Seeing Stars

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


The ghost town that is my blog was not planned. Well, actually, awhile back I had decided that I wanted to take a break from blogging. But I wanted to take a break with intention. But as I geared up for giving myself a break I realized that I actually was feeling a little bit broken. Much to my surprise, I should say. While I am self-admittedly a hater-of-change, I am fairly resilient. I am pretty easily distracted. I have a lot to do in a day anyway. Raising kids, hustling with my business, cleaning my house, paying bills, keeping up with this and that and everything in between. And with my life feeling quite full, mostly in very wonderful ways, when life throws bumps in the road I usually just slow down and take care to drive over them. And then stretch it out afterward on the couch with some bad tv or a good book. This works. Until it doesn't. At some point I realized that wasn't working. Especially in a couple areas of my life. First I realized I felt a sense of sadness and second, at this same time, I realized something I thought was okay in my life was actually breaking down. And I don't love feeling sad. While I believe it's important and I don't completly avoid it, I don't want to hang out there for longer than necessary. Especially when it just feels there. Staring you down, challenging you to deal with something. Some things. And you aren't even a hundred percent sure of which thing/s it might be. 

I think sometimes we need that melancholy though. Those moments where the world falls away and you wander deep into yourself, your past, just in the time it takes to walk around the block, or drive to the store. And there is something that makes those moments so necessary. Sweet even, in their relief. Like a bear in the spring and summer. We eat and eat and eat and eat and eat everyday for our whole lives. But unlike the bear there are no seasons to delineate these things unless we offer them to ourselves. Some things we consume throughout our lives are wonderful. Some things are painful to swallow. Some things leave aching wounds and gaping holes. Some things leave smiles that we can revisit again and again, or send up a spring of laughter from our gut. And of course the sadder things are heavier. Happy is light. I much prefer the lightness of happiness. Or even the slight pressure of everyday life. But my belly was a bit full of the heavier things it seemed. And those were springing up. All around me it seemed this fall. 

Over the last 15 years there have been some pretty heavy things for me that I have had to ingest. I lost both of my grandparents and my childhood home within 5 years - they were very young grandparents, they raised me for the most part. I was a new mother and life as I knew it completely ceased to exist. And this time was relentless. The 15 year anniversary of my grandfather's death was this past new years day. His passing seemed to be the quake that let loose the crumbling of so many things that followed. There was no smooth transition, it just felt like some great hand from the sky plucked all the greatest comforts in my life. Over the years our Christmas dinner table of my childhood, went from 30 place settings to seven, and out of that seven, four are me and my three boys. I didn’t handle this well for those first few years, the years with the greatest of rumbles. I had panic attacks and anxiety. A few years before that my favorite aunt was in an accident that left her a quadriplegic. And other things too, I'll leave out save this post doesn't turn into a book or read like a bad script for a lifetime movie, because there's been some of that too. But it seemed one tragedy after the next was befalling in those years. And I found myself always on edge for the next tragedy. And then I came through that. Time probably. Realizing I didn’t want to feel anxious all the time. Life went on. It's all a part of life. I had a beautiful boy. And even though the loss was still there, and there were some yet to come, I felt stronger and proud for coming through that - anxiety free if nothing else. 

The last (untimely) death in my family (I talked about it here), that was a "bump" I tried to drive over, even slowly and cautiously, yet I found myself somewhere down the road sitting on the side of it in a daze. Most of my memories of her were tied to when she was a very little girl and every time I saw her face I saw those big Christmas dinners, my grandfather riding up on his bike on a beautiful spring day, my grandmother clipping her rose bushes. I think while this was tragic, there were other changes that I had been dealing with at this time. And the pile seemed to be growing. I realized I just felt sad and pretty alone. 

Grief is not linear it seems. It gets stored inside of us somewhere. And sometimes it creeps up, or creeps out rather. Life is not linear either and, as always, things can collide. That clap of thunder can leave us shaken. The layers of our lives are infinite it seems. But I knew it was okay. Grieving for the past or the present, wherever it comes from, there it is. I knew it was something I needed to allow myself. I needed to crawl into my cave and digest it all for awhile. 

