Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Like a Warm Hand

I procrastinated. The words ached to get out but I told them "not yet", "just a minute". I ran the washing machine. I put away toys. I made myself a sandwich. Now the washer has stopped, and begs me to take out the wet clothes and transfer them to the dryer. I ignore her pleas.

The winter scape sits patiently outside my window. Aching to be lauded and appreciated. I watch the gorgeous everything, begging for my attention. I turn inward, back to the bubbling words.

I gain a sense of order and calm when things are....orderly. And calm. But those words, in my head? They started hopping like overheated atoms. Pushing against my brain, spilling out, whether I had the foresight to place them onto the paper, or not. I ignore the washing machine and the winter white wonders so I can stay here, with the words, with the security of my computer to capture the words as they tumble and fall.


In a myriad of conversations with friends (both spoken and written), their words, salve-like, normalize my human experience. As I live this life of mine, I yearn for connection and solace in a story shared, a communion of experience. Whether it be a friend sharing the spirals of a rocky day or me submerging into an article or book, nodding as the writer eloquently shares her story, their contributions shine lights on my own wobbly, imperfect, human path. I bathe in the comfort of knowing we all share the sameness of humanity: perfect imperfection. Their words delivering their own unction, unifying me with others.

I read Katrina's beautiful piece sharing the bumps in her path.
I read Amy's incredibly liberating piece about The Witching Years which so tracked my emotional feelings I thought, perhaps, she'd tapped my first five years with my children.
I read Lindsey's words about the conscious presence and acceptance of life's everyday gifts, packaged in unassuming wrapping. And about Grace.
And Christine's constantly inspiring posts about her journey through depression.

Like a warm hand, slowly and lovingly extended, the words of these brave women sprinkle grace into my life, easing the pain of experiences by knowing I am not alone.

Again, I say: this sharing of life normalizes the human experience. Today, as I was gearing up to write (yes, procrastinating), I decided to read Dani Shapiro's latest blog post. Predictably, her words resonated with insight. I happened to look down and see that she'd responded to a comment I'd left on a previous post, one she wrote about Exposure-- writers sharing our intimate details. I commented that even though they make me nervous, I find that my grittiest posts are the ones that seem to resonate most with readers. Dani replied,

"Sometimes, what we think of as the "grittiest" may well be the most universal part."

Yes. Oh my yes.

With all of our varied chapters and moments, we all share in a common experience. Being human. Once I lifted the shroud of secrecy from my experiences, I found peace. And acceptance. The liberation in sharing and finding kindred souls along the way, also living their own versions of this universality, delivered grace. And connectedness. The beginning was so scary; peeling back my protective layers of perfection, and stopping the masquerading forced vile to bubble in my stomach. It felt like a powerful vise gripped my lungs. I felt the fear and did it anyway.

I can now look back and see how much fuller my experiences could've been if I could've only fully felt the extent of what was really happening. If I could've embraced my realities instead of cohersing, editing and hiding behind the mask. And I try, while embracing this lesson moving forward, to not judge my younger self. I know she did the best she could.

As I sit with some parts of my life still ensconced within me, I know that more words and other memories beckon, aching to be released. My hope that I can soon share the fullness of my story. And I sincerely hope that in that parlaying my heritage, those very dark, inky reaches of my history, I will ease the path of another. I know with certainty that I will ease my own. Baby steps. I've still so much to share--sharing that will undoubtedly further connect me to this pulsing, kinetic human experience. I'm working up to the day when I share my entire story. All the grittiest parts.