Journaled Sunday June 12, 2023.
Bare Feet and Bad Knees
It’s a cool, glorious day. After weeks of anxiously waiting, a few drops of rain kiss the earth. My pocket of Michigan is scorched and withered from an unusual dry spell. This morning, that spell lifted as I sat barefoot on the patio with my kiddos. We welcomed the rain, the cool breeze, the leaves that danced with unconfined glee. Rain! It felt like I could breathe deeply again, and perhaps there is some truth to that. Smoke from Canadian wildfires has lingered over us for days and days, stinging our eyes and tickling our lungs, but it’s lifting now. Finally.
3:34 pm and I’m tucked into bed, G drifting beside me, the kiddos napping. I don’t want to move. I can’t remember the last lazy Sunday afternoon I had, or the last time I dared nap while the sun was still up. And, after a ruptured baker’s cyst this week, my achy knee is grateful for the chance to get off my feet. It hurts like hell and I deserve the chance to rest, I tell myself. Though if truth be told, I can’t bring myself to nap even now. I sleep well enough at night, though I don’t like the idea of closing my eyes and falling still while the sun still shines. Not while I have kiddos in the house. Not when there’s so much to do. And if I dig up another truth, I’m only off my knee so I can hopefully make it to yoga this week. Otherwise, I’d probably find something else to keep me busy right now.
I could certainly use more sleep, but lounging in bed, knowing all my loved ones are happy and relaxed, a keyboard at my fingertips… that’s my kind of relaxation anyways.
Mid-Sentence Anxiety Attacks
I had my meeting with the art directors. (I’ll be sharing some of my paintings in a local exhibition later this year.) It went…well. I think! It truly did I believe, though I came home and laid on the floor and cried afterwards. Even when these things go well, I just gotta burn the steam that builds. Social anxiety is part of my world. At least for now, it is. My mental “shoulds” and “should nots” and anxious dialogue catches up to me by the time I’m home. It’s exhausting, doubting every word I say, playing dumb out of fear of making someone else feel uncomfortable, wondering if I’m coming off as “unapproachable” when I’m really just overthinking everything and freaking out internally.
At this point in life, I know what’s happening and try to roll with it. At one point I couldn’t leave the house without having an anxiety attack, simply for anticipating being out and about. Nowadays I can make it through what I gotta do and unleash the pain in the privacy of my own home after the fact. (And, in a much more constructive time-frame I might add, ha.) There are still times when I shut down mid-sentence, my train of thought completely derailed, panic licking it’s chops in the back of my mind, the only word I can speak being, “uh”…
This happened during my art meeting, actually. But now when it happens, I just try to embrace it and say to people something like, “sorry, I’m really blanking. I’m nervous and have a touch of social anxiety as you can see.” And then we just laugh a bit. And pick up. And move on.
I have to remind myself that if I showed up and did what I set out to do, and I know my intentions were to uplift those around me, that’s good enough in my book. It doesn’t matter what someone thinks of me when I leave. I don’t want to let my struggles keep me from getting where I’d like to go in life, or more importantly, keep me from enjoying this precious, present moment. If I’m a little (or very) awkward along the way, so be it. At least I’m taking the reigns, and trying my best to be kind along the way. And learning, always learning. Each conversation gets a little easier, my confidence a little stronger.
My little “Princess Elsa” is awake now, singing to herself as she looks at some new minerals we’re collecting for the shop relaunch. Ro is always so unapologetically herself, dressed in layers of princess gowns and twirling to her mind’s music. Even when we’re out and about, she’s herself. Loud, happy, singing at the top of her lungs, stubborn to follow my “shhhh”.
I don’t want her to be quiet, even during those times I ask her to lower her voice, such as in the store or near strangers. I quiet her out of my own fear of being heard. Of taking up space in this world as a small woman. I know this, and try my best to learn from her and let her sing when it’s only my own projected fear of “upsetting others” getting in the way. I admire her so much, my fiery little toddler. And I pray more than anything that she never listens to those of us who try to snuff out her voice, so she doesn’t have to unlearn this behavior as an adult. Like me.
Bums Down and Chins Up
So I’ll leave you with a wish: I wish you a moment this week when you can plant yourself in bed, or on your favorite chair, or in the hammock in the yard. And I wish it to be relaxing and peaceful. I wish you can hold your head up in that moment, and find one small thing that you’ve done recently that’s made you proud of yourself. Big or small, bright or dim. Whatever it may be, I wish you can hold onto that sense of pride for just a moment as you sit in silence. Just you and your thoughts, your own validation that you are doing alright. Because even when life’s messy, that’s the best kind of validation.
Have a wonderful rest of your day,
© 2023 Samantha Burgrett
Photo: my image