good muddy

i’ve been writing a lot lately. mercury is in retrograde, but that isn’t why. i’m determined to get all of my thoughts out here instead of keeping them so far down inside. for so many years, this blog was a tool for my brain. i became ashamed of myself and my thoughts. my true self. i couldn’t write about who i was. my relationships with others dictated my thoughts about myself, and i retreated. not that everyone should have a blog, but this is so much a part of me and my journey. 

the best part about the past three years was being able to stay at home with vayda. i got to work from home and go to work a few days a week. being a stay at home mom was my dream, and spending those moments with vayda was precious. it’s a little daunting and lonely, too, being the kind of person who enjoys work and people. also, i wasn’t very organized. we sat in our pajamas a lot, played, and watched tv. i didn’t make baby food.

but now that i work full time and only get to see a picture of vayda on my desk, i wish i had spent less time wishing when i was with her. i wish i had gotten down on the floor and played with her more. i wish i had spent less time on my phone concerned with work and other people who weren’t concerned with me. it’s an ache in my heart. i wish i could have photographic memories of her tiny little face every day that i spent with her. all the plump and the wrinkles that melted and grew tall. all the muscles that used to rest against me now barely have a chance to squeeze a hug for me.

i look at her every day, and my heart is mud. mud like i am just a kid myself, how can i be responsible for this beautiful being? mud like i am proud this little person is grown up and talking and smart and thriving. mud like i want to take back time i’ve wasted on anything or anyone else since she’s been alive. mud like shouldn’t this little person still be a tiny thing in my arms? how can the moments she was in my belly be agonizingly long, but these days speed by with no remorse? mud because i got to carry you everywhere for so long, but now i have to miss you for so many hours of the day. having Vayda made my heart muddy. good muddy. 

my mom keeps vayda while i work. it’s a huge blessing. my grandmother helps her everyday. it’s a good feeling to know vayda is with the people who raised me while i’m working on my career. it puts my heart at ease. if i am going to be missing out, i want my mom there to be enjoying her. it’s a hard feeling to resolve. but i have to appreciate the three years i enjoyed, which is why i made the decisions i did in my life.

being a career-minded woman, my job was always the center of my life. since i was 16, i have kept a job or three at a time. i simply love working. i found at my first job that i was driven to work more and go for promotions at any chance. i get super focused and enthusiastic. i just love it, almost to a downfall. when i had vayda, work became less important to me, but i still struggled to balance it in my life. my new position is really the structure i need to focus on all areas on my life. i am feeling a great deal of peace and ability to focus on myself and vayda in ways i wouldn’t be able to in other situations. 

i guess i feel a little inferior, whining after three great years at home with my daughter when many moms only get weeks. leaving a job i knew for nearly five years to step into the unknown was also difficult. moving into a new place in a new county…i have turned my life upside down. but i feel stronger. i’m independent. i’m thriving. the only thing i could want for more of is more time with my child, and i think that is healthy. the rest feels light, and that leaves me blessed.

fortress ’round my heart

“[Your eyes so full of wonder]
I have crossed the horizon to find you
[Your heart, an innocent warrior]
I know your name
[There’s a task for you]
They have stolen the heart from inside you
[My dearest one]
But this does not define you
[And your deep thoughts]
This is not who you are.
You know who you are.”

it’s clear my heart is completely vulnerable when i cry tears of solidarity with the monster/hero *spoiler* at the pivotal moment in Moana (lyrics to song quoted above).  i spent a couple of weeks on my parents’ couch in November. i’d been on my own for eight years, and it was the most depressed i’d felt in a while. i had the option to sleep in my old bedroom, but i couldn’t bring myself to accept the accommodations. my mom got V to sleep even though it was my joy to rock her every night of her life. my world was upside down, and i had turned it that way. i made the decision. there were no surprises. i planned it all to go this way. but i felt like i could barely carry on except to watch tv on the couch. it took me a moment to accept the reality i was creating, because i was creating new for someone else who i want to protect more than even me.

but i made a decision in those weeks that i’ve opted to keep living by. keep moving. sometimes life’s favorable. sometimes life’s miserable. but even if i’m treading water, i’m not drowning. i’ve been barely above water some days. but most always, i have moved forward with optimal outcomes. processing things as they come and allowing myself to move through them in a wise and timely manner has mattered the most.

