I sit under the full spectrum lights, reading blogs, stroking my cat Molly next to me, and Samuel is off to work on the five days a month he can work while still receiving retirement. The frost is definitely on the pumpkins this morning. A day without my grand-daughter, or Samuel. I take a deep breath– no pressures, no job, no people. For a woman who has spent much of her life lonely, I now treasure aloneness, thrive in it, expand with it, feel full. What will today bring?

Yesterday was the picture perfect fall day… crisp, sunny and oh, so still. You could hear the tall rushes along the creek gently sweep against each other as our canoe slipped by.

“I just want to sit for a few minutes Samuel, “I said.

He stops his paddle. The quiet seeps in, the chirp of birds, the sun warming my back. The water has risen allowing passage to the pond, and under the road through the culverts. We scare off a blue heron and stare as its long leafy wings take it farther away where it feels safe and can fish in private.

He holds the boat as I get out and goes up one path but I sit awhile, craving that feeling that has escaped me these past weeks, a solidness, centeredness. I’m not there yet, but it’s coming as my body adjusts to the shorter days, and grief wears on.

What does it mean, to age gracefully? Whatever it is, I don’t have it. Both of us deal with our body’s frailties, it’s not pretty. So how do those agile, smiling aged people do it? Stages of life. I don’t want to go back and raise a child 24/7. No. That’s hard too. Each stage is hard, has challenges, but also rewards. I do the best that I can, and it takes courage.  

I don’t have to try to be like anyone else. I used to try. I don’t now. I am me, still discovering me. Still leaning things about my armor, how it protects me, how it always will. And I’m OK with that. I plan to enjoy all that I can, until I can’t. I’m not going to pound myself for not being like her, him, or anyone else. I am me. Things happened which changed me. And that is that.

At a garage sale the other day with Samuel, I was looking at an outrageously ugly withered old watering can full of old, brittle dried flowers that looked more like weeds. It was extremely top heavy due to a gorgeous garden gazing ball stuck in it. I pulled it out thinking I’d ask the owner how much it was. The lady came over, grabbed it out of my hand and began trying to put it back in, fussing over it, very upset with me.

“This goes together! Now you’ve ruined it!” she exclaimed in exasperation with my audacity.

I didn’t think, I just reacted, for a miraculous change, I spoke up.

“Hey, take it easy! I didn’t kill anyone!” I retorted angrily, indignantly.

She eventually apologized, and also sold me the gazing ball separately for two bucks. People are weird, and have their own stuff. Wow, it’s taken me so long to see, believe and understand, that every negative interaction is not about me. Very often it’s other people’s stuff.

And I don’t have to hate them for having stuff. I can accept that they too have stuff, and it’s alright. This is something others already know, like Samuel and my sons, and just about anybody else I’ve observed. But for me, in my castle, all armored, allowing others in because of their stuff, their craziness, was just too much. It still is. I guard myself from others because my shields are not dependable. Their stuff invades no matter how hard I try to not let it.

But this was miraculous. That I spoke up without censor. Something I’ve watched others do all my life, or as long as I remember, yet I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried. I felt so powerful, so whole, that the feeling usually trapped, came right up and out, just how it’s supposed to. When it hurts, say ouch. So simple, yet so hard for me, trained to do the opposite.


19 thoughts on “EXPANSE

  1. What a beautiful blog. Felt with such inner peace. I love your writing they feel me with warmth. The good the bad and the ugly. All together it’s a pleasure to read.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m so proud of you. I’m just smiling and there is so very much about your post that I relate to. Thank you for this.

    This really resonated with me: “For a woman who has spent much of her life lonely, I now treasure aloneness, thrive in it, expand with it, feel full. What will today bring?”

    And this! “But for me, in my castle, all armored, allowing others in because of their stuff, their craziness, was just too much. It still is. I guard myself from others because my shields are not dependable. Their stuff invades no matter how hard I try to not let it.” — This part I know so well, I feel exhausted, wrung out, drained by other people and their stuff.

    Thanks for this today!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Great that you spoke up and also that you do not take on other people’s stuff. Isn’t healing wonderful. I too struggle with agility. I think it is from all the constriction and dissociation I did my whole life. It is all part of trauma that stays with you.
    At least it is for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and every child grown into woman who lost her voice does too. Yet that’s one of the losses. (for me) Just a miracle I opened my mouth and emotion came out….! : ) Yipee! A rarity, but I’ll take it. My voice most often comes out on paper, but that’s OK.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love the canoe! I know what you mean. I’ve never been able, when I was younger (a lot younger), to just speak out what I thought about something. There was always the fear of what others would think, or worse, say! Now, though I have not raised a family myself, have found that I have no filter. Sometimes it just plain amazes me what comes out of my mouth, without even thinking about it. Maybe it has something to do with maturity, or all those years of counseling I have been through, and still am going through.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this post! It reminds me of the first time I realized something was not my fault It felt so odd that I called my therapist to make sure I had interpreted the situation correctly. Funny how easy we can be trained to take on the blame and how strange it feels to place it where it belongs. Thanks for sharing, your words always bring me comfort.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So the other day, I was picking my daughter up from her school. I have a big van. I pulled as far into a parking spot as I could in order to make sure I was not impeding traffic behind me. After school traffic is always CRAZY. The parking spot seemed small, and I felt like I barely fit.

    Shortly after parking I look up at the more expensive car in front of me. The lady gets out of her car. Comes to the back of her car. Looks at the distance between my car and hers. She then gets back into her car and pulls forward a few more inches. When she gets out again, to go get her children, she looks annoyed at me for parking so close to her bumper.

    My first thought what “What? Does my cheep van have cooties or something? Not good enough to be near your expensive car?”

    I then watched her when she came back with her kids to see if maybe she needed to put her kids bags in the hatch back or something like that, that would make her actions logical. When that did not happen, I was back to the cootie thought.

    Next I remembered this from your post “People are weird, and have their own stuff.” What a great statement. I find my brain remembering it from time to time when I encounter similar situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, great job!
      Anyone could have been driving your van, a huge burly man, a little 90 year old lady, an 18 year old on a cell phone etc.; and that lady would have done the same thing, all in a bristle about nothing. She didn’t know you personally, she was just being her jerky self. She probably irons her napkins and has spasms if anyone actually gets them dirty.
      Such good work!

      Liked by 1 person

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