this is a project that has been burning a hole in my heart. we all sing our pure and shaky and earnest songs, to ourselves, our kids, our pasts. we sing because we need to hear our voices out loud, because it gets lonely sometimes, because it hurts, because the joy cannot fit in our bodies. mothers are always and never alone. i want to focus on the never part. i want to hear the voices together. i want to start a chorus.
i cannot think of a time when i truly had my balance against the earth turning. zigs and zags, stops and starts, the purest waterfall flow and then a smack against my cheek. things change that fast. like an accident, like a surprise. i wear the maps of lines on my face, and they must become me. this new me who is all becoming. change is not a choice. i know how to fail and fall like i find my next breath. the magic mirror of time must keep me honest even on the days i might soar. because change carries memory on its back. no one knows what is coming, but we see all the stories along the way, the marks in the door frame, the regret in lines between our eyes. in all the worrying life into order, i became the bee’s wing that might float away from any sort of trouble, my roots wisps into thin air.
and then there was them. the way they came to me was fraught with changes, juxtapositions braided into one thread. the joy of pregnancy and hundreds of tumors in my skin, along my spine, wrapping their way around the love that grew like new threads of muscle. the frailty of this body dancing around me like smoke, and around them, their futures, that fifty percent that haunts me so much this is the first time i have written it. all the beauty and fears finding a new song to sing, in an upside down, twisted liberation from all the mirrors that used to snag me. free and in mourning of that twenty two year old self, picking apart the kind of youth nothing can touch. wasting her time. waiting to know it. without the terror and love of the deep end that is motherhood. writing plays i lived out, too many scenes for the stage, pain without context. new days, new worlds, a book of short stories, u-turns. hoping the big one will not come and take it all away.
their stillness is kinetic. the tides are moving out. i cannot spare them from it. i have even invited it in. a new home, a new place to root, the kind of starting over that hinges the world. the kind that life so graciously allows some of us, when shells get too tight. this will not be our first time changing everything, or our last. but the way i see them is the change inside me. the person who needs to get up off the floor and look happiness in the eye. i would give my right hand, my best memories, for a crystal ball made especially for this girl and boy. because as their story crosses again into mine, we are all without gravity for now. we will fall or fly, or do both, this collective we, the shape of us, always fluid, permeable, the world entering without invitation. i want to celebrate it if i cannot carve it in stone.
“Things do not change; we change. ” – Henry David Thoreau
inky swirling thoughts on repeat in my head,
a chest squeezed so tight with the heaviness of being.
everything spinning out of control, so fluid, changing, leaving me breathless.
the tidal wave of new on the horizon,
do i turn around and run,
try in futile measure to stop the waves
or stretch my arms out wide and my eyes in wonder and embrace the changes to come.
Raising a child is like one long season of change. This season of summer we are living right now, just on the cusp of kindergarten, feels like a big shift. Next summer even the word summer will have a different meaning. Change could not be more on my mind these days.
I like change; sometimes exciting, sometimes terrifying, usually somewhere in between, change is a phenomenon I’ve enjoyed throughout life. But the change that comes with witnessing an infant grow into a toddler, and a toddler grow into a little person, a person who will one day function completely independent of you, well that kind of change comes with a confusing emotional cocktail of heartbreak and profound contentment. And that’s where I’m at every day of this season of change for us. Our long and lazy summer days have felt bittersweet. I love them, I savor them, but there is a tightness in my gut when I think about where they are leading us, and the changes that are on their way.
We are not like most, it is all we have known, it is who we are. Our lives are a continuous cycle of changes. Never ending waves of presence and absence that fill our hearts and then disrupt our sleep. They are the structure that keeps us sane and the chaos that sets us free. These transitions teach us to believe, to love and to trust beyond anything I ever imagined possible. It is how we live, for us, for them and for something greater than we can understand.
I’ve been quiet of late.
The world around me was getting loud and everyday it was getting louder and louder.
Then one day it was screaming at me.
It wasn’t always this noisy. In fact, only a few short months ago, I thought the world outside my inner circle was a seemingly peaceful place, if you looked in the right places. I see now that it is the choice to look only to the blue sky with hopefulness that leads to the quietness that lives in your heart, a quiet that happily spreads throughout your days, making laughter effortless and sleep come easy . It is also a quiet that can make you naive and vulnerable. It was a quiet that I took for granted, because suddenly, everywhere I looked there seemed to be Noise of one kind or another: Hateful words. Jealousy. Secrets. Lies. My security blanket had been unceremoniously ripped off, leaving me shivering and cold, and I had to search hard to see my blue sky.