“are you OK, erin?” i haven’t known what to say, so i give really awkward answers. when people ask me that, i really appreciate it. they really inflect certain parts of the question to let me know they’re inquiring about my personal life. how do i say in three to four sentences that i have been processing this situation with professional help for over a year now so i feel kind of peaceful and clear now? people think i’m in denial or callous. but, if you saw an inevitable future a long while ago, would you face it and protect yourself, or would you lie down and die in it?

when i wrote my last blog post, i decided to be open about my journey through counseling. it was kind of like i was opening the door to everyone, “hey, something is coming. i am grasping for connection. i am living in the now until now is no longer.” i knew when i started the therapy journey over a year ago i had some big personal choices to make and i couldn’t make them based on my own wisdom and understanding. i had to develop tools and strengths. i had to sort through a lot of emotional and relational chaos. i read endlessly, listened to wise counsel of the experienced, discussed with professionals, talked to Biblical counselors. after the final decision was made in fall, i finally opened up to my best friends, who were totally clueless about my personal life. you know, it’s odd that way. i’m one of those people who claims to be open, light and free, but i have hidden so much darkness and pain over these last five years. depression showed me so much truth and humor about the world, but it isolated me into becoming a pitiful sliver of myself.

through my therapists, i have been able to look at my life over and over through many lenses.

looking things in the face and not making excuses for my actions was troubling, but i have experience with people who blame others for their problems. i refuse to become a bitter person who can’t identify my responsibility in a situation and move past things, making the best of a bad decision.

i learned to accept choices made from the perversion of duty in my mind. i embrace my anger and my darkness. i’m fueled and impassioned by feelings, but i have to abide by reason and balance. pushing those energies toward good makes all the difference for me. i can look inside myself and accept me, even if i don’t like aspects. i aspire to be better. i forced myself to find beauty and healing in the choices i made, even though i acquired a tremendous amount of pain. over time, the emotional pain got to be so much that i became numb without noticing, and that was the worst. i would fearfully wonder if i would feel again, being such a sensitive soul yet so disconnected from the realm of emotions. there were months where the only things that brought sparks of emotional energy to me were my child and hip-hop music (weirdly true).

then, i came through it. over time, the numbness dissolved. i feel it all now. i’m grateful for pain. pain means i’m living. and sometimes my feelings are so raw, i’m like a child expressing them. i don’t inhibit myself much. it’s a double-edged sword. not in a tantrum kind of way, but in the way that i almost wrecked my car last friday as my eyes filled with joyful tears as i stared at the blooming whites of the trees against a perfect pink sunset. sometimes i am so scared i will move back into the old mindset that i throw walls up really hard at people to protect myself. so basically, i’m a very free-feeling hermit. i hid behind a facade and a concept of what i was shamed into being for so many years, i lost myself for a while. that was my choice. i forgive myself for giving into those ideas, and now my life is back in the correct direction. i’m rebuilding.

i am not afraid of love. i believe in love more than ever. my ultimate goal has always been peace and authenticity. before this season. throughout my entire life. getting out of unrest was the goal, and moving toward peace is the vision. positive thinking and clear boundaries are helping me achieve this. i have found forgiveness in myself and everyone and every hurt. i am so thankful to look back and take a calm breath at the end of a difficult season. spring is here with the beginning of a lot of “new.”

i have no regrets, and my mind rests.

losing friends

i was looking back in my e-mail for an old logo, and i found pictures of cole. i had searched for them for months on my phone and computer files when he passed away in 2008, and i couldn’t find them. i beat myself up for so long thinking i had deleted them. i nearly passed out upon seeing them today. i will treasure them as long as i can keep them.

