So, here is my second attempt at responding to “Ill With Want.” I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote, and guess what? I feel better. MUCH better.
So there is a reason why I chose to safely tuck away my first response to the song, “Ill With Want.” I realized soon after posting it that it just wasn’t quite time for it to be written. Not all things were exactly ready to be cosmically connected.
Before I was ready to REALLY write this piece, I had to have a good soul-mending talk with my friend Valerie about life and our purpose and all the potential we have to be awesome (insert LOL here). I needed time to read the book she lent me, Life is a Verb, and see that I am not the only one wondering why THIS (moment, life, cheeseburger, pair of jeans, amount of money, relationship, etc.) just doesn’t seem to be ENOUGH.
And it’s not that it’s never enough, it’s just that I want it ALL and I want it now. I want every bit of happiness, beauty, and perfectness out of every possible moment. I want to have as much of this good, luscious life as I possibly can, before it’s all gone. And if things don’t feel happy, beautiful and perfect at the time, I’m out looking for it somewhere else.
When it took me over a year to get pregnant I ended up spending hundreds of dollars on designer jeans. I thought that somehow it would make it all better if I just had really pretty jeans.
Well, it didn’t.
(But it is my story.)
When that didn’t “fill me up” I realized I just needed to love and nurture something so I begged my husband for a puppy. A few months later I had Henry in my arms, an adorable, cuddly, black bear of a Labrador Retriever.
And within a few weeks I was dead set on getting another puppy…immediately. It wasn’t that Henry wasn’t enough for me to love, but I wanted MORE; more to love, more to enjoy, more to cuddle and hug. I know I loved Henry with all I had, and didn’t neglect him for hopes of something newer and cuter (because he was pretty darn cute) but for some reason my brain couldn’t be satisfied with just him. I needed MORE of him.
And soon after Annalee (my pride, my heart, my soul) was born, I told Ben I was immediately ready for another baby. It was like my heart couldn’t handle all the love and awe and beauty it was holding. I thought if I had another right away I could somehow make room for it. That may not make any sense, and it’s very hard for me to explain. I guess I just loved her so much that I wanted more, more, more, of her. I now realize that I can let my heart love her wholly and completely without fear, and when the right time comes, my heart will open up and expand and allow me to love another baby just as much (at least that’s what all the other moms tell me).
In “Ill With Want,” The Avett Brothers say, “The more I have the more I think I’m almost where I need to be. If only I could get a little more…” I’ve blamed my longing for “more” combined with a splash of impatience and a pinch of perfectionism on ADHD, anxiety, depression, and just pure spastic-ness. I’ve tried everything from yoga, and meditation to medicine and as I listen to the words, “I need for something, now let me break it down again. I need for something, not more medicine,” I am haunted in a way that I don’t feel comfortable admitting. But, I have to wonder: what would happen if I ever let go of this heavy weight that I seem to be carrying? Would I still be me?
Before I was ready to REALLY write this piece I had to meet a sweet little girl selling beautiful necklaces, hand-stamped leather bracelets and meaningful cards that were just perfect for Valerie and my “purpose-of-life-clarity-conversation.”
And, before I was ready to REALLY write this piece I needed to stumble upon this quote typed simply on said sweet little girl’s hand-made stationary before it could all made sense.
“Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.
~Mary Jean Iron
Ahhh, yes. This is what I needed for it to all cosmically connect.
So, as I reflect back on what I first wrote, I know there are some truths, but I also know I didn’t really relay them in the way I had hoped. I fear my first blog post (which only you lucky RSS feed readers got the privilege of seeing) came off as tragic, and sad, which is soooo not me (at least I hope). I think it may have come off as me being depressed and unhappy and unsatisfied with my life. Maybe I am a little BLAH at times, and maybe I don’t always appreciate what I have, but I certainly hope I don’t run around town pulling at my hair and acting all angsty like Kristen Stewart playing Bella in Twilight. I think what I was trying to say was while I may not be “ill with WANT” anymore, I am definitely still struggling with living in the MOMENT and appreciating it for whatever it may be; the good, the bad, the ugly, and by god, the NORMAL. (eeek!!)
