The Here and There

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This. This photo right here did it. I found an orphaned memory card and when the images started loading into my photo editor, I lost it.

I don’t remember this day.

I don’t remember him being this small. What did his little head full of downy hair feel like in my hands? When I pressed my lips to it?

I wasn’t there. I held him close, I made snacks, gave kisses, took pictures. Did mom things. But I wasn’t there. Not really.

I was somewhere inside myself and it was too hazy to see these beautiful things.

I see them now, but the emotions attached to them are skewed. They should be happy and joyful but what I remember is how dark I felt.

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But now I’m here. Laughter and hopefulness in my days. I’m present.

Not to say that I don’t still have bad days. On those particular days sadness laps at me like waves. Not enough to knock me down but still strong enough to sting. It’s okay. I keep moving. I think it gets to a point where no one wants to really hear about your troubles anymore because we all have them. No one wants to be sucked into unhappiness. So I’ve stopped talking about it.

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I am so thankful, though, to those who are really there for me. I came across this article recently and it really hit home for me. All about just being there for someone, whatever “there” is for that person at that time and not dismissing their feelings. Kind words, long hugs, texts just to see how I’m doing. Just those small gestures have kept my head above water on so many days. True love and friendship are these things- just listening, caring, and offering a bit of yourself so the other doesn’t have to trudge through the difficult times alone. But there are many times when there is nothing offered and people who I thought would be there for me have remained silent. As hard as that has been, it’s teaching me to rely on myself. My husband always says the best place to look for a helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

And so I have. I have pulled myself out of worse states than this and I know I can make it.

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I’m not bitter about this. A little hurt maybe but I’m moving on. I think it’s because I wanted so badly for something to be true and good and I poured my heart out and made myself vulnerable. I was there and I cared and I listened. When I needed these things, I felt like there was no time for me. Then a moment of absolute clarity. I see it all for what it was. Maybe there was never really anything there- just a shifting mirage. Not everything works out and that’s okay. My happiness shouldn’t depend on others, so those people are off the hook. The hardest part is letting go of an idea or an expectation you had about something or someone.

Hope but don’t expect.

I’m taking a deep breath and letting go. Opening myself up to what can be. Ready to put love out and to be there for those I care about and who care about me. To make new connections. Maybe I’ve missed something and misjudged, but all I can do is let it be and know that if it is good and real it will remain.

I’m learning what I’m made of, about myself. And although the shoulders to lean on are very much appreciated, I don’t need anyone to pity me and to hold my hand. I’m here and now I can see it all for what it is.

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The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.

-Mary Oliver

(Thanks for this, H.F. You always seem to have the right words.)

2 thoughts on “The Here and There

  1. I am glad that things seem to be better but sorry you had to learn some Tough lessons. I don’t know what is worse, keeping it in and suffering alone or putting yourself out there and still suffering alone? They both suck. I have done both. But I am glad to have done it. Because, like you, I have learned what I am made of which is more than I would have ever given myself credit for. I am more whole, more real, more compassionate and more ME than I ever was and that is pretty awesome:). Glad better days are upon you:). And I so jelly of your photog skillz!!

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