Trade Ya

Sitting down to write feels strangely foreign, like it has been a while. I spend so much of my online, seeped in cyberspace, and then come here again. The days and weeks are flying by–intense times with the girls and lightning speed ahead at work. Next week we’ll go to Amherst for Passover, and I’m really looking forward to time with my family. I’ve been running a bit more these days with a colleague, and it’s amazing what that 30 or 40 minutes on the bike path will do.

Today, on the way back to the office from North Beach, I found myself looking at the lake, seeing the beauty of this place where I live, and remembering how easy it is not to see, not to notice, not to stop and take it in. It’s easy to get caught up in how busy I am or how tired, easy to revert to old ways of thinking about myself. Struggle can be a way of life, and I guess the key is to recognize that these “old” ways are not necessarily so old. They come back like birds carrying messages in their beaks, little slips of paper reminding me to go a little easier on myself. Or a lot.

These words, from this post, struck me a few days ago:

We all have about three minutes when we’re just fascinated by our own emergence. Then our real face shows up, and it’s not so new after all. We stop finding ourselves remarkable, and then we can begin to do good for others.

My real face is not so new, not so fascinating after all. It’s the same face I’ve worn my whole life. The same eyes, same smile, same tears, same me. I can get so snagged by the mistaken belief that I should be “done” with some of my oldest, most painful places. I came out, after all. I made huge, sweeping, scary changes in my life. I was indeed very fascinated by my own emergence, dove straight down into that wreck, and thought that would be that. Now, I’m finding myself less remarkable, back to our ordinary regularly scheduled programming, and just the same me I’ve always been. Can I love and accept myself fully at this moment, on this day? Can I accept that some things are still a struggle? That growing doesn’t mean you’re just “done” with the work, but that it doesn’t all have to be work? Can I just notice the beauty, see what’s working instead of worrying about what might not?

I had lunch with a few girlfriends today. I delved into new responsibilities at work. Greg sent me a funny picture of Aviva this morning, wearing a “bathing suit” she had fashioned out of a plastic shopping bag. I ran and listened to music and then came here, home, to write. I had soup and brownies delivered to my doorstep. It’s not so complicated, is it?

I miss Greg and our family unit. For so long, I wrote about missing myself. Missing can be a way of life, just like anxiety or fear can be driving forces in how we relate to just about anything. But am I doing good for others? That question, life’s most persistent question, comes back to me again and again, in so many forms.

We can email all the day long, chat and tweet and blog, wish each other happy birthday on Facebook, and look down at our BlackBerry’s to see if that little red light is blinking. Today, though, I had lunch with friends. One of them walked me part of the way back to work afterward, and put her arms around me while were talking because my teeth were chattering. A colleague pushed me out the door to run. I looked at the lake. I saw the beauty of this place.

What am I doing for others?

If I am only for myself, what am I?

I am enough. I am enough. I want to be the child who plays, not the one who worries. Every one of us has a whole life going on behind the stage we get dressed for in the morning. Wasn’t that you today in the dressing room, changing costumes? I’ll trade ya–that pink boa for this blue cowboy hat, my tuna sandwich for your veggie roll-up. I’ll trade you my old leather boots for those shiny stilettos, the kind I swore I’d never be able walk in.

4 thoughts on “Trade Ya

  1. GailNHB says:

    What beauty here and in you. Sometimes we simply need to be held because our teeth are chattering and our souls are tired. Sometimes we need to be pushed to run a little longer. For me lately, it has been riding my bike. Take off around the neighborhood, up and down the hills, wind in my eyes, heart in my hands. I feel like a little kid again, afraid to fall and hurt myself, recognizing that when I’m not on my bike, I’m afraid to fall and hurt other people. I wonder: what closets do I need to come out of??? When and how and where??? Thanks for planting so many more seeds and so many more questions in me today, Jena.

    Peaceful Passover to you.



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