While in my "cave of sorrows" I alternated between just feeling the feelings that were stirred, dealing with the present, and in that, also realizing that perhaps feeling these deeper feelings were also allowing me to not just feel them for the past, but also the present. There was some overlap there of course. That presented more hard work for me mentally and emotionally. Because that didn't just mean allowing myself to digest the past (again), but to take some action in the present. As I mentioned here. I could feel the earth rumbling again and I knew things were going to change regardless of whether I was ready for them to not. Adding this realization to my already sad state, I felt really exhausted. And then I felt excited (perhaps a slightly manic-y excited but excited nonetheless). Again, not being a lover of change combined with the amazing ability to feel content almost all the time, I can get stuck. And while all of this sounds depressing, and it has been in part, I could also feel myself peeling away from that sticky place I couldn't quite identify at the start. I really believe that these moments that feel the most difficult is when we are presented with real opportunity for growth and change. They crack you open so you can see the things that have become just a part of the scenery, like the pile of mail on your counter, or the cobweb in the corner that somewhere along the way you stopped seeing. 

In short I've been walking through the muck and making some life altering decisions. Dealing with things that I don't want to carry with me into the future and attending to and honoring all of who I am, even the me of the past and who I want to be in the future. Getting it out, tucking it back away. One by one by one. Hopefully, while getting unstuck, some of these ideas and intentions will stick. Life is such a puzzle isn't it? 

With all of that said, one of the decision I made was to go back to school. Because you know when you feel totally overwhelmed throw some more shit on that plate! Actually I feel really good about. It’s a little bit backwards and forwards at the same time. And that’s pretty much how I’ve been feeling in general, so it fits the theme of right now. It’s been a long time since I’ve even used my useless bachelors degree (which doesn't apply to anything I do now). And as much as I enjoyed school the first time around there was always the goal: degree, degree, degree. Now I am going because there are things I really want to learn. I probably shouldn’t have started with 5 classes. I am maybe (probably) going to fail HTML5, but thinking about my choice to go to school immediately makes me feel good (even when my computer dies the day after school starts and then when I get it back from being brought back to life I feel like I am violating myself by trying to learn coding). I think it's one of the things I have been wanting to do for a long time, and had I not allowed myself to go through all of this, I probably wouldn't have. I know there are a lot of changes I need to make, but this one feel like the right kind to add to that mix. A sort of positive jump start of sorts. Stirring it all up.

Also in this time my oldest changed schools. It became clear that he wasn't enjoying the high school experience. So we changed his life up too. He's now also in college (awkward. actually i am taking my classes online though so he doesn't have to worry about hanging out with his mom at school. on a side note he thinks it's hilarious that my username for school is christinedinsmores16, get it? i'm 16. true dat). He's now working on completing both his high school diploma and first year of college at the same time. It's an awesome opportunity with a full scholarship and I am so happy about it. But it was big decision. A process. No prom pictures for me, but also a full year of college paid for and a happier child. In the end it was a no-brainer. 

So, with all of that said, I am still planning on taking an intentional blogging break. Probably here very soon. I haven't taken a thoughtful step back from this space or thought about it objectively for a very long time and I felt, still feel, it's time to do that. But, while I thought it would be, this isn't that post. 

P.S. I also have to say thank you so much to those of you who checked in on me and sent me such kind words. And most of all to my dear friend Lauren who literally (okay, maybe not literally, but virtually) held my hand as I walked through the muck. You meet some pretty amazing people here. And I am pretty grateful for that.  

18 comments:

  1. Oh, my beautiful, beautiful friend. I'm so glad you wrote this. (Although I have to admit, when I first saw that beautiful graphic, I thought you were referring to your work with coding! hee hee). I tell you all the time what a light spirit I think you have, and while you scoff, I see it here still. You shine through (I dare your following commenters to disagree with me!). You illuminate, lit from within.

    It has been a *heavy* year, hasn't it. And yes, grief is not linear. It bubbles up. And just when you think you've done the hard work you need to do, something happens to show you that there's more to be done. Much as I'll miss you, I so admire you for taking the time to tend to yourself. Butdon'tstayawaytoolong!

    And yes, I feel as if we've held hands over these last months, supporting each other. It *feels* literal! That's good. I love eloquent you.

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    1. haha, if you remember what webpages looked like in the early 90's that's where I am at with coding.

      it's been a heavy but i truly do think they are necessary sometimes in order to re-evaluate everything (especially for someone like me). i think that's why i sometimes look at my teen years with such fondness, you could go through these necessary melancholy stages without all that responsibility in the mix. now it just feels so inconvenient! but still necessary at times. you are the best (literally). xoxo

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  2. I completely comprehend all you are saying here and where it all comes from. I've had a few good rough years myself, with too many losses of close and dear people, health issues and work and personal problems, and these just don't seem to end. It's too overwhelming at times, but as you say, life goes on, it must go on, and it does, to my often surprise when one more hardship piles on. I think it's wonderful that you are going back to school and that you want to learn for yourself. Whenever I took up studying after finishing school it felt so fulfilling. It helps enormously even if you have a job or a business you are happy with. I will miss your writing when you decide to take a break.

