Cracked Open

The last few weeks I’ve struggled to be present.  Anyone asking me to be with them here, and now, was on my shit list.  Instead, I wanted to ball up and hide; or multi task; or sleep. I wasn’t depressed.  I wasn’t anxious (well…. not more than any other day).  I was just avoiding what felt like an approaching avalanche of feelings.  And while I normally don’t shy away from feelings, I found myself thinking, “Oh god.  Not again.”

That’s how it goes with me, sometimes.  All is well until one day I look around and realize I’m only running on 50% and I don’t know why.  I’m going through the motions but my heart isn’t in it.  I pick my kids up on time but I just want them to entertain themselves (why are they so needy?)  I look a co-worker in the eye as he speaks to me but in my mind I’m making a grocery list or thinking of the five things I need to do before I leave today.  I encourage my husband to make lots of social plans so I can be alone.  I long for a quiet house so I can just do nothing.

It’s not terrible, I think, I just want to have some peace and quiet.  Except in this case, peace and quiet means hours of doing nothing but reading trashy books and sleeping.

It takes me a while to realize that this isn’t who I am.

It takes something outside of me: a passage from a good book, words from a wise friend, or the sun shining on my face at exactly the right moment to snap me out of my isolation.  I now know that my mini-hibernations are productive, even necessary.  I have to ball up and hide to dim the noise so that I can hear my spiritual wake up call when it comes.

And then, all at once, I feel a fissure in the exoskeleton I’ve tried so hard to forge between me and the world.  I am cracked open and new again.  I can breathe.

It’s then I realize that I had to hide so that I could ready myself for the growing.  For when I’ve outgrown my shell, it falls away and I am new and soft and malleable.

And terrified.

And liberated.

I breathe deep, I say a prayer.  I marvel at my shiny newness.  I grieve those who will not, or can not, recognize me in my new form.

But I keep going.

Because I was never meant to stay “just okay”.  Living at 50% will never again be enough; I am meant to be all of me.  And it is a wondrous experience to be struck open and vulnerable for that growth to happen.



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