There are moments that change everything. A hyper-awareness. Where the sky is too shockingly blue and the sound of the wind in the trees is a roar instead of a whisper.
I’m ready for November to be over. For the sun to set on what has undoubtedly been the hardest month I’ve had in several years.
I stand against the storm of change, unflinching, digging my feet into the ground and screaming against it. Even if the world looks better in the end, it feels a lot like being torn apart.
My grandfather is dead. My friend is dead. One is explained by the ravishes of time, when a man is reduced to skin and bones and sleeps his way into oblivion. When the man inside is lost to us far before the body decides it’s ready to leave.
The other is a mystery. Unanswered and without explanation. Found in his kitchen and with nothing to be done. No one should ever watch a mother bury a son. No one should witness that agony. There’s an echo in that loss, looking for a comment or a text that will never come your way again. A void that cannot be filled.
I’m good at placing things in their boxes. “To deal with later”- is my favorite.
I’ve watched my friendships alter and shift, irreparably in the past few months. The anxiety of “Where do I stand? What do I need to fix? Who do I call? What comment have I made will be warped and twisted and changed?” Began to bore holes into me, eat into my resolve and my belief in who I am. I had to step back, to breathe, to rebuild. My life is quieter, less hectic, but my anxiety is also less crippling. I still hear whispers of things people say about me, but I no longer stand there and try to fight those fires. Well, not all of them.
There is a loneliness in this loss, a realization that not everyone in your life is meant to stay- some people are just a season in your life.
But also a moment of sharp joy in knowing that those who are real and true are so much more precious.
There is a loneliness in loss unintentional as well. When you lose more than you expected in a change.
When you realize that love is not quite enough.
I stand my ground more. The world tries to force you to bend. Change a little more, say yes just once, give up a little piece of who you are… all of these are choices we make at one point in time as we move through age and trials and tests in people and work and education.
At some point you get tired of giving up pieces of yourself for puzzle pieces that don’t fit or replace or help make you whole. There are no pieces left to give that won’t destroy you or remove the essence of who you are. So you must fight for them, even if that means losing someone else.
Sometimes that loss is just a step back,
Sometimes it’s a solid goodbye. Only time will tell.
I mourn for my independence, when the tables I set were my own. Where my run spanned the city and not the quiet of the trees, perfectly manicured and maintained. But I’m less lonely in the knowledge that my struggle is the same struggle of many and that this is not the life we thought we would have. “Go to school, get a job, build the American dream!” *except they don’t tell you the part about your dreams being placed on hold while you try to figure out absolutely everything. Work one, two, three jobs and barely make ends meet. Paycheck to paycheck, student loans that double/triple in interest until “pay them off” becomes “survive”, and “own your own home” is amended to “rent with a roommate.” Your Pinterest board of designs for wall colors and kitchens sits empty and unused, a virtual dream sitting dusty and forgotten on the shelf of “someday.”
Letting go of this month starts today for me. I wanted to share this from the top of a mountain peak, but in letting go I’ve also learned it’s ok to say no when I’m too tired or sick or anxious to move.
So instead I share this from the warmth of my bed, after a cup of coffee and breakfast, as I plan my day around food and family and the outdoors.
I am grateful that Home means a soft place to land, open to me, allowing the salvage of my pride with rent paid and duties performed. To the openness of heart within these walls, where all strays can find a bed, a meal, a place to call Home should they need it. Where no one is turned away. There is always a vacancy here and for that upbringing and role in my life I cannot thank you enough.
I am grateful that work is so much more than punching a clock to perform like a puppet. It is ever changing, always interesting, filled with possibility and plans. That no day-to-day experience is the same. That it allows me the opportunity to learn and grow every day, both comfortably and excitingly out of my comfort zone.
I am grateful for iron. Both the weights I’m able to pick up, to force my body to push harder against its limits, to force a strength within me that I did not know I have. And for the foundation of strong women and stronger friendships built from the bar.
I am grateful for the love, unconditional and undeserved, from the two balls of fur that I’ve had the privilege to rescue and call my own. Whose wet noses and heavy paws always find a way to touch me when I sleep and whose exuberance always lights up even the worst of days.
And to those of you who we call family. Our godmother, our aunts and uncles, the siblings we would add to our home if we could- thank you for being the family we choose. The golden light in uncertain times. The reminder that we can always make room for more great people in our lives.
I bid you a Happy Thanksgiving, I say goodbye to November as I unpack Christmas lights from the attic and play holiday tunes on the stereo and wait my turn in the kitchen to make my dessert: pumpkin/cream cheese pie over a nutter butter crust with whiskey whipped cream to top it off.
I’m grateful you read this far.
“Hello you long shots
You dark horse runners
Hairbrush singers, dashboard drummers
Hello you wild magnolias
Just waiting to bloom
There’s a little bit of all that inside of me and you
Thank God even crazy dreams come true.”