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    1. i am sorry to hear that you can relate so well. it's tough to lose so many people you care about. it just doesn't feel fair. but yes, it is life and it does go on and all of that. which most of the time i can accept. but sometimes i just want to pound my fists into the ground or shake them at the sky. and this process has been accepting that that's okay too.

      i think you are right about the fulfilling aspect of school. we can't change the past, but we can change the present and focus on things that help us grow and fulfill us. xo

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  3. This fall / winter has been a lot. I think you and I must be on the same plane because that's exactly how I've felt over the last few weeks. Rearranging and reprioritizing and shuffling is what we all must do, lest things get stale, boring, old, forgotten. I'm glad you're shifting it up a little bit and doing things that make you feel good about yourself and force you into things a little bit differently. Also, congrats to Fisher. Good for him! Things will change, people will change, sometimes it's great and sometimes it blows. We roll with the punches until we stop and land on our butts and then figure out how to get back up again. If this is you figuring it out, then good for you as well. I look forward to hearing more about your schooling adventures (even if it isn't via blog) and celebrating your future successes!

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    1. i know you've had quite the year too my friend. i think often in times of crisis we just have to get through it, and then once we have, we sometimes are left with all the stress, grief, etc., that we really couldn't have dealt properly at the time. so we really do owe to ourselves to process those things, even when it all comes later when we feel like we "should" be done with it all. xo

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  4. whew! i'm glad this isn't "that post" yet. but i am also glad that you can come to this space, with such an open and honest heart to share all of this (which is why you should stay away TOO long! ;)). it saddens me to know how heavy your heart has been and the tragic sources of that grief. it seems like you are slowly coming out on the other side though and while you may still feel very battered and achy know that you are incredibly resilient and stronger for it. i don't even need to take lauren's dare, she is right: even during dark times your spirit shines. xo

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    1. thank you so much lucinda. at first it's really easy to say 'no, i don't want to go through this process. i am not going to do it.' but i think once you realize you have to, and commit to it there is this knowing that you will be better off in the end for having done so. i really do feel so much lighter already. xo

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  5. What an amazing, brave, inspiring decision, Christine. I cannot express how amazing I think this is. I mean, not your laptop dying on you almost immediately, of course. But your response to the loss in your life has been to turn to into a positive force for change. This is going to be such a journey for you! What are you majoring in?? And when the time comes and you need to step away from this space, I will (everyone will all) fully understand. So proud and happy for you, twinsy. xo

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    1. haha, majoring. i am the antithesis of majoring. i just want to learn for myself. but what i am focusing on are computer classes. even in the time that i started school the need for computer skills has changed dramatically. at that time knowing word-processing and keyboarding was enough. now, obviously, my career and the world of computers has changed drastically and my to-do list was filled with self-study for computer "stuff." After such items being on my list year after year I thought maybe I needed to take actual classes rather than try to teach myself (because that plan wasn't really working). Thank you twinsy for your support and words of encouragement xo

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  6. oh wow, I don't know what to say. it's been a tough few months [year?] for a lot of people. I think it's great that you are actively doing something about how you feel, about what you think is lacking in your life. i had to laugh when you said you felt overwhelmed but what better time to throw some more shit on that plate. I'm like you in that respect. why not ad some more shit to that plate?

    I understand your urge to get away from this space, but the selfish part of me doesn't want to see you leave [for too long!!!]. you do what's best for you, though. I quote previous commenters. I'm very proud and happy for you too xoxo

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    1. it's true this year has been a tough one for a lot of people. part of why i wrote this here. i know i haven't been alone. must be an astrological phenomena or something.

      i am not planning on leaving for too long! and i am not there yet. i am not ready to devote time to thinking about the blog, i feel like i am just coming out of this and really this space (even though i've totally been neglecting it) is a community for me that on a personal level brings me comfort. when i take time away i really want it to be to think about my blog (and business) and work a bit behind the scenes on those things. xo

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  7. A beautifully written and expressed essay. Best wishes to you in this new year and a return to school, and to your son as well! Your writing is wonderful, so I hope there's more of it in your new future too.

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