One of my biggest fears has always been mediocrity and the fact that I ran across that quote is a pure blessing.
Normal day…Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
So you’re telling me it’s okay to be normal? I don’t have to live in Italy or go on African safaris or be Oprah, or publish a book or own a (real) Gucci purse to be happy?
Well, shit. I’m glad someone finally filled me in because for some ungodly reason I’ve wasted too many years living in the world of Seven jeans, white teeth and perfect pink toenails rather than that of a woman who is happy with the simple treasure of a hand-tooled leather purse, and chipping nails, not to mention teaching a kid how to write a metaphor, making a homemade meal for the man she loves, rocking her baby to sleep and writing half-way decently about life.
Yes, there may be ten weeks worth of magazines stacked on my coffee table, dog-hair piled in my corners, and an overflowing mess of headband making materials on the kitchen table, but it is mine. Is it all perfect? No. But it is a treasure. My treasure. Our treasure.
In Life is a Verb, the author, Patti Digh, had her AHA! moment when looking out the window into her backyard amid picking up Cheerios and cleaning maple syrup off the kitchen floor. She saw the “orange and yellow lilies and happy zinnias and Tessie’s bright shoes and swing set and the little red plastic chair on the deck outside” and thought in a sudden rush of emotion, “I have everything I need. I don’t need anything else, ever.” She then proceeded to list all the fun things such as heart-shaped Teflon waffle makers and, my personal favorite, little yellow doggie raincoats (which I have actually bought) as things she no longer needs. “No more making lists of things I ‘need’—I’m done, I’m happy, I’m eschewing materialism once and for all.”
Yessssss…. how good would that feel? Sometimes I think that is what all of us moms/women/people are looking for. That moment of clarity as if to say, “Hey, it’s okay. This is pretty darn good.” (Maybe that’s where all those “Life is Good” stickers came from? They must have read Patti’s book).
She went on to reveal, “When I saw those little-girl shoes in the green grass, one sock nearby and the other one gone to Sock Heaven, the spark of color in those blooms, and the blue, blue sky, what I felt was a sense of satisfaction, even in a toddler-screamathon syrup-on-the-floor kind of day. It was enough. I simply felt full, satiated, complete, engaged.”
“I was fully attentive in that moment. I was saying a big yes to my life—to all of it, the zinnias in the sun and the syrup on the floor.”
It’s my motto: “Live in the moment, and make it beautiful” in real-world terms.
And in an even more genius move, Patti next wrote, “What keeps us from being fully attentive, from saying yes? I think it’s all the stuff we carry around with us.”
In college I read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien. He wrote, ‘They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.’ I think each of us carry all we can bear, including the innate knowledge that we may never part with that which haunts us.
And years ago I wrote, “We all have something we must overcome, but somehow never really want to let go of.” Mine is written in these pages, hidden in this 2,000 word manuscript, and maybe, just maybe, the more I write, the more I let go of what I carry and say a big YES to my life.
Instead of pining away for “more” beautiful, “more” good, “more” happy, “more” babies, “more” puppies, and sometimes yes, “more” money and material things, I will make an effort to remember that what I have is just enough…actually way more than enough.
I have a beautiful life. It is good, and happy. I have everything I have ever wanted, including my soul mate, a healthy daughter, an protective puppy and a charming old home with black shutters and a bright green door.
I try hard to drink all of this in daily and never take it for granted and writing helps me to remember. Some days I feel lost and unsure, confused and sad. But on those days I must look back on this piece and know that whatever THIS is…
…this writing, and sharing, and connecting, and reflecting and realizing…
THIS is what makes me happy.
And that is all that matters.
PS- Talk about cosmically connecting. Read Kelle Hampton’s blog from yesterday. LOVE it (like always!).