And that’s the problem.
As I sit here with my bags all packed, except for those last minute items that I’ll throw in tomorrow morning before heading to LAX for my flight to Tokyo, there is literally nothing to fix, worry about, or solve.
A dear soul upgraded me to first class for the long trip.
My husband and I are thriving in our marriage and friendship at 36 years together.
Our boys are both moving in the direction of what matters most to them and are happy and at peace.
Are there things I wish were different?
Sure, about a 100, always starting with less weight on my hips
And more money in the bank
And for my brain to be able to organize things like they did before 2 car accidents and an autoimmune condition knocked me for a loop.
Do I wish we had bought a house in Southern California in the early 90’s when I thought it was too much but it would be paid off by now? Yes.
I can’t live there though.
In the house I didn’t buy
Or the things I don’t have in my life.
I’m talking about this thing that happens inside of me
When nothing is on fire
And everyone I love is fine
And what matters most to me is supported and loved.
That’s when I start feeling really
Weird, like loose
Instead of looking up and seeing sunny skies,
I’m looking at the eye of the storm.
There’s a word for that.
It’s called ‘trauma’.
Complex post-traumatic trauma.
The thing that happens when someone like your gynecologist who has known you for 30 years, says to you one day, “Your life has been stressed since you were in utero, Stacey.”
And I looked at her like she had a squirrel on her head.
Because I didn’t think of life that way.
I thought of it as ‘normal’.
Normal to worry about your parents
And your safety
And your little sisters
And if there was going to be another raging storm in the place you called home but sometimes felt like a haunted house.
Not every day.
Just enough to never trust any day.
And then, to leave home at 18 and elope at 20 into a chaotic, tumultuous, relationship that made you feel crazy but it was called ‘love’ just like when I was growing up, and I wondered if ‘love’ was just crazy
And always scary
And never safe.
And that even when it got better and sometimes good
For longer stretches of time
It still never felt consistent enough for me to take my coat off and stay awhile
I never felt at home
Should be like home base
Where you’re safe.
And there are bases along the way that you should be able to pause from all the running, just like in baseball,
Where you can not be tagged out
And just rest.
But when you have enough times
Where there are no rest stops
And there is no home base
You’re just always running.
Sometimes it’s literal – living like a nomad, jetting from one place to another because stability feels like you’re a sitting duck at a shooting range.
But mostly it’s inside.
Running and running and running
And never resting
Wearing down your body and your mind
Until you stop, out of sheer exhaustion
Like the homeless woman who just falls asleep in the middle of the park
In the peak of day
Simply because she can’t push the cart full of all her life-stuff anymore
In the blazing sun.
That’s how I felt for years.
Well, like my gyno said, “since in the womb.”
So, to have things start to form more solidly in the last few years
And to have more anchors than storms
The truth is, that I don’t really trust.
To sit still and read a magazine
Without being in a doctor’s office
Or to be clearing off the coffee table
Or making a vision board
To read, just to read…
I don’t know how to do that anymore.
Well, not all the way yet.
I have to talk myself off of imaginary ledges
Just so I can sit and have a cup of herbal tea
Without also writing a list or answering an email
Or helping a friend.
I’m getting better.
I’ve done a ton of work
And have my spiritual practices
And live in thriving ways.
I’m an incredibly strong and powerful human being.
And that’s why letting go of bad ideas can be tricky.
Because, we bring our strength and power
And put all of that energy into misbeliefs
I see that.
But just like you see a knot in a fine gold chain
It still takes time to untangle it.
I’m not done, but I’m different.
I only have 7 items on my “things to do on my plane ride” list for the 20 hours of travel
Instead of 30 things to fill every space of time
And every space in my mind that is tempted to fill emptiness with something-ness
And sunny days with umbrellas
And good times with borrowed future problems.
To be able to linger
Like I did when I was a kid and I didn’t have the conditioning yet
When I used to read the books from the school faire
Or listen to the 8-track of Bread for hours at a time
Or watch Laverne and Shirley and just laugh.
So, here I am, ready to go on my trip.
I’m packed up
The apartment is picked up
The sun is shining.
My family loves me
And I’m still learning how to let that be
To let me be