Dear Kid

My therapy assignment over the past few weeks was to write a letter to myself as a child about the truth of many things and while I’m not going to post the contents of that letter here because it is long and deeply personal, I did really like the last paragraph and decided that I would share that.

The truth is that you are a math problem. You are the product of your environment and your upbringing and you are the sum of your parts and your only saving grace is that when you multiply a negative times a negative, somehow you wind up with something positive, no matter the size. Not that you will be able to ever hear yourself or any aspect of you as being positive without claiming it to be a lie, because even at thirty-two, that is something far beyond what you can let go. But you have survived thus far, to thirty-two and that is not a negative number so there must be at least a small positive in there somewhere and perhaps that’s not nothing.

Thinking this is bringing me a small bit of peace tonight.

 

Spring Is Here!

Yesterday was one of those pre-spring days that I love. Blue skied without a cloud in sight, warm enough to get away with wearing a lighter weight jacket with layers underneath, feeling optimistically cheerful while waiting for the bus to go down to the center of this urban area for a cup of tea and wait for my partner to be done with work for the night. Just knowing that the spring equinox was today was enough to put me in a good mood.

When we got the first twenty-six inches of snow and the city ground to a halt in January, I didn’t realize how badly the end of winter was going to weigh on me. And really, with almost no snow for the first months, the cold temperatures felt bearable and as I struggled to hold the areas of my life that were falling apart in other grandiose ways together, winter seemed like the least of my problems. And then of course I got the other pieces of myself to fit back together in their jigsaw puzzle and with cautious optimism laid a thin layer of modge podge over the top right as the flakes began to fall and this hell of a winter that had apparently just been saving everything up for its last six weeks unleashed itself with a fury upon Boston. All I can think now is thank god for that thin layer of glue for holding me together until spring because now that it seems certain that spring will indeed arrive on this coast, everything just feels like it’s becoming easier to deal with again when for a while I wasn’t sure we’d make it through.

And of course today, being the actual equinox, brings with it another layer of snow depth still to be determined which does put a slight cramp in my spring-welcoming plans since it is the sort of weather that makes me want to hole up inside where it is warm and dry. Still, I think back to a month ago when I was making snow angels literally standing up while leaning against snow banks and a dusting of snow suddenly doesn’t feel like it will crush my spirit quite so easily. I’m able to remember how perfectly blue the sky was yesterday and hold onto that despite the less than choice weather conditions outside my door currently.

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(The above image is of myself making a snow angel against a six foot pile of snow standing up.)

Perhaps I Was Wrong

When I said that it was too early for green sprouts in my own yard, I might have been speaking prematurely. Walking home this afternoon, I had to stop to appreciate these along the front of my building. Spring really has arrived!

Spring

(The above image is of green crocus shoots beginning to make their way out of the ground.)

Spring Is On The Way

Spring is almost here. I can tell beyond my bottled up cabin fever because yesterday temperatures in the city soared above fifty-five degrees and friends are starting to send me pictures of crocuses poking shoots out of the earth hesitantly. I am anxiously awaiting the melting of the snow so that traces of green might start to be seen in my own yard, but I think that is still a little ways off still.

I love spring. Not just for the freshness and the green sprouting everywhere but for the sense of renewal that it brings with it. Especially after a hard winter, which this past certainly qualifies, I yearn for the chance to shed layers and start fresh and spring gives just that opportunity. There is a literal shedding of layers after all, sweaters and coats and scarves giving way to lighter jackets and caps, skin starting to be exposed to the sun again as it dares to peek out from the gloom of New England winter.

Here sitting in this coffee shop, I chose this seat intentionally because the sunbeam hits it fully. It sometimes makes the screen of my tablet a little difficult to see, but it is warm and enveloping and on a day where temperatures have dipped back near freezing, it is more than welcome. Tomorrow, the sun is due to shine and the actual beginning of spring frowns nearer. Those green shoots of spring, the crocuses and daffodils won’t be far behind the melting of the snow. For a winter that I was once sure would never end, I now have fledgling beginnings of faith that March will it allow a break through and spring will once again bring that renewal, as it has so many times before.