I needed to switch off from the world that lives in my computer and in my phone. From the white noise that I had never noticed before now. From all the things that I try hard not to see, but was now finding hard not to see past.
I needed to be reminded of the important things that are in front of my eyes everyday.
Beautiful, amazing, breathtaking things that are quiet, and easily taken for granted.
Unassuming, soft, peaceful things that were being drowned out by the ever increasing noise.
I desperately needed to go back to these things, for when I looked up from the noise after a only few short months of listening to it, I was horrified to see they had changed and I hadn’t noticed.
I needed to go back to creating without fear of judgment or conformity. To let my days run their own course, knowing that I put everything I have into making it a sunny place for us to be in.
So thats what I did. I switched off the noise. It was as easy as hitting the ‘off’ button. Then I inhaled slowly. I breathed in the goodness around me, and let it flow through me. I reminded myself that the world I wake up to every morning is beautiful and amazing and incredible, and that I created it. It defines who I am and who I want them to be. I love it with my whole heart, but most importantly, it loves me too.
And in the end that’s all that matters.
And even though the noise isn’t as deafening as it was, I am forever changed for having heard it loud and stinging in my ears. It left a small scar in my heart reminding me to proceed cautiously, but I think that some changes in your world are preceded by confusion and disharmony. I have the choice to be consumed and defined by it, or to silence it with a noise of my own creation.
“Profound changes are imminent in the ancient craft of the beautiful”
Last night I had dinner with my childhood best-friend. She is someone who has known me my whole life. She knows where I come from. She knows my story. But life has kept us separated for the last 20 years. It’s amazing to sit with someone like that. Someone who knows you so well, but who also, due to distance and time, can see the changes you yourself forget to notice. It reminded me how change can sneak up on you. It’s not about one thing, or one choice. It’s about all of it. A deliberate but slow evolution that has turned me into the person I am today. It’s the fun part of growing old. And it makes me look forward to what the next 20 years will bring.
It’s not that I have a love of change that keeps me going; no way! A huge part of me fears it, or is at least wary, but it’s the fear of the opposite of change, the fear of stagnation that pushes me – it pushes me to keep growing, evolving, moving, in both a physical and emotional sense – there is always something more to be learned, or seen, or experienced. Changes can be forced or chosen, but must always be welcomed, for even through life’s tragedies, something good grows. This is what I tell my children, this feeling pushes me to bring them up knowing that change will always be a factor in their life, that learning to adapt is a life skill I consider necessary for our family, individually, and as a collective. We have our constants, and they are us, but the rest, well, that’s open to change… and flow and evolution. That we won’t settle long enough to become stagnant, to fester into mediocrity, we will change, and we will look out for it, and we will welcome it, and seek it, through the lingering fear….
Change is like a wave that rushes over you. Often it’s exhilarating, bringing fresh perspectives, teaching you to look at life differently. It can be a fun adrenaline rush, pushing you to new places, making you feel alive with heightened senses…but like most good things in life Change has a dark side. Sometimes it knocks you down and tosses you about. Even crashing you into the rocky bottom, scratching you, and disorientating you so much that you don’t even know which way is up or down. Oh Change, I embrace you with arms wide open even when you knock me over because when I get back up I have a new appreciation for everything around me….
I have always known you. A strong soul you entered my life and filled it and I loved you with all I had, with the kind of love I never knew. Dependable, constant. And i knew you but you still surprised me as you grew with new interests, strange ideas, quirky wit that rang true. Always the same. Always changing.
Last year the wheel turned again and the wind changed, but it was not a kind one. A shadow was cast as you stepped away from me, out of focus and with it came an anger. This flame burned quietly in the background, quick to spark and burn brightly. You hid away and became a stranger. Along with the expected hormones and burts of growth crept in despair, slowly, quickly. After a while it made its mark in your heart. And on your forearms.
I think myself a strong person, emotionally hardened, no chinks in my armour. But with you my dear there are great gaping holes and the pain of not being able to reach you was so hard i didn’t think i could endure it.
