JOY

beaches

Do what you love. In-between the pain and hardship, there is joy. Even during the years where my family of origin limped along trying to be a family, or I tried but felt alone anyway, there were moments of pure joy. Sitting on the edge of a pool with my leg in the water, the crisp sparkling water making rainbow bubbles as I splashed my foot up and down. I never forgot that moment.

I love the water. I always have. And as much as I have grievances against my mother, she did some things right. OK, many things. One was insuring I learned how to swim. I love water, the deeper the better. She grew up by a lake and thought nothing of swimming across it. I haven’t done that, but thanks to her, I do love the water.

I won’t travel to St. Croix in February for a month to escape harsh NE American winters. I could battle the challenges of PTS, and my fear of small places. I could battle it and win. But I am tired of battles and won’t put myself through it. Somehow, Samuel and I will have to contend with winters where we spend too much time inside with each other and hopefully not do each off.

Instead we bring the Florida room to us. Or I do. I bought a pool! Above ground. At first an in-ground seemed so luxurious but the cost is prohibitive, so I happily settled on its alternative. After checking out one place, dusty and old, as scattered and pre-occupied as the salesman, I went to another close-by where the salesman looked me right in the eye and never wavered. There is something so special and rare about a person who does that. Someone who doesn’t try to escape my glare, my search for realness and truth.

We went back yesterday and paid our down-payment. I’m so excited with something to look forward to until the grass greens. We had one all through the kids growing up years. A used one that dear Samuel and friends actually went and took down from another home. They somehow re-erected the rusty braces and voila! A summer resort. Oddly, once the kids grew out of it, so did I and there it sat after they left home. I don’t think I allowed for play time anymore as I grieved their leaving.

But now, to soothe that restless feeling of loss… the ‘if only’ I didn’t develop phobias due to the early years of my life and what my brother took,’ I replace the coast of Florida or St. Croix with a pool right out the back door of the screen porch. My own Florida room. My own piece of joy.

What is your joy? What are more of mine?

They don’t have to be as complicated as a pool. Simple joys are some of the best. The sun on my body as I work at the sink. Breath. Even in in the safety of my own home, my body tends to tighten. I live past the moment, either in the past or the future. It is true that the past is over and the future hasn’t happened yet. Thinking about it, as if I could control either, is not possible, and only makes me lose the moments of now. Being in the moment takes effort but is worth it.

The sun on my body, the muscles relax…the breath.

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23 thoughts on “JOY

  1. For many years, as I matured from an adolescent to an adult, and then to a spouse and parent, I struggled with having a constant barrage of painful triggers that seemed to always dredge up horrific memories from the past. I started working with a counselor, and things did improve, and I learned a lot, but there was one thing that stayed with me and made me sad in the deepest way. During some of the sessions where hypnosis was used to try to uncover or recover happier memories to try to overlay them to replace some of the more traumatic memories, a trend began, and continued throughout my many years in therapy. I was unable to uncover happier memories, even under hypnosis, and even though the therapist(s) tried to say otherwise, I could tell that it concerned them, and that it was unusual to not be able to release any good memories, even under hypnosis.

    So I continued on in life, with a logical mind telling me there had to be good memories, but the weight of the traumatic memories seemed to drown out any chance of reaching back to find any of those happier memories. This particular absence caused me to feel even more broken, and caused me to carry additional sadness (as if there wasn’t already enough to bear).

    Now I’m 57, and both of my parents have passed (2007 and 2009), and I was able to make peace with both of them before they passed. More successfully with my mother, who I cared for during the last six years of her life. It is only now, all these years later, that I’ve started retrieving snippets of good memories. They come in an erratic fashion, most likely triggered much as the horrific memories were triggered, but I remember feeling somewhat of a sigh of relief when it first started happening. It made me want to find the counselor who had treated me for several years, just so I could share with her that it had finally happened. They WERE there, and there WERE some sweet and tender and happy memories underneath all that pain.

    Your post reminded me of that. One of mine was also about the water. Dipping my toes in a lake, and being the first one brave enough to swim under the dock (where the monster fish supposedly lived, according to my siblings). An overnight visit to a young friend’s house, where there was laughter and popcorn and silly antics and lots of giggling. Memories of all sorts are repressed, and sometimes, that is one of the critical ways we are able to endure whatever is happening in our lives.

    I never thought I would see a day during this lifetime where I could think back to my childhood and actually find reason to smile. But it happened. It might have taken a lifetime, but it happened. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow!
      What a beautiful and majestic post all by itself. Thank you for taking the time to share such hope and beauty.
      That so makes sense, sadly so…the repression of everything because we don’t get to choose as the survival instinct takes over.
      Snippets of happiness…

      Like

    2. I wanted to add, I feel lucky to have made peace with my mother just days before she died. Yet in the years since then I find I need to re-visit the magnitude of how her decisions affected me, and forgive all over again…and again, and again…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It does roll up on me sometimes with my Mom as well, and the anger starts gurgling around in my gut, but it seems the thing that always helps me put it all back into perspective is remembering how horrible it feels to have hurt someone I loved. It reminds me that humans are flawed creatures, and yet we’re capable of experiencing intense joy. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Somehow I missed this wise and all true loving response. I couldn’t agree with you more. It is hard to love fully if one can’t also hammer out the hurts between one another. And we never did. Which leaves me with the continuation of the work now.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m so excited for you! I will have to send you a photo of the above ground swimming pool cake I made for Brayden’s birthday this past fall. I’m not even joking. I made one for Zoe the year before and this past year Elias had a “swimmer dude’ cake. It’s a face with goggles on it and a snorkel over the top. This is quite amazing actually. Our cake and swimming stories … I think the universe is telling us it’s time for some FUN!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I always marvel at your talent of appreciating those smaller details that are often lost on so many. i can imagine you with your feet at the edge of the pool, your excitement almost uncontainable. You are right, you have battled enough and now is not the time to put yourself through more. Now is the time to live in the moment and enjoy what you love most surrounded by people who really hear and see you. Sending much love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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