of conservation land – I was living the dream.

Despite all this, every morning I’d wake up in this shiny new life with the same nagging question: what now?

I had gone from feeling more useful and productive than I ever had in my entire life, to feeling like I didn’t want to step foot out the door.

Thankfully my then four-year-old son forced me to function whether I liked it or not. He was my son, yes, but he was also my sun, shining much-needed light into the darkness gathering inside me. With my daughter now in school, looking back at that precious time we had together, just the two of us, hiking and going on picnics and going to the park to feed the ducks, I can see that he was instrumental at keeping the darkness at bay for a time.

“Loneliness is the doorway to unspecified desire.” – David Whyte Consolations

Still, I couldn’t shake that nagging sensation of loneliness. My life was never more full, but I felt empty.

We had two older black labs at the time and had talked about getting another puppy before they passed. It was a decision we kept putting off until the day came when I decided a new puppy might just do the trick and snap me out of my melancholy.

We welcomed our new german shepherd puppy, Jake, soon after, yet despite the intense infusion of new life, deep down I still felt lifeless.

Before I knew it, my son was in kindergarten, and without having him there to prompt me, I now had to force myself to walk out the door every day. The same door that was once an invitation into the world was getting heavier and harder to push open and harder still to cross its threshold without a clue as to what I would do with my life now that both of my kids were in school and I was left home alone.

What began as a subtle feeling of unease, now felt like a deep, unwavering ache at the center of my being; I had never been so lonely before.

I would still walk the same trails every day with my dogs as I had with my children, but it never quite felt the same.

Without them around, I felt forced to face my future – a future that no longer included them as much as it once had. I was still working from home and still making a decent living from it, but it no longer served the same purpose. Before, I worked from home as a way to stay home with my kids instead of having to put them in daycare. Now, I had no good reason to keep working from home since they didn’t need me in the same way, every day anymore. I was free to go back to work if I wanted to. Trouble was, I had no good idea what I wanted.

I remember feeling so terribly lonely during that period of time in my life that I would break down in tears at the drop of a dime. These weren’t the kind of gentle tears that served as a release from my pain. These were ugly tears that seemed, if anything, to intensify the pain I was feeling.

“Loneliness can be a prison, a place from which we look out at a world we cannot inhabit; loneliness can be a bodily ache and a penance, but loneliness fully inhabited also becomes the voice that asks and calls for that great, unknown someone or something else we want to call our own.” – David Whyte Consolations

How was it that I could be walking through acres and acres of open fields and still feel like I was in prison?

At a certain point, the loneliness and resulting depression I was feeling day in and day out had gotten so bad that it was taking a serious toll on my marriage. I wasn’t happy, that much I knew, but try as I might I still couldn’t put my finger on why. I was urged by my husband to seek help from a professional. I was put on an anti-depressant and told to feel better soon.

That lasted about a week when the pills my doctor had prescribed resulted in me flying off in a fit of rage at the slightest provocation.

So I threw them out and started supplementing my diet with vitamin D, which proved to be much more helpful than the anti-depressants I’d been prescribed. I also took up yoga for a time and began meditating which provided me with just enough clarity to realize it was time I did some serious soul-searching.

For all my efforts I still felt incredibly isolated in my pain, but I never allowed myself to stop pushing open the door. I never stopped walking every day. And I never stopped asking myself the big questions, despite my still having no good answers.

was, however, starting to get an inkling.

I was beginning to think that maybe the cure for my debilitating loneliness wasn’t going to be found in going back to an office job, maybe I needed to find a job I was already good at. Maybe, just maybe, I needed to have another baby.

 

PART I of III

NEXT WEEK: LONGING