Posts Tagged With: innocence lost

invincibility and rain boots: an existential conundrum

I’m having a bit of existential conundrum.
You might think it has something to do with not being accepted into the masters program at Mason, but you’d be mistaken.
I am in full on ‘What does anything actually mean?’ mode because of this moment.

On a sunny and warm yet breezy Monday, YBW and I went out for a shoot day.
We shot loads of photos.
We walked for miles.
It’s been raining a great deal over the last two weeks so I wore my monogrammed rain boots because I knew trails would be muddy.
When we came to Young’s Branch, (a small creek that feeds into Bull Run) I made the choice to go through the creek while YBW went across the bridge.

(He later told me that he shot me in sport mode so he could capture everything in case I slipped and fell.)
As you can see, I did not fall.

That said, I did not come out of the creek unscathed.

My right rain boot leaked.
My foot was ankle deep in cold muddy water INSIDE MY BOOT!
I was completely and totally flabbergasted!
In what realm do rain boots fill with water!?

I’m over here like, You had one fucking job!

You see, I am of the mind that I am invincible when wearing my rain boots.
Quite sincerely, I have this theory that my rain boots make me invincible.
Meanwhile the rain boots are all, Haha nope!

This feeling of confusion has been with me since the incident.
This feeling of questioning everything.
Existentialism, you bitch.

I know I’m a fully-functioning adult person. Logically and rationally I understand I am far from invincible. But when I wear my rain boots I feel like a superhero. I feel safe and protected and capable of absolutely anything.
They are amazingly comfy. They have my monogram, therefore specifically mine.
With these boots on my feet, I am a total BAMF ready to tackle any messy or wet thing that comes at me.
I am invincible!
It really is as simple as that.

YBW and I were talking about it yesterday and he reassured me he didn’t think it was as childish as I’m imagining.
He provided the analogy of spending an afternoon washing and waxing your car and feeling like it drives faster or better when you’re finished.
I mean, I’ve never experienced that feeling, but I understand it in concept.

I talked with my precious sister in law, Sally this morning.
She used the word innocence in response to this conversation.
That rang true in me.
She spoke of being jaded. Of losing one’s ability to move about freely.

As we become adults, we are jaded. We do spend a great deal of time looking about for things designed to trip us up, or keep us from growing or doing or becoming. We’re defensive, and somewhat fearful about how we move about in the world. But that’s a terrible way to be! I mean, paying attention to one’s safety is paramount, but functioning from a place of defense and disillusion isn’t a healthy (or enjoyable) way to go through life. But I understood her point.

She used the word freedom.
When she talked of freedom and innocence the word that came to me was autonomy.
I’m sure I took away something from our conversation that she did not intend. Because she used the word freedom as a synonym for autonomy. But that’s not exactly how I meant it.

I looked like this to me.
A child becomes autonomous when they’re ‘big enough’ to do things with more independence.
How is this autonomy applicable to rain boots?
How often does a child pull on rain boots with the express purpose of jumping in puddles?
They are using their independence to make smart choices. Their autonomy provides opportunities for exploration of the world around them. Their innocence encourages their joy and wonder.

I cling to that bit of childlike innocence in my rain boot invincibility theory. However disillusioned I am. However defensive I am. However fearful of my freedom I may be, I will always strive to foster my own sense of joy and wonder at the world. I will use my autonomy to provide myself opportunities to explore and engage the world around me.
I will have moments of disillusion. Of feeling defensive. Of being so jaded I neglect to see the wonder around me.
But I choose to actively seek out the joy and wonder in this world. To hold on to the remains of my childlike innocence. To use my autonomy to the best of my ability.

My rain boots did not make me invincible the other day.
You know what? That’s not entirely true.
My rain boots were not invincible the other day.

I’m solving that problem in two ways.
The first is to seal the seam on the boot I have.
The second is I ordered a new pair while they were 50% off!
Do I need two pairs of monogrammed rain boots?
Um…yeah!
Two different fashion opportunities for invincibility FTW!

I am a woman who’s lived through forty-eight years of life. Some of it good. Some of it bad. Some of it just plain indifferent. I’ve spend enough time feeling defensive and fearful. I’ve spent enough time worrying about my freedom and autonomy. I’ve lived through and come out the other side of every single thing this world has thrown at me.
I have not lost my sense of wonder.
I cling tightly to my joy. To my gratitude. To my childlike innocence.
And dammit! I am invincible when I wear my rain boots!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

for that is the only place to truly live

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I long to remember how live fully in both fantasy and reality. To know my imagination is free to create absolutely anything. To know that I’m as grounded as humanly possible.
You need both roots and wings. I know that’s rather a mixed metaphor, but I honestly believe it’s the truth. If I am safely rooted in reality, I have the ability to spread my wings and soar into fantasy.
I can remain grounded in the real world at the same moment I am King of all the Wild Things.

