It’s a Wednesday in early December, and I’ve had plans to write. I’ve had plans to sit and process this year, process myself, for months. Of course, I had plans to write it, as it happened, but then, there was life. And now, it’s in the first week of advent, and the pages I’ve written over and over and over in my head, on long car rides, in the shower, they are empty on the screen. And, it’s cold. The kind of cold that leaves my arms goose-fleshed, that draws tears from my eyes on the short walk from my car to the grocery store. It’s the kind of cold that burrows into my bones, and aches.
It’s December and there is so much left undone. Our vacation in October, I had plans to write about, to remember. It’s now a files of images on my desktop, an already fading memory, clouded by the atmosphere of life in-this-moment. This life that demands all of my attention, where I’m always exhausted, yet the laundry and the dishes and the children’s school work, is always only partially done. Always only washed, but not folded. Piled into the sink, but not cleaned. Left with notes for tutors to help, where I cannot, as I keep the wheels spinning on every other thing in motion in my life.
At the ophthalmologist recently, I struggled, as I tend to, with the color blind test. The assistant holds a small square book in their hands and turn the pages, waiting for me to identify colorful circles and triangles, squares and crosses. Page after page of shades of gray, sometimes with colors that are so clear, so vivid. But other times, my palms sweat, my tongue ties. The assistant lingers on a page where I’m certain there are no shapes, no colors, only swirls. Only gray. I cannot always see what they want me to see. There is no definitive shape.
It’s December, five months since letting go of unhealthy habits. Five months since choosing to feel all of the things, rather than live in the pretense of control. It’s been a year of uncomfortable catharsis, of deep breathing, of an uptick in the rambling texts that I send to my husband. It’s been year of asking to be held, just a little longer.
It’s been months (years?) of hearing a voice, in frustrated moments, in times when emotions run high: I am too loud. I focus on the wrong things. I host too many gatherings. I am an embarrassment, people think so. As an Enneagram Two, there is a sense of worthlessness at my core. It requires a level of strength, of energy, to keep it at bay, to shout it down, with what I know to be true, deep within my heart. That I am loved. That I am good and worthy, just as I am.
I do not take up too much space, at any table.
(And, it’s okay that I like to welcome people into my home, to sit and be loud or be quiet or be however they’d like to be, at my table, beside me.)
Two days ago, on the third day of December, my eldest daughter said to me, “it’s you. It’s you and Daddy,” when I asked why she was sulking. She had overheard bits and pieces of an after bedtime conversation between he and I. It was our general catching up, a general venting of frustrations, fears. She only heard muffled excerpts, through the wall, and her twelve year old heart wove the words into a narrative of its own, of her own. “You only know one side of that story,” she told me, scolding me for saying what she thinks I said, about a situation she was involved in.
“But, you,” I wanted to tell her – her who heard words plucked from between walls and in and out of sleep and the sounds of the house settling and the television playing and her rabbits scurrying in their cages by her bed – “you only heard one side, too.”
But, she’s twelve. I remember twelve and I remember how deeply all of the things feel and how simply being heard was sometimes enough. We can’t all be all-right and all-wrong. At thirty-nine, I’m seeing all the more of the gray. There are not definitive shapes.
It’s weeks away from 2019, and the pages of the calendar, the dates marked off for work in the coming months, give me anxiety. There are, at the same time, too many and too few, and I feel myself preparing for a change. Something larger than 2018 held, something not yet crystallized in my brain or my soul, but it’s looming there, a silvery-shadow, a hopeful unknown, all of the boxes on the calendar pages. Waiting.
It’s so cold already, this December. It’s in my on my skin and in my bones. It happened so soon.
So much sooner than I was ready.