non-pond.

Mostly I feel like running. I would run for days if I could. To feel the pressure of each breath, to feel that hard place in my chest beating incessantly in a way that was controlled only by the beating of each hard step, foot to pavement, and then again, and then again. Until I couldn’t any more.

Mostly I feel like running. I would run out to this pond I found once, only it reminded me of no pond I had seen before, it was really a lake with the potential to be an ocean, but the sign said it was a pond, so pond it remained, even though, if I had been consulted, I would have asked the non-pond pond if in fact it was a pond or if it felt more like a lake with dreams of becoming the ocean, or perhaps it felt like it was an ocean in hopes of being a pond, or even further, perhaps it actually felt it was a desert, despite the so obvious moisture that filled its crevices, obvious of course to those only with the benefit of seeing this non-pond from the outside, a luxury this non-pond, lake, potential ocean, possible desert never had nor could dream of ever being able to create.

I would run to this difficult to name place. Once there I would strip of myself and dive immediately deep, amongst the algae and the water plants that would have, in any other world, kept me on the shore, constricted and contained, I would brush past these plants to hit the muddy bottom of this place, pushing my hands deep within and hoping, expecting, wanting and needing to feel the earth in its nascent state, to the possible places where life begins, where life began, until that incessant beating in my chest returned, reminding me, calling me, pushing me to either go further in this task or return once again to find temporary relief in the uncertainty of all that remains above.

Mostly I feel like running. Only then can this pressure, this intensity of understanding, confusion, doubt, and truth, only then can the pressure of these items be relieved and replaced by the limitations of physical ability and desire to replace burden with burden, building of course until something has to give.

Once, while I was busy enjoying my non-pond pond a stranger appeared and asked rather innocently if I was enjoying this beautiful gulf.

I looked out as though I was seeing it for the first time.

Eventually I said yes, it is a rather amazing gulf, and I have been enjoying it quite nicely, thank you. Becoming aware that my pond, my non-pond, lake, almost ocean yet desert had been none of these things. It was a gulf. And yet it wasn’t. It was this stranger’s gulf. It was still my pond/non-pond/lake/hopeful ocean/almost desert place that I just easily gave away to also being a gulf.

That is about the amount of truth I hold.

That is about the amount of truth we all hold. If we are looking out, and there is a clear sign that says what we’re seeing is a pond, and I see a lake and you see a gulf, we both get to see our lake and our gulf. My insistence on the existence of a lake doesn’t detract or deny you of your gulf. Sometimes, in a potential universe that I hope may someday exist outside my mind, I believe in a small intersection where your seeing of a gulf and my seeing of a lake brings us both to a realization that we are instead looking at the headwaters of something grander than each of us was able to see on our own. That the existence of your truth and my truth can complement not conflict, and allow for new truths, new paths, strangers no more, allied and capable of slowing the ever charged ever energized never ending desire for running, possibly finding a moment sheathed in a time within a time where for, just a moment, the sweat tears are wiped away, and the sun, a sun that has overwhelmed me in its intensity, exists instead to provide an internal warmth and comfort. If even for just a moment.

If for just a moment I could give up the expectation that for this enormously orchestrated event to occur you must even see my lake. Should you never see my lake, and I never see your gulf, we could still get to that moment, lying in the sun, basking in a realness that can only exist when you’ve relieved yourself of the burdens of carrying your own truths, exchanged for the truths of a stranger, exchanged again for the truth of a place that doesn’t even really exist nor can be drawn on a map to be returned to again and again.

Again and again I am in pursuit of a moment, one instance of solace, a moment that will require years of work, effort, steps, timing, and all the acts of dispensing and replacing the truths that have been told in a way that honors even the un-truth truths and doesn’t allow the darkness held within these un-truths to merge with my identity, my soul, my being. And yet, my desire to separate truth from un-truth is a naiveté that must also be confronted and exchanged. Still, the potential for discovery of this moment is worth the effort involved, to uncover even a glimpse of a small space in this universe where there exists a sign that says pond but is your gulf and my non-pond/lake/potential ocean/possible desert, and we are strangers no more, running no more.

hallways.

I remember being seven. Lying awake at night. Dreaming. Wondering. Thinking. If only.

If only I were older.
If only I could make my own choices.
If only I could get through elementary school.
If only I could get through middle school.
Then I’ll be in high school.
Then I’ll be closer to college.
Closer to the first day of the rest of my life.

