I wrote this post several months ago, but failed to publish it. So much has changed in our life since last summer, but still, this holds a part of my story and heart and as I read this post it seemed as if I was transported back to the space where I felt these thoughts deep enough to actually write them down.
There is a leaning, a gentle swaying and arch of my body and emotions that happens when I just stop.
Stop my whining and dragging of feet and annoyance and let my step become lighter and open my eyes wider so light and love can enter.
When I see my children clearly for who they are and the needs they have and stop rushing and criticizing and reminding them of their shortcomings.
There is always so much. So much I want to accomplish and balance. So much attention I need to give. And in the “so much” I miss out on being available.
Available to sit and snuggle and make space to listen to their hopes, dreams, desires, interests; to feel their body against mine and allow our rhythms to align.
The summer goes by without rhythm. We wake up, eat breakfast, and mostly have no plans for the day. Maybe we will go to the beach or a park, or just stay home and sit in underwear all day. We just see. I have stopped being a homeschooler who tricks my kids into home schooling in the summer. We read books, but no intentional science experiments or “strewing” has taken place. We aren’t practicing our alphabet or letter sounds. We are being bored and finding things to do or people to engage with (or poke). An endless vacation.
Some days it makes me feel like I am accomplishing nothing in all this nothingness.
Laundry may be caught up and the kitchen clean by the end of the day, but in all of the housework and cooking and cleaning and taking care of the baby and mopping up water and dirt tracked in from happy sprinkler feet, it is never finished and I rarely get to the deeper things I ache to do.
Music has lost its presence and I as I type this I feel a physical ache in my heart. Piano is a balm for my soul. When I sit and play, I instantly feel a melting inside, like broken jagged bits softening and solidifying together again. I am whole.
Music shakes my insides like nothing else can and loosens things in me. Playing guitar and singing with all my being reconciles worlds to me. This has been my lifetime therapy. And I miss it. It is something I do alone, mostly. I sing strong when no one is listening to me.
Because when no one is listening or looking I am free to express myself however I choose. No criticism. No applause. No attention. I am a wildflower, able to bloom whatever way I am meant to and not hide my brilliance or dullness out of obligation.
It is harder when there is an audience, an expectation. I go rigid. I feel like I don’t belong here. Like I am not good enough to be in front of anyone doing anything. I feel this way about everything.
Sharing my words? Not good enough. Sharing my art? My photographs and videos and songs and creations? Who cares?
I share it, anyway, because I believe in doing things that scare and stretch me.
But then, anxiety. Why does it matter? Why does it stop me? Why do I worry about the attention? I become overwhelmed and step back from it all and lean into silence again. Lean into my own world. I devote myself to making kombucha and not eating sugar and keeping the floors cleaned. I find contentment in simplicity. Which is good, but it is also an excuse.
An excuse to keep from being seen.
Some people know this about me, but I occasionally worked as a fine art model for a couple of years. And I was seen by the eyes of artists. They all interpreted my body differently and it was fascinating to see the variance in shape and size and angles and curves.
When you put yourself out there and allow your heart to be seen, everyone will see it differently. You can never be everything to everyone and you will always be too much or too little to someone.
But for now, I am wading through the simplicity and the tasks summer presents for mothers of young children. I am keeping my longings and plans tucked neatly against my chest as a secret. My mind is never at rest and all day I compile and organize lists and dreams.
The song, Dream by Patricia Ahn has been resonating with me and makes me burst with the desire to dream like a child again and think things are more possible than my grown-up mind would like to believe.
How I hope my children will always believe in their dreams. How I hope I will lean into my own and have the strength and confidence to be me.