Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Walk

When I was little I remember there were few things that irked me more deeply than being told to "walk it off" after I had hurt myself. It wasn't something I heard a lot, as it was never something my parents said, but rather well-meaning neighborhood parents and friends from down the street.

Once I was lying in the middle of the walkway leading up to a playmate's house, the wind knocked out of me after I had crashed down when the skateboard I was tediously riding had slipped from beneath me and gone ricocheting down the driveway. I lay there, knees bloody, breathless, embarassed and hurt, when one of my friends' older brothers came and stood over me and said, "Come on Jess, just walk it off." My heart swelled with indignation and hurt... And then I burst into tears. How DARE he tell me to walk it off? I didn't want to walk it off! What good would walking do me? I just wanted to sit here and have a good cry-- THAT would help! But my hot tears were met with no sympathy, so I picked myself up and hobbled home, where I knew my mom would be ready with a kiss and a soft hand to rest on my back.

Even now, in adulthood, I find adult-isms akin to "walk it off" continue to irk me. I'm fairly new to this grown-up thing, but it seems like so much of the attitude I see here in the upper hemisphere of age and responsibility is set on stuffing it. Don't show your cards, you'll just get taken out. Your heart is meant to be kept in a shoebox on the uppermost shelf in your most unused closet-- heaven forbid it get worn on your sleeve. Emotions are meant for stuffing-- in your soul and your spouse. Life is duty. Hurt is not for the public eye. Messes should be kept under wraps and a close guard should be kept at all times over your heart. Walk it off.

All I see is pretty grim.

Now, I'm not saying I think life should be this big free-for-all where we pour ourselves out in front of everyone we meet in the grocery store, but God gave us each other for a reason. And he gave us our hearts for a reason. "Above all else, guard your heart..." Not like a prisoner that needs close watching, but as a treasure to be kept safe. And not "buried in the ground" safe, but "living hard and fast, running on all cylinders" safe. I've been living in a near-constant state of hurt for the past year and a half. Actually it sort of swings between feeling numb and kind of okay to soul-wrenching, devastating, spirit-aching hurt. And I'm not afraid to say I haven't felt any better than that in a really long time. But I trust that if I run to my Daddy today, like I try to do every day, he'll be ready with a kiss, and a steadying hand on my broken, festering heart. I trust that if I let it all hang out to him, he'll put it all back in even better than before. Until then I'm going to sit here, healing in his lap. And then I'll start to walk.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Deep Breath

Low is low. But then you wait for the break in the fighting and take a deep breath.

Last night was dim lights, bright smiles, big plates of pasta, and lots of friends. I slept to the sound of click-clack, pitter-pat rain on my window box. And today was a day for warm kitchens and big candles... And pumpkin bread.

Tonight, Disneyland.

And I miss Momma.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


After a brief respite at home this weekend, I am back in LA. I never thought I could enjoy being on my own so much, but I do. Having my own little home, keeping it up and maintaining it according to standards I've set myself, walking around my neighborhood... It's so nice. But I have to admit for all the perks and freedoms that independence allows, recently I've started to feel the fuzzy ache of loneliness. I know that will quell once my life here becomes even more established-- working, etc-- but sometimes empty days stretch on like a long desert road in front of me with no real ANYTHING in sight.

Last Friday was the one year anniversary of the day my momma left the world. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Not easy certainly, and full of challenges completely unforseen, but not quite as terrible as I imagined. I could sigh just thinking about it-- what a relief. In these days that have followed, I feel a sense of challenge in my spirit. For the past year and a half I've been trapped in this formatted cycle of pain and grief-- every day was the one-year anniversary of something painful, something tragic, something heart-breaking... And even if it wasn't that day specifically, something terrible was coming up soon that would most likely hit my heart and gut like a ton of bricks. But as I move out of The First Year, it feels like I'm moving into new territory. Grief and pain will always be a part of my life, but now I'm no longer chained to comparing my immediate experiences with what they could have been... It feels like a whole new world, like for the first time in a long time I am moving on to uncharted territory that is good. I can't remember the last time I felt that.

Who knows, tomorrow could be wretched-- I could spend the weekend holed up in my apartment eating peanut butter and crying-- but for now my insides feel a lot stronger than they have in the longest time... And I'm so blessed.