But back to being seven: I remember lying awake at night. I remember squeezing my eyes shut so tight that I would force tiny specks to appear, bright little lights that would shimmer and make me think I had dreamt up a magical place and this power, this ability to create shimmery specks, meant I could do almost anything that I ever would want to do in all of life.

Years went by, as they do, and my dreams changed, but the idea of a dream remained. I didn’t see my shimmer as often, and I grew increasingly uncomfortable in the waiting for my dream to come true, as if it were in queue but its number never called.

I don’t think my seven-year-old self would ever invent, understand, or imagine that a dream could be lost or unfulfilled. And yet that is exactly what happened as the courage and wonder of thoughts I had at seven faded only to thoughts of: if only. As I grew closer to if only, I grew further from that little shimmer that encouraged my desire to dream and seek the impossible.

I seldom let myself be completely honest with myself. That’s a terrible space to be in, to hang around in. A space of complete honesty. It’s a space I do visit occasionally, but if I were to spend real time there, I might start into an alarming path of unraveling, which is unthinkable, as I’ve spent the entirety of my life completely satisfied within a personal labyrinth.

Despite my desire to keep my honest self secure and hidden, I occasionally meet another who sees through my fortress with ease. I find that annoying. I tend to avoid these people.

One of those people once told me I needed to spend time alone. Well, alone, but out in the world. Does that make sense? To be alone in the world, not running errands, but being. Maybe in a restaurant, or to a concert. To those places where, traditionally, it should be group event or shared experience. Not sitting at a table with a book or journal, but just alone. Eating. Staring. BEING.

Sounds awful, yes?

It was. But this person in my life, well I saw her then and still do, as: confident, smart, and independent. And amazing, generally. Qualities I wanted and desperately ached to call my own.

I completed the task and it was grueling. I have complete unease, distrust, and skepticism about time spent in solitude or any time spent not on (a) task. It doesn’t matter what the task might be. It could be scrubbing grout, or cataloging spices and their expiration dates. It could be pulling weeds. Painting a room. It could be reading or re-reading a favorite novel. It could be writing. It could be cooking. It could be making lists for future tasks. I have complete comfort in the doing of all these things and even doing them alone. But it would be something. It wouldn’t be idle. It wouldn’t be just being.

And yet, I have finally opened the door just wide enough to my honest space self to know, really know, and accept and welcome, that this is one of my burdens to bear, and hopefully, eventually, overcome and love and squeeze-hug ever so tightly, this concept, this ability to (just) be.

—–

The weight of decisions overwhelms me. Sometimes to the point of inaction, but usually to the point of overexertion and overthinking. I fervently want my life, my path, my career, my family, myself to be on the right trajectory, I’m concerned only with outcomes.

And the space between those outcomes? That is my personal misery. That is where I fall apart. Over question. Over process. Over think. Over do. That is where my sea of if onlys begins to swell in infinity and I lose any ability to BE.

And yet, that is where I need to be. I need to be in between outcomes. I need to be in that ocean. I need to be in that state of not yet there and no longer where I was before. I need to be okay in the in-betweens,
in the hallways.

It’s the hallways that matter.
It was in one of these hallways that I became a mother.
A thinker. A musician.
A friend.

I’ve avoided the hallways, quickly hoping to duck into the next door, hoping it would be THE door. Any answer, THE answer. Desperate for the relief that this door might hold my path, my yellow brick road, my calling.

All these years of rushing through the halls and I’ve finally realized: this is where life is lived. Where joy is found. Where love is had.

It’s the hallways that matter.
The more time I spend in preparation, the more courageously I can open and enter and choose not to knock on just the next door or any door that I find. Hallways are where I meet others, learn of their experiences, learn about the lives they’ve had behind the doors they’ve ventured, packing their experiences and lessons into my bags as my own, as I continue on, forge ahead.

Hallways are where, if I allow it, I can understand that the door I have just left, was not wrong, but was just next. Next on a delicate path that only asks from me to be on it. To be aware of it, embracing it, and finding the joy in its space, so that I might be closer to propping open the door to my honest space. To begin to live in it, dwell in it, explore it, and BE within it.

Will there be another door? Almost certainly. Hopefully. But until then, I’ll be in the hallway. Singing, writing, creating, playing, laughing. And finally, oh-so-finally loving every minute of just BEING in it and rediscovering the shimmery specks left there by my seven-year-old self.