Monday, August 3, 2015

the deepest

Let me warn you now, this is a long read.
And its not DIY or shopping or anything fun and cute.
Maybe I just lost you,
maybe some just clicked away.
Still with me?
Happy that you're here.

Where to begin?
I feel like I've started writing this time and time again,
I just never finished and never hit publish.
 Until now.
Because I think I'm figuring it out.
Let's back track a bit...
If you've been around here for a while,
or if you know me in "real" life
then you might know I've been struggling
to figure out "something"...
and I say it in quotes because just like the answer
I don't know what the exact question is.
 If you follow me on instagram you might remember
that last summer and fall
I was going "home" to Savannah every month or so.

They were whirlwind trips, 24 hours or so.
In and out to see an old friend,
a practitioner of Eastern medicine,
but oh so much more than that to me.
 Before last summer I hadn't seen her in a couple of years.
Much like most of my friends from that region,
time and distance and let's be real, children, have a way of
putting friendships on hold.
Some may flicker away like a fire that goes out,
but some hold a bit of the embers burning and can flare up
with very little effort, a little oxygen if you will.
So last June during our annual pilgrimage to the south
 I went to see my friend.
I'd held on to the thought of seeing her for months,
knowing we would be in town,
knowing how she had helped me heal so much in my life before.
She has this unexplainable but undeniable gift.
She can tell you things about yourself without you saying a word.
Even my husband, who can be quite skeptical, believes everything she says.
He was in the beginning mind you.
He's seen proof and now asks no questions.
Honestly if she asked me to walk on fire I would.
I'd be scared.
I'd talk some trash.
But I promise you now I'd do it.
I think you get it...I trust this person with my life.

 The day of my appointment my husband went with me.
We waited in the waiting area of what was a new building for her.
Some old furnishings reminded me of her old place,
where I had first started with her a decade and a half ago.
I had a lot of baggage from going through "the big D"
baggage she helped me throw from the wreck of a train
I had gotten myself on.
While we were sitting there in this new space
 I admit there was a little trip down memory lane.
I tried not to cry in front of the hubs,
mainly because I was afraid he'd think I was a complete nutter.
I held it in.
Until I saw her.
She came out with a big smile and a big "HEY NANCE!!!!"
and hugged me with a huge bear hug.
 That's when the flood gates on my eyes opened.
I'm not sure what the reaction on the face of my dear sweet husband was.
I only know how he repeatedly told me as we were leaving
that whatever we needed to do to help me feel better
we would find a way to do it.
And we did just that over the last half of last year.
On one of my quick trips last year
my friend had a fellow practitioner/student visiting.
I say student because this person (and my friend too)
are always studying, always open to learning,
always trying to be better and do better.
So my friend asks me if I would spend some time with her visitor,
maybe tell her my chief complaints, how I feel, my symptoms etc.
No problem.
Send her in, all brave sounding.
Then she comes in and I shut down like a clam.
She asks how I'm feeling, why I'm there.
I start listing my physical problems.
The list was long and ugly.
I'm laying all the physical stuff out including my foot issues
because at the time I was training for the full marathon.
This student, who was probably a good decade or more older than me,
 this stranger is looking at me.
Let me tell you it felt like she was looking into my soul.
She goes "why are you really here?"

At first I'm taken aback.
Did you not just hear the litany I just laid out?
I'm giving her this "didn't you hear me" look.
She's giving it right back.
Then, just like when I was learning how to swim at the tender age of 41
after a lifetime fear of the water,
I took a deep breath, debated internally...
and jumped.
I let out the deepest secrets...longing of my heart to her.
A complete stranger.
Its been so long that I've forgotten her name.
But in the end names don't really offense to her.
I was brave and open and honest.
That my dears is what matters.

I alluded to it when I wrote the middle.
I have to say when I go back and read some posts I've done
my favorites are when I open my heart.
Even though its hard
and embarrassing
and it just feels so open, so raw
I know if there's one person out there who can relate,
who I can spare the thought that they're alone in struggles,
well then that's what life should be about,
putting your most honest self out there
and paying goodness back into the universe.

So I lay out the deepest burden of my heart,
at least some of them,
to this stranger
which in sum could be told in one sentence...
one I used to say out loud,
to no one in particular,
but my husband would catch it sometimes and ask me
"what don't you know?"
because I was repeating "I just don't know."
Like on an old audio tape on an endless loop.

This stranger listens to me saying I just don't know,
I don't know what I should do with my life.
I don't feel like I know who I am
or what I should be doing,
or what I'm meant to do in this life.
I've gotten a degree in something I hate,
although I was good at what I did,
I never felt "good enough",
smart enough to be in that field.