Most grown ups do forget the delicate balance. Most grown ups don’t believe in fairies. Most grown ups are far too busy to play. Most grown ups don’t embrace the child within.
I am not that kind of grown up. I will never lose my sense of whimsy. I will always remember how to play. I will always always believe in fairies. I’m a grown up and oftentimes I want to actually be a fairy.

Peter Pan told Wendy, “You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I’ll be waiting.”
The place between sleep and awake is where grown ups can remember how to live fully in both fantasy and reality. The trick is being able to do it when you’re awake.
Peter Pan also said, “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” So many grown ups doubt they can fly. I believe I can fly because I work every single day to remember how to move freely between the fantasy and reality. For that is the only place to truly live.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

some words can never really be spoken

My child always moves me.
This may seem a ridiculously obvious thing to say, but I’m honestly not sure how else to say it.
I called Thing 2 this afternoon just to say, “You’ll be here in ten days!” and we have talked and talked and talked the deepest well of emotions and pain and love. She emailed me a couple of samples of what she’s been writing and the anguish I felt upon reading them borders on indescribable.

She has been emotionally crippled by a time in our family life much more severely than I ever realized. The pain I feel is overwhelming. (These words simply cannot convey the feeling behind them.)
I worry so that this moment in time has come to “define” her. That she doesn’t want that, that there is a part of her that knows it isn’t true, but it does indeed contribute.

This time in our life was excruciating. My Mommy pain stole the breath from my body. The only other time I felt as helpless was when I left Thing 2 in the NICU when they discharged me from the hospital.
I couldn’t protect either one of my girls and that was something I had no idea how to live with.

She wrote a “spoken word piece”. I adore the irony of this…writing the spoken word. But she said it’s all about the way she speaks and I agree. When I read it, I heard her voice saying the words.
To say it is powerful is an understatement.
I’ve asked her permission to share these words. I’m grateful she agreed. I feel so strongly that her words need to be “out there” if for no other reason than to get them out of her.

We were actually on the phone when I read it. I cried so much I could barely speak. All I could do was apologize to her. Tell her I was sorry I couldn’t protect her.
She has so much pain and anger inside of her. I still don’t know how to help her. Feeling helpless about my babies is truly the most horrible thing I’ve ever experienced.

I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as she wrote it.

born second

Shave your head, slit your wrists,
In the middle of a teenage crisis,
Get out of your head, cause you’re making a mess,
I’m not just talking about the bathroom,
God, you’re so selfish,
Ruining my childhood innocence,
I was just a little kid, it doesn’t make sense,
I didn’t know any better than to keep your suicidal secrets,
Looking back I cant believe that you did that to me,
“Don’t tell mom”
What happened to the role model you were supposed to be?
Did you care when I was tiny and scared?
Praying I wouldn’t come home to find you dead,
I’m still freaked out by hospitals, makes my stomach flip,
Remembering the visits makes me fucking sick,
Throwing the blame of the disappointment you became on everyone else,
Yeah, fuck em, they can all go to hell,
Then you’ll be left with yourself,
And the hole in your heart where mom was supposed to fit.

And after you went back to school, it was all about attention,
Nobody seems to remember when I had to keep it secret,
Cause the rumor mill was churning, they already called you a lesbian,
What would they say about this?
I started failing history, couldn’t pay attention,
Barely talked to my friends for two months and when they questioned it,
“Oh, sorry, I don’t feel good, I’m sick.”
And that was it, we were eight graders, they just believed it,
Years passed, and when we talk about the past all my friends talk a big game,
“Yeah, I knew something was wrong then, I just didn’t say anything.”
It makes them feel better, like they’re being supportive,
I ignore it, none of them knew shit,
But I can’t hold a grudge because they couldn’t help,
What are they supposed to say?
“Sorry that your sister tried to take her life away.”

It was a very dark December, I’ll say that,
Since then it’s been a struggle to forget the fact,
Like how we waited for you, to come home to decorate the tree..
And you didn’t want to, don’t even get me started on “All I Want For Christmas Is You”

Thing 1 tried to take her life, was hospitalized for ten days and came home the week before Christmas. Our lives have never been the same. Their relationship has never been the same. Thing 2 had the harsh reality of the darkest part of life kick her little girl soul and hasn’t been able to heal…even after all these years.
My instinct is to hold her in my arms, that won’t take away her pain. It won’t help her heal. But it’s the only thing I can do to comfort either of us.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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