Starting Over & “Holy Shi#, Jump!” Living

Starting Over & “Holy Shi#, Jump!” Living

Long ago, and many times since, I decided that it wouldn’t swallow me. Not now. Not ever. You do the same. It is something different for everyone.

I started placing one unsteady foot in front of the other and reached for all the flooding light I could find. A new, unspecified seed pushed into the earth. I wouldn’t see things the same ever again. Drip…

I began writing as therapy. It evolved. I’ve provided myself a poor-man’s education in writing over the past few years – devouring the ideas and books deemed as holy from the minds I admire, bringing myself to page – time and time again, opening, enriching, connecting – gravitating toward memoir and non-fiction, genres that feel like they’re bringing me closer to the guts of life. Writing brought me back to people – whose words I saw myself in, healing me in unforeseen ways. And writing helped others who saw themselves in the words of similar struggle. Drip…

I made sentiment-laced art because transmitting feeling and experience makes me feel most alive, and I helped teach children in hopes of contributing to individual growth. Drip…

The dripped layers of each and every one of these practices has brought me to today, reinforcing my being – one forever fascinated by the connectedness and expression of our human experience and what we do with it all.

I had an unexpected, imposed, specified time in this shape of the Mom role I believe in wholeheartedly and have carried out over the past few years. As a faint pulse in the distance, slowly beating louder, indicating its growing proximity, a deadline of change approaches. I will support this little family and the ways in which I do will require great change. I had envisioned future looking so different from today.

A former career – one that feels like a skin I shed some time ago – won’t fit just right anymore. When you crack open that big, the pile of pieces may no longer fit together they way they once did. And so I look to the future, near and far, and evaluate the next step against the ways I want this life to feel and provide. I have to make something out of this collection of experiences that is both meaningful and providing of sustenance. I will pursue education in psychology in hope of serving back the circles of life I’ve been introduced to, guided through.

I arrived at a grad school orientation meeting with my babes in tow, single-parent style. They sat quietly eating our complimentary pizza dinner, organizing football cards and writing poems while I feverishly took notes and sweat through my shirt. The car ride home was full of questions about school and goals and they expressed fuzzy, genuine interest and support in the prospect of mama going back to school. “Are you gonna go for it, Mama?” I won’t forget those curious and hopeful rear-view framed faces.

Through living a more vulnerable life, by sharing bits of one’s singular experience, I’ve been influenced by more amazing humans than I feel deserving of calling fellows and friends, receiving the gift of their stories – the pieces of their lives that contribute to who they are and the ways they stir and fuel me. I look for strength in the many brave souls who have shown me that most things are possible.

I woke the morning of the grad school interview in a warm, snug tangle of arms and legs…

“Mama, it’s your big day,” my daughter says to me, first thing after rolling over toward me. {Hug}

“Yeah, baby, it is.” In that moment, her optimistic eyes preach everything I need to remember about courage.

In a single day, I bounced from an anxiety-loaded interview, to afternoon notification of acceptance, and finally evening registration and orientation. The kids were dropped with a friend on short notice – one who has felt much like a partner to me in these single parenting years – and were brought home after bedtime, tired and struggling with transition. Hyper-aware of the shifts this decision will bring about, and because of the nature of human beings, the weight sat heavy on the side of perceived challenge in my mind, spilling over into tears. How will I do this? There will be adjustments and scrambles; our time together will look and feel very different. I will pull late nights, and squeeze the smallest drops out of the days living solo, and increase my comfort level with asking for help.

The decision to say Yes was one of the heaviest I’ve mustered.

I wrestle doubt in my ability to do what will be required of me: manage my home – whatever home, run my shop, attend grad school, balance future work, and continue to raise my children in the ways I’d had in mind. I beat myself up with the guilt of taking such a turn in life knowing the ways it will change our days. I fear my art and my writing will take a back seat – one that feels more back of the long stretch bus, an uncomfortable distance from realization.

And then I move on. I remind myself that I believe in honoring what moves and calls you, remaining open to where the river takes you. I believe in making a contribution to the world my kids will inherit, and trusting that things will come together in bigger ways than I can presently imagine through today’s lens. I believe in doing Big Scary Things. And I commit to practice the humble acceptance of the potential of arriving at a place of obstacle, unable to continue, and not equating that to failure, but recalibration.

What should I do? I wanted someone to tell me. What would I tell someone else? I would tell my children to go for it. I would tell them, “Listen to your gut. Dive in, show up and give the best of yourself. You may not end up where you think, but where you arrive is where you should be.”

The news of my decision to enroll is met with a, “Yesssssss!” My boy celebrates, pulling his fist in to his body with a huge smile of his face and sister plants a kiss. They have no idea how much that means.

This puzzle piece will be one of a number I’m sliding together to fit into a shape I’m proud of. In a constant education and transformation as an individual no longer in partnership, and fielding condensed challenge, every single step brought me to the next place, painting a new layer, adding texture and depth. It takes exactly the number of days that pass before our decisions come into clear focus to know where we’ll venture next. And here I stand. Here we all stand in the next place.

I’m holding my breath. I’m crying more than I’d like to admit. And I’m eating a hell of a lot of cookies. But I’m also feeling optimistic and deeply connected to the new ideas I’m digesting, that surprisingly don’t feel very “new” at all – the foundations of our being, and the village of others who found themselves here beside me.

Sometimes you stand paralyzed at an edge, unnecessarily struggling to plot your every move down a drop you can’t even see the landscape of. And sometimes you just squeeze your eyes shut, yell, “Holy Shit!” and jump.

I write to process. I write to remember. I write for village. I write so that one-day my children may know where they’re from.

Comments

  1. Way to take that leap! :)

  2. Beautiful. Good for you…what a big, scary jump.

  3. this is how it felt to start my business. Terrifying, indulgent, thrilling, spinning, awful, dizzying, blissful, risky life. Go you. You won’t regret it. Some days it might feel like a really bad decision (hahaha) but in the end it will stretch you in wonderful ways. Congratulations on scaling new mountains in life!

  4. Love it! You’ve got this, momma!

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