When I started thinking of going back to work outside the home
a few years ago I knew it would not be into the lab.
After not following the advice I'd give any young person today...
find your passion and figure out a way to make money at it
I decided to try to do just that.
Which leads me to the story about how I trained
and got certified to teach Pilates a few summers back.
I studied with a former ballerina because of his background...
even though I didn't think he was the right one to study with.
I didn't get a good feeling from him from the start.
Sadly I wasn't where I am in life now and I didn't listen to my inner voice.
{Listen to heart people!
Its talking to you all the time.}
I studied more for this certification than I did for organic chemistry.
The final day of testing we had to teach a class.
He told us to work up a routine.
I'm such a nerd I drew a diagram with stick figures and cues in case I forgot.
I showed it to him the week before the final.
He thought it awesome.
At least he said that.
Test day came and it was soon my turn...
I'm giving cues to the students leading them through the routine I created.
In the middle of which he cuts me off, short and irritated.
And he starts berating me, asking me why I chose the order I did
instead of the classical order of Pilates himself.
I tried to said come up with "a routine"
and why would I need a routine
if I was just supposed to follow classical order?
I didn't bring up that I showed him,
physically showed him a physical blueprint of my routine.
I thought my heart would explode it burned so bad.
I held back the tears and kept on going.
We finished, me still sucking back emotions, refusing to cry in front of him.
Finally we were done and I got the hell out of there.
A fellow student also getting certified stopped me outside.
She said "you know your routine was great, right?
But it was hard.
He couldn't do it.
That's why he got mad.
Because when he teaches he's not doing it.
He's just giving instruction.
He couldn't keep up with the movements.
I think that frustrated him."
That helped the sting a little but I'd be lying if I said it didn't still hurt.
I haven't done Pilates since.
Teaching, nor doing.
Now I know what you might be thinking...
because I've probably thought it too,
like screw  skip him.
Who is he anyway?
He's a teacher who doesn't teach very well in some ways.
The same though could be said for me :)
I was looking at my notes, not my students.
Not good.
Plus I'm shy, hate public speaking and I admit it freely.
Not good again.
I share this story, one I think I've told only to two people,
because in the end its not him or what he said or how he said it
 holding me back.
It's me.
And I know it.
Getting deep in here isn't it?

What I should be proud of is that I tried something new.
I tried teaching something I knew and loved.
It was after all my former Pilates teacher of a decade
who asked me to get certified in the first place.
Right before I got pregnant with our third baby.
When I finally felt ready to get certified when he was in preschool
a lot had changed in her own life
and it didn't really work out for either of us
for me to go work with her.
Funny how you make plans and God laughs.

I don't know what I want to do career wise but
what I do know is that the only job
I ever really wanted was to be a mother.
If you're a mom then you know
once you get them through the baby and toddler years
 into the school aged years things start to change.
I thought I'd go back to work,
and by that I mean earn a paycheck,
once they all got into school full time.
Which is when, I think anyway, I started on my journey
repeating the mantra of "I don't know."

Which is how I ended up in a room with a stranger
emptying what felt like was my soul to her.
After listening to things like the above stories
that just rolled off my tongue and from my heart
I was telling this student friend of my friend
I just didn't know what to do with my life,
or what I should do,
but that
 I desperately wanted to know something.
Know anything.
Because I felt like I knew nothing.
Not where to go
or who I was 
or who I should be
or what I wanted to become.
And this sweetly, just smiled,
like this wasn't her first rodeo,
and she said,
"my dear Nancy, you are not the only person to ask these questions.
Every woman, especially mothers
at some point, but most where you are in life,
have asked the same thing."

What did you tell them to do I'm screaming in my head.
Give me something, THROW ME A BONE lady.
I need the secret solving solution to my universe.

Not so much.
There was solace in hearing that I wasn't the only one.
But no definitive answer.
She said I had to keep asking questions of myself and what I wanted.
Then I remember she alluded to something like
I already knew the answer myself.
And so my journey continued.

I went for more appointments with my friend
when we visited my family earlier this summer.
She said my energy was much better than the summer before.
True story.
I shared with her that my questions still linger though.
About my role in the universe,
what my life will become when my kids grow up
and move away
 and begin lives of their own.
I believe I have another career in me.
I know I do.
But for now I can't commit to full time anything.
Part time, side stuff definitely maybe.
I'm still trying to figure it out, what's best for me and for us.

made using quozio

I've gone through some big stuff since I wrote the middle.
Things I expected happened.
One friend got better.
Another passed away.
Our oldest niece died tragically.
I refuse to be unchanged by these things, especially by these women.
In all caps.

As much as I know I don't know
I now don't feel as lost.
Most importantly I know that these next ten years will fly by.
God willing I get that privilege.
Its hard to remember they will go fast on some days.
The old adage the days are long but the years are short rings so true.
I'm constantly reminding myself that the days of clutter and chaos
and my personal goals list that always seems to get longer rather than shorter
due to soccer, baseball, homework, day to day every day living with kids...
those days will pass by and then the time will be "mine" -
my littles will be big.

