When I started blogging, I made the decision to be as much like myself here on the page as I am in the real deal. Well, that might be a lie because I’m not sure much of a decision-making process was really involved but I did decide to not attempt to filter myself all that much. So in that sense, it is true.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a bit more of those commodities in life? It seems like there’s plenty of subterfuge, manipulation, and death by a thousand paper cuts. But the plain ole good stuff seems to be in short supply.
Some days this torments me more than it should.
I know there’s many of you who can shrug it off, let it roll off your backs, turn the other cheek, whatnot. I’m not one of you. I wrap myself in a blanket of despair as if doing so will comfort me and protect me from what’s threatening to attack.
But I’m also a bit claustrophobic.
As a child, I believed in the monsters who appeared in the dark. The things that lurk behind the closet door and under the bed. Some kids believe because they know.
So I never walked up to my bed in the dark. Instead I would leap the last few feet. And I covered my head under the thick pile of blankets needed to ward off the night’s chill. But I could never completely cover my head because I needed to see what was coming.
Even today I’m a light sleeper — always keeping one eye ready to see what is coming.
This past year, the darkness of depression has been my primary struggle. Make lunches for my kids, get them to the bus on time, walk the dog, blog twice a week, get to the office, send emails, edit novels, keep the refrigerator stocked, find a smile for the people who expect to see one…these have all been things I’ve tried to do while keeping the maelstrom at bay. I’ve not done such a bang-up job of it.
Have you ever been in a tornado? My 9 years in Minnesota gave me plenty of knowledge of just what a tornado-sky looks like. The way the clouds start to swirl. The whole time I’m wanting to stand out in the yard and watch what’s coming and yet knowing the whole time I’d better take cover under something safe.
The emotional version of that weather pattern is inside of me every day. Every day.
Some days things calm down and the sun comes back out. But some days it doesn’t.
Storm chaser. Huddler under blankets. Keeping one eye uncovered, looking for the hope of light within the swirling storm.
I am all these things. This is my truth, my goodness, my beauty.
The truth is uncomfortable. The goodness is always just a wish away. The beauty is the light after the storm of tears.
The above photograph is from our picnic blanket, looking up at the tree shading us. We decided to take the kids to a local park for a picnic dinner and some playtime. All three kids, ages 13, 9, and 7 were running around the playground, their laughter bouncing off the neighboring buildings, blending with the other children’s giggles. It was a good evening and a good reminder to keep looking for the sunshine, peeking through.