it’s funny how things become like little idols once someone is no longer present. how words become vow. how we squint to keep fuzzy memories. a note, a photo, a present, a movie ticket becomes a treasure. when cole died, when wesley died, when my grandparents died–when i broke up with K & J years ago, i realized the fragility of relationships. the linear nature of time made me grow to expect you and maybe even resent you each day, but the separation of time from your presence made me appreciate and possibly even idolize you.

right before hospice came into their house, meme told me to watch cartoons, because it would keep my heart feeling light when things were dark. i’ll catch myself whistling like my papa or getting a little excited when i see a gray headed man riding a wal-mart cart. it makes me smile to see mcdonald’s stickers for all the times dada wanted to but never got to take me on saturday mornings when i was a kid. when i see boys riding on lawn mowers like the last time i saw cole riding one against the sun a few days before the accident. when i see a scary movie or a brown haired boy picking on a girl as they walk down the neighborhood street, i think of wesley and me.

and when i look out at the water, a little to the right, i see that dock. i’ve only sat on it once. as ridiculous as it truly is, it’s one of the reasons i moved here. it wasn’t that it was you, though you are still the most significant relationship i’ve ever had. it was the hope in that moment that we looked at the stars subsequent to that eloquently-prosed, misspelled letter you gave me. one of the most romantic moments of my life. i was so young at heart, and you were not–and that is why we said goodbye. we were friends for years prior to being a we and an us, and i remember our hesitation to make a romance out of such a great thing. you made me feel beautiful and worthy and secure and understood. it took time that you were willing to take. but i often wonder if i would give back everything that you gave me, all of the hopes and expectations for someone similar to you but one who led in Christ and supported my need to be a dreamer. if i would give it all up and reverse it all just to have the friendship back. just because the chemistry is there, should you pursue it? i can count on one hand the number of romantic relationships i’ve had. one of them was a bad idea. one of them was a not-so-serious rebound, two of them changed me for good though they were hard to lose, and one i’m not certain of the effect/outcome yet.

i don’t want fleeting relationships and friendships. i don’t want bitterness and loss. i don’t make friends or start relationships because i need someone. i’m used to being alone. losing my family, cole and wesley through death were hard things to conquer in my soul. losing friends through arguments and “endings” is so tiringly pointless having experienced such close irreversible loss in life. having lost a few significant relationships and friendships both irreversible and not so irreversible, i’ve found solace in discovering that they’re never really lost. the material things like photos and the sweet little words are precious reminders, but as long as i’m alive–“there is no was,” as i have said before.

the people i have carefully chosen to pursue good relationships/friendships with, i will carry them with me throughout my life with confidence. how they treated me in bright times and how they treated me in dark times will affect me as i walk through my life. it’s never over until i’m over. i allowed you into my life and my heart, and pieces of you will stay–it’s inevitable.

broken hopes and reels of memories are impossible to pack into a suitcase and carry around as baggage, so i learned early in friendship to accept and appreciate the impact of people on my life no matter their coming or going. it made it easier to forgive. it makes it easier to love someone now not making an enemy of my past. it makes it easier to appreciate the past relationships of people in my life, because i know even if they try to hide and avoid it–they have ultimately been affected by their past.

the hardest part about all of it is that i hate that your presence is not present. if i thought enough of you to choose you, then your friendship was ultra-valuable. i want it in my life. though my non-linear concept of time is unconventional, i wish others were spontaneous enough to see the value of it. can we not forget the ending and remember what we appreciated about each other? can a friend forgive a friend for an offense and remember why they bonded to begin with? what good comes of the timebetween after clarity and healing? awkwardness and loss? the unnecessary duo that preceeds pride and stubborness in the issues of people ’round the globe.

when i leave the world, i hope everyone i’ve known well enough will well-enough know that i had the humility to right a wrong with them and the honesty to let them know how i truly cared about them. i can’t force anyone to be my friend, but if i think you’re worth it i will at least try to convince you.

“what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”