Season of Reflection
"Chase the light whatever and wherever it may be for you; chase it"
- Tyler Knott Gregson
I’ve heard people call the early winter before the New Year rings in “the season of reflection” … I normally just call it my season of denial as I try to push Chaco's, light cardigans and my straw fedora’s. However, there is always a first for everything. This year I’ve witnessed my first solar eclipse, tried plain sour cream alone (so gross), and I guess we can consider this my first “season of reflection” …a season of reflection that has lasted 11-months.
When my husband moved out of state for his dream job, I’ve already expressed on here the bag of mixed emotions that came with the first 8-weeks of the adjustment. Being a military wife, and survived a deployment, I wasn’t a stranger to my husband’s absence. I was a stranger though to the feeling of isolation.
I grew up as an only child. I played 80% of the time by myself in the backyard pretending I was Jungle Jane scot naked with a stick in my hand and weeping willow branches braided around my head. But 5-feet away was the most adoring parents I could have ever dreamed of. I always had friends that on a rainy day I could call. I was a part of 4-H, homeschool groups, church groups, and we explored nooks and crannies of our town and the world all the time. I never felt alone. I never felt stuck.
All through High School I was surrounded by a solid group of friends, though they weren’t the best sort, I once again never faced the feeling of completely alone. Through a horrible abusive relationship and then divorce, through moving away from my home town, and college I never truly felt alone. There was always someone who would pick up the phone and listen. Always someone who would be up for coffee, going for a drive, coming over, going out. Yet there is always a first for everything.
In the last 11-months friends have moved or faded, jobs have come to a close, babysitters have moved away, pets have moved on and the town I’ve resided in for almost 7-years found a way to start closing me out. I found myself without a church again and spending too many showers letting the tears go. Our most amazing neighbors either moved or passed away and then new neighbors moved in who have caused horrible anxiety. And then finally finding out people I’d been confiding in had been talking behind my back. All to come crashing to this exact point.
The exact point of isolation.
It is a terrifying feeling.
Finding myself isolated and caught in the hum drum of the motions of the days of the weeks of the months left me feeling desperate. But when your truly alone, being desperate does you no good, it only leads you to darker places. I started questioning my faith, my relationships with everyone, including my husband, and the worst of it all…myself. I was slipping. I found myself grasping in desperation onto bloggers and social media that I was enamored with only to find that pretending I was living a life like theirs wasn’t strong enough to hold the weight I have been carting around like a darn bag of rocks.
It wasn’t though, till I went to a 5-day workshop where I was surrounded by 12+ amazing women did I fully grasp how alone I truly had been. You can be surrounded by a million people and yet at the end of the day be alone, I am surrounded by people I know every day and I smile and say hello to…but not one of them know any of this about me, how I’ve been doing. Because when you’ve spent 11-months slowly loosing people, it’s hard to find trust and honesty again.
I’ve spent 11-months cursing this and that, sobbing in hot showers and running on too much coffee and way too little of sleep. I’ve spent 11-months lying to everyone that everything is okay. When at the end of the day and another thing hit the fan, I’d be holding the phone without a single person I could think of to call. And it’s in that moment, the most hallow of moments that you find the bottom. Where your hands can run through the cold damp earth and there’s no air in between. Every credit card, every phone call, every excuse is used up. And I laid there in the soil for a while, because falling is exhausting.
But one morning I got an email from a magazine that stated they wanted to share my photography, then another evening another magazine contacted me. Then I got contacted by a handful of other people inquiring about my work. My daughter started telling me that I would always be her best friend and my son started coming and checking on me every night at least a dozen times…each time telling me “mama I love you.” So I sat up. I sat up because that was all I could muster. But I sat up and I emailed those people back, I gave my daughter a hug and I told my son I loved him too.
I drank a strong cup of coffee and just stood outside one morning before the light came up. It was so cold I was shivering like I was having convulsions. But I stood there, enamored by the stars. I rekindled my love for orchestra and music. I started listening to less news, less Facebook. More work. Not 9-5 work. But WORK. The kind that puts the chisel in your hand and your standing in front of that block of marble and you know there’s something marvelous inside kind of work.
I kept emailing people back, I keep inching my way upwards. I keep hugging my daughter and listening to her. I keep telling my son I love him. I keep also getting shoved back down with two grandma’s who have cancer, and other life scares. But I’m not afraid of the bottom anymore. I’ve been fighting it for so long that once I got there, and just laid there for a moment. I explored that little corner of my world, and seriously debated about staying there. But the thing about me that’s probably the most honest thing…I do not hold still well at all.
Hence the website being limited currently, my lack of blog posts, and some changes to my social media (oh baby there is more to come!) I’m not holding still.
I may still be drinking too much coffee, not getting the greatest sleep and still feeling pretty solo, but there’s something about losing so much that makes your fire burn just that much hotter (as my mama always says…if you poke someone’s fire too much they’ll out shine you) and life has just taken that metal prod to me a bit too much the last 11-months.
And I know this post at the point is now rambling…but I’m a rambler and a chatty Cathy and if you’ve read this far you get 50-points to your Hogwarts house of choice…but also have probably caught onto this “rambling issue” I’ve got.
To anyone who’s felt isolation, know that you are the bravest souls on God’s green earth. For you have known the worst sort of feeling and have persevered. To those who are still here, I don’t know when it will end, but find something and hang onto that. I don’t know when I’ll be back up off the ground, but I do know that this world is currently facing some of the worst horrors and I may not end cancer or hunger, but I will not be put back 6-feet in the ground having done nothing but be depressed and hurt.
So. Next week will be my last post until the New Year, when the new website drops and if you follow me on social media you’ll see a lot of stuff changing. And if it’s not your jam, I won’t be hurt if you unfollow me. Because in this season of reflection, it took my face down in the dirt fully pulled away from everyone to finally catch on that what I do matters. 100K followers or not.
And what you do matters. Who you are matters.
Even if you’re up to your neck at the bottom. Who you are and what you do matters.