But the wheel has turned again (it always does you see). The shadow is slowly passing over and a new wind has sprung up, this one more gentle and sweet. The sun sometimes shines on your face. You have stepped a little closer, a little more in focus and i can almost see you clearly again. My stranger. The one i have always known.
Octavia E Butler said “All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is change”. My view of change has been drastically altered this week. Perspective always seems to strike when you need it most. When I started to write this post a few weeks ago it was about the pain I had experienced moving to a new city a year ago. It pales in comparison to the pain I have watched unfold before us in the news this week. I have learned to embrace the changes we have been through as positive ones instead of dwelling on all of them as negative experiences. As a mother, my most important job is to shield my four beautiful little people from as much pain and sadness as possible. It is my job to point out all of the beautiful things in our world and let their sense of wonder and imagination take over. On a recent trip to my hometown I watched my daughter stare out of a ferry window. Her hair was blowing out of the side that was open and the sun was setting in front of us. She was taking it all in. It wasn’t her first time in the city or her first time seeing skyscrapers and taxi cabs but it was her first time seeing it as a five year old. She is changing and maturing. She is growing more inquisitive and thoughtful each day. She is fearless and happy and I would do anything to keep her that way. I worry about the world she will live in when she is my age. It is my great hope that her generation will be able to make the changes that we need to become a safe place for everyone who lives here. Changes we have not yet been able to make ourselves. I want her to live in a place where everyone is loved and equal. I struggle with why this seems to be such a tall order these days when the solution is so very simple.
– Kelly Carothers
Changes are undeniable. Impermanence is real.
Our life is a sequential series of different moments, all woven together.
Life changes continuously, from moment to moment.
And like waves in a sea, each moment is not the same.
Thus, changes and impermanence are the undeniable truth of our existence.
What is real is the existing moment.
Do not regret growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many
~ Author Unknown
As a woman in her forties, it’s harder than I imagined to grow old gracefully. Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who is looking back at me. Could that middle aged woman possibly be me? The firm skin of youth gone. Eyes tired. Frown lines present and accounted for. I didn’t fully appreciate my youthfulness until I see it slowly slipping away, but that’s the nature of youth isn’t it? Instead of wallowing in what is lost, I choose to embrace what is ahead, saggy skin an all! I’ve always been a ‘glass is half full’ kinda person, and change is good right? But let me be clear, if I ever find the fountain of youth, I will be the first to dive in!
Living the transcendent roller coaster, feeling the wind of the world continuously whistling through us, it’s been a flurry of hectic craziness that takes us up and sweeps us along. Sometimes at a pace that makes us gasp, as we try to swallow all of the sweet air that life has to offer. And other times, during the lull, we’ve been able to pause for a while, observe, taste, and savour our surroundings before the inevitable momentum catches up with us once again. But to be in it, to truly be present and vibrant means to jump into life like I’d never had imagined. Different spectrums of consciousness, little multi faceted sound bites of experiences and opportunities all bound together and tied up with ribbons of hope and wonder.
Some said we were crazy, moving again so soon. Some said they didn’t believe in our story. But to them I say: have you lived our life, have you walked in our shoes, seen what we’ve seen, been where we’ve been? To watch my children develop, learn and grow as they’ve sampled country after country has given me the strength to pack every box, load every van, and continue their education of change. It’s something that rolls over us every few years, it takes us to places that I used to dream of. Sights, sounds, and smells that will be forever connected to the memories that they trigger. Bringing the exotic and different into the familiar has meant bridging the gap between strange and usual. Finding a niche in every land has broadened those little minds that I love so much, it’s allowed them the freedom to explore geographically and emotionally.
I don’t know how long we will be here, in the lull, getting acquainted with another of life’s exotic and different. But I know that this is not the end of our story. Not by a long shot.
Its the only sure thing. The one constant in life. A life lived too sporadically. A single moment can change everything. For better, for worse. Embrace your beloveds.
it was hard to admit, even to myself, in the months leading up to your arrival that i was scared. afraid that i would never be able to love you the way i loved your sister, worried that the awesome dynamic of our little family would be disrupted, nervous that everything was going to change.
and then you were here. and in that moment, i immediately loved you in a way i had never loved your sister, and immediately loved your sister more than i ever had before.
at once, nothing was the same.
and that was good.