Seven years ago I was living through what I see as "The Big Three plus a subtraction" that literally took my life - I think of it as a big box full of everything I valued and was important to me - and turned it upside down so that everything came crashing to the ground.
My brother died.
My son was diagnosed with autism.
My mother was diagnosed with cancer.
The subtraction was the best friend I had waited for since I was in my teens disappeared from my life.
I lived my entire life devoted to my brother. He was born thirteen months after me and had down's syndrome. We had an uncanny, beyond language connection no one else could ever understand.
When he died, my soul attempted to follow.
My daughter watched as my soul was smashed back into my body because my work wasn't done. My head almost smashed into the steering wheel of my car but an invisible force kept my body - this carrier of my soul - safe so my work could continue.
Then my son was diagnosed with autism which started a battle with
the school district to create an appropriate placement for him. Along the way I had an educational professional come into my home and declare (while standing next to my son) "This isn't a disability, this is a brat." Another educational professional accused me of plagiarism when I offered her a report of observations of Samuel's behaviors that supported an autism diagnosis. I didn't know at the time that might make me look like I was "shopping" for a diagnosis.
Meanwhile, Samuel lost an entire semester of school he was legally entitled to, taken away from him while I home schooled him and waited.
My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. Thankfully, this was the least traumatic of the earlier two because she caught it early. Nonetheless, with the other two circumstances occuring so close by, it added to the swirling hurricane of circumstances that brought so much of what I had worked toward to a crashing halt.
Last week I realized for the last seven years I have been finding my way back to the "pre-big-three-subtract-one" me.
I had been wandering around since then, seeming as if I was on course much of the time but always in the "not quite" zone where static continued to rule much of my day-to-day adventuring.
Yes, I created stuff. Yes, I grew. Yes, I laughed and I cried and I loved and I lost and I loved again.
It wasn't the same, though, it wasn't the same wave length. If I had walked around with a personal tuning fork I would have heard the difference.
Last week I started crying again, really crying, and something in those tears reminded me of the tears from seven years ago when I wrote these words: "My soul is like a garden that needs my tears to keep it fragrant, to not let it get cracked and dried up."
Perhaps these past seven years of me not quite being me are like the persistent drought now coursing through California. My renewed tears, authentic, wildly free tears, are bringing my fragrance and my courage back to me in a familiar yet creaky-with-age way.
I re-discovered these words, written earlier in October, seven years ago.
I move all over the emotional map from fierce
protectiveness of my son to deep sadness for
the loss of what was never there in the first
place - our culturally revered "normal"
ratings - to hopefulness to tiredness to
despondency to courage to withdrawal to
I realized earlier this week the level of my
need for continued processing through this
quagmire of emotions. I can't pretend it away
or use any kind of "fast fix" for what I am
feeling. Nor would I want to do so.
I couldn't have imagined this a-ha would take seven years to marinate and cook. The tears are flowing in their renewed way and my laughter is kinder, more compassionate. I'm on the same wavelength and I've managed to integrate the lessons I've learned on the journey.
It feels bold to share this because culture will tell you how pitiful it is to have taken this long to have this awareness. I look at it differently though, at least I look at it differently now.
It doesn't matter how much time has lapsed. This is all just right, this moment is still holy and filled with grace. It is like Rachel Cohn reminds me, "We are the ticking, we are the pulsing, we are underneath every part of this moment. And by making the moment our own, we are rendering it timeless."
I am stepping back into myself, each day, and choosing to pick up my foot and put it down. Pick up my foot and put it down. Pick up my foot and put it down.
All is well, all is good, all is how it is meant to be.
Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming Fall and Winter, 2014 and beyond.
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This post is a part of the ongoing series for 31 Days challenge. I will be writing 31 blog stories about bold choices and using a bold voice...I started the challenge late so this is story 21 (rather than 23) out of 31. if you would like to read all my posts from the beginning of the challenge, simply visit here, at 31 Days of Bold Stories, Voices and Choces
The question is making sure to carve out the time and to document it all in a way you'll enjoy reading about bold choices in a most authentic, real-me voice.
I'm grateful you are reading.