Anti-Valentine’s Day

I’ve never really celebrated Valentine’s day as an adult.  Probably because the one year I had a dating-friend as a teenager around Valentines day it went so abysmally that I decided it was a terrible, marketing-driven holiday intent only on convincing people that they had to spend huge amounts of money to prove their love to someone on one particular day of the year otherwise they were scum. I think that’s stupid. If you love someone, you should show them you love them far more than once a year and I find the endless commercials for diamonds obnoxious. I prefer to celebrate February 15th, the day Valentines candy goes massively on sale. That is what I find worth celebrating.  I’m a sucker for peanut butter chocolate shaped like hearts and eggs and trees,  depending on the time of year. But I digress…

I’ve been drawing a lot lately because I’ve been having a lot of psychomotor agitation (extreme restlessness) and focusing intently on something other than bouncing my leg up and down helps to relieve it. Also it saves my muscles from cramping and exhaustion and the occasional build up of lactic acid when I forget to breathe. I jokingly told my partner that if I did celebrate Valentine’s day, that this drawing would have been her gift, but I don’t so it isn’t so she shouldn’t read into the fact that I happened to try this particular design based closely on something I saw online at this particular moment in time rather than three months from now. Fortunately, since she’s as pro-Valentine’s Day as I am, I’m fairly confident she’ll go along with me on this. Otherwise I’d have to hide the drawing for a month or so and show it to her then.

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(The above image is a pen and ink drawing of three hearts intertwined with geometric filled shapes.)

 

Steady

“Trauma tries to erase us. Oppression tries to erase us. Ignorance tries to make us disappear so we don’t mess with the tyranny of the status quo. We were taught to stay silent, to smile while bleeding, to pretend it wasn’t so bad. We were tricked into thinking our stories were shameful and stupid. Writing and speaking these exquisite truths – the truths about our story, our gender, our sexuality, our races, our biochemistry, our memories, our dreams – and revealing the ways in which we heal and keep on healing, this is how we fight for our lives. And this is how we win.” – Caroline Harvey

A friend posted this quote on Facebook recently and it instantly resonated with me. There are some days where I just feel instantly defeated from the beginning, like the cards in the deck are stacked against me while I’m still asleep and I just have the misfortune of waking up to everything being piled on in a way I can’t look away from or ignore. And then some days, I wake up without the overwhelming sense of the world crashing down on my shoulders. Those days, I feel like I can pause, at least for a moment and breathe and even if that’s the only moment of peace that I get within my skin for the rest of the day, it’s a relief. Lately I’ve been lucky to have had a string of good days, those days where I can breathe throughout the day, where I can smile even, where it doesn’t feel like my skin itself is the enemy, muscles twitching uncomfortably, leaving me twitching and agitated.

When I left the hospital last week, I was glad to be home not just because psychiatric units are uncomfortable and assuming of all of your agency but also because I felt ready to be home. I know that things will never return to the way they were two years ago when I had not begun to scratch the surface of the years of trauma that I had shoved down and assumed buried forever. I’m not the same person that I was then, but in some ways I think that’s for the better. There are some ways in which my life is more difficult now, for sure, but I think that person was on a collision course with something very dark and if I had not begun to deal with my scars, I would still be hurtling along that trajectory at a frightening velocity. I am still fighting with myself to not pretend many days that things are okay, to make out that that things are not as bad as they really are because it is what I’ve always done and it is what I was taught to do. But the road to recovery is a much slower one, the path is rocky, it’s uphill with many switchbacks and the truth is that there’s no quick way to get through this, much as I wish there were. I’m not patient, but I’m learning because that’s the only way to be these days.

Tomorrow I hope for peace, for as many breaths as I can have it for. That is my goal. Start small. Not that reaching for the stars is bad, but too much is daunting and that doesn’t accomplish anything in the long run.

Another Introduction

When I was thinking of starting this, I began searching for a domain that would hold meaning for me but everything that came to mind was unavailable. I stumbled upon redolent through a thesaurus and found the play on the meaning of being strongly reminiscent of something and ending with .me perfect. I want this space to be a sincere and honest representation of myself so I was drawn to this as a beginning and reminder of that.