An Instagram post by Holly Glenn Whitaker of @hipsobriety grabbed my attention a while back. She made a list of things she doesn’t do anymore, as opposed to the oft’-oppressive and always forever-replenishing to-do lists we compose for our lives and then fret over. I adored her concept and followed suit.
Love is multi-lingual. And like anything that speaks a language: a person, a body, a face; love can be misunderstood or hard to interpret.
So much in life is cyclical, here for a season, then gone. Like the feelings or emotions that we often mistake for love. So very little is constant. Including the ability to love people the way they need you to love them, for an extended period of time. Because that is some very hard work. Work akin to building Egyptian pyramids or calming a furious toddler. But as for that hard work, as the principle goes, what you get from it usually makes it worth it.
Even so, as worthy as the work may be, it can feel like churning butter, and not at all sustainable for the long haul. At least I think, because hello, it’s 2017 and so of course I have never churned butter. But I’m still fairly confident in this metaphor. And sometimes we need a break from the churning. Our loved ones will be ok with that, for a beat. But we do need to re-engage with that hard work, again and again. Because if we stop churning indefinitely, we won’t see the results we’re hoping for, our relationships won’t be solid.
I can feel incredibly alone in a room full of people. Terribly alone in a sea of people. Utterly alone in a world of over seven billion people. Such is the way of an introvert. Paradoxically, often the best way for me to keep loneliness at bay is to spend time alone. I can be all by my lonesome and not feel the least bit lonely. I know, it’s a real head scratcher. The most heart-wrenching form of loneliness though, is feeling irrevocably alone in the company of the one person in the world who vowed to love you the most. I’ve felt that too. That flavor of loneliness is what made me give up for all intents and purposes on my marriage many years ago. I didn’t leave the marriage, but I did give up on it. And that did not work out so well for me.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m gifted. Incredibly gifted in fact, with more than one thing even. I am a dancer and a writer and I am amazingly gifted with both abilities. On the off chance you’re still reading and not gagging on my arrogance I hope you’re reading me correctly. Just to be sure, please make special note that I am not saying I am gifted AT dancing or writing, but WITH them. This is a huge distinction and one I think adds huge value to the conversation.
During a couples counseling session with my husband about a year ago, our counselor looked at me and asked, “Jodie, what do you do for yourself that brings you joy?” I stared back at her blankly and started to feel hot and itchy. I could not answer the question. My husband and I were at a rock bottom place in our marriage. We were just beginning to attempt to recover from his newly revealed infidelity and at that point my days were filled with despair, anger, anxiety, grief, a sense of loss, uncertainty, insomnia, the inability to catch my breath (quite literally), shame, regret and I’ll just stop myself here because I could list every negative and unwanted emotion under the sun and be acutely accurate in my description of what those early days of recovery were like. So when she asked me what I did to summon joy, I had nothing, nada, zip, zilch, zero to come back to her with.
Do you remember (back to probably yesterday) when you paid someone a compliment and they tried to talk you out of it, as if you were about to adopt a pitbull or jump off a building? Continue reading “Why Can’t We Take a Compliment?”
Nostalgic is what I’m feeling this Mother’s Day eve. My son was a terrible liar when he was little. His eyebrows gave him away every time. Continue reading “Those Eyebrows, Though”
Yes they are. Both things are true.
For as long as I can remember, grey has been my favorite color. I don’t think it’s an aesthetic only preference. I have rarely been able to see the world and its complexities in black and white. My viewfinder is constantly set to shades of grey and at times that can be maddening. I’m a fence sitter, right on top, usually perfectly balanced and almost never teetering towards one side or the other. I’m the human equivalent of Switzerland in my stance on most issues. I can see it your way and my way, his way and her way too. And because of that, I’m often left feeling like I don’t know which way is up or which way is down. I’ve shied away from important decision-making and resisted contributing to policymaking, I love to assist but detest being in charge and I’ve never been politically active; all because I’m not sure which way the wind is blowing.