The question isn't "I don't know" anymore.
The question I'm asking myself is "what do I know?"
I'm a stay at home mom who's branching out.
My tree might be little but my roots are strong and deep.
I know I'll continue to grow and the branches will lengthen,
just as my interests and talents do.
The little birds in my nest are thriving
and right now these days
I'm all consumed with getting them ready to fly.
That day will come and I'll need to readjust accordingly.
Get the wine ready.
And the therapist.
Those things I know for sure.
What I think I have also figured out over the past year
is that I didn't think I was happy where I was in life.
I wanted to be but I wasn't sure if I was.
I was always wondering.
The answer is I'm in the middle and I'm happy to be here.
I'm happy...
and more importantly
I know it.


  1. Wow. I have so much to say; yet, I don't know what to say. Except to tell you that I AM on the other side of that 10 yr period you're talking of. I feathered the nests, became a part of theirs and mine, taught them to the best of my abilities and then let them fly. I looked up, clapping my hands off and patting myself on the back.....and then said, "What now?" I had already worked my tenure in the workforce. I raised my little chicks. Now, aren't I supposed to do something magnificent with this brand new display of time?
    Guess what I decided? NOPE.....I don't. And so, I didn't. Sure....took up some hobbies that got me involved in a leetle work here and there (photography) but in the long run, I found that I LOVED having time for me. Doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. And if I felt lazy for awhile?? So be it. I now had time for friends and travel. So I did that.
    Now, my lil chicks are bringing home the tune of 6 under the age of 6....and I'm having a ball playing with them. WHEN I WANT TO! My sons are well aware that I don't want to "do" babies anymore...but when I want to? I can. And I do.
    Bottom line I guess.....what I'm trying to that it's OK to not know what we're gonna do tomorrow. If something is meant to be as far as new career or new will just happen. It will come along. You don't necessarily have to make a plan to make it happen. Enjoy your time. Enjoy your "being". Without the worry of what if. You are so right about the next 10 yrs speeding by..........I wish someone had told me to stop worrying and just live the now.
    And by the've already won your battle by just recognizing that it IS a battle for you. Fighting the battle is waaaaay easier for us women who realize we may have one!!!!

    Enjoyed your words today. Needed them.

    1. thanks jmac :) crying my eyes out now. thanks for leaving this beautiful note...I needed to hear this :)


  2. Proud of you. I don't know you, but I'm proud of your courage. Funny, but I wrote the other day about having to work and how I sometimes envy those who don't have to work. My mother would say "always wanting what you've not, never wanting what you've got". Stick to it. It will come.

    1. hi Paige! love that quote! adding it to my me some quotes! adding you to my blog roll :) thanks for reading ;)

    2. I neglected to say that mom's quote is said in a sing-song totally annoying voice. I say it that way too :)

      Thanks for adding me to your blog roll!

      P.S. I am now the proud owner of not 2 but 4 of the cashmere-like Nordstrom sweaters you blogged about: black (Who ever has enough black sweaters?), navy (I have navy pants and never wear them -- and it's not because they're too tight for once!), red (always gravitate to red because red heads aren't supposed to wear it -- I'm a rebel, huh?), and turquoise (Am sporting it today and have had lots of compliments). Thank you!

      Hope you have a great week!

  3. Good for you for searching and questioning. Do you know how many women are in the same position and just sit in front of a TV or throw themselves into the empty cycles of lunching/gossiping/shopping for the rest of their lives? I have so many friends I want to shake to tell them to find MEANING! This life is precious and short. SEARCH . . . TRY . . . ATTEMPT!!! The journey really is the treasure, and you are well on your way into your journey.
    I speak to a few civic groups here and there, and tell them I was also searching like you, and through trying new things, I found my writing passion, and now do it for the newspaper and blog. But it isn't always in new things we find our way — often, if we look back at what we loved as a child, that's where we'll find our true happy passions.
    I hope you find fulfillment in your pathway, no matter how many twists and turns it takes!

    1. Hey Leslie Anne! thanks for sharing this...I love your writing and your blog is so lovely. I love that "search, try, attempt!!!!" man if that ain't a motto for living I don't know what is!


  4. Very well written Nancy. I'm sure every woman out there can identify. We all search at one time or another. So glad that you have found a person that truly understands you. That is a gift in itself. I totally agree with every word that Jmac said. You seem like a wonderful person and you are very smart to be proactive. Things have a way of working out.

    1. Thanks Katie :) I know its all working out the way its supposed to...I do. I'm just thankful to realize the learning lessons going on...even if it takes me a while sometimes to catch on.


  5. Nancy, I think all women or maybe even all men as well get to this point in their life. It is a blessing to have found someone to listen and to help you.

    I think in the end, you will find what you are searching for.

    Take care and thanks for being so honest. It rings a bell in all of us.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment :) I think I will too...just hoping to continue to remind myself that its not just the destination that's important but enjoying the trip as well :)



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