Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Practice

Pablo Casals, one of the world’s greatest cellists was asked at 93 why he was still practicing as hard as ever. He said, “Because, I think I’m making progress.”

Some days feel like they’re falling apart between your fingers like gluten free bread.

Some days it’s hard to sort out if the pain you are feeling is from the grief bubbling back up a year later or the fresh accusations from people you love. And then your computer crashes. And you fail to prepare for an exam. And you realize that you haven’t done laundry every day and now there are 18 loads waiting for you. And you react to everything in the most juvenile way and all the things you thought you had been learning just fly right out the window. You are nine and mad and sad and want to punch everyone all at once. And your stupid phone is broken.

I completely fell apart this past week. Some would say it was a “bad” week. It felt bad, that’s for sure. People I love criticized who I am, my husband, my marriage and my parenting. It felt awful. After being shipwrecked with illness and grief earlier this year, I had righted my boat and was sailing on the wind of change. I wasn’t prepared for another storm. But it came all the same. My mast just toppled, and my sails sagged.

Rudyard Kipling’s poem If kept running through my mind.

“If you can bear the truth you’ve spoken twisted by knaves...
If you trust yourself when all men doubt you...
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you...”

But that just made me feel even worse. Ugh. I’ll never be the man Kipling suggested.

I think I’ll get Mary Oliver's line tattooed on my arm so that I can always see it.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE GOOD.

I could add to that similar lines:

You do not have to be sane.
You do not have to be mature.
You do not have to let it run off your back easily.
You do not have to keep it together.

I remember, when I was in the midst of trying to breastfeed twins and losing my ever-loving mind from the pain of mastitis and ductal yeast and potty training a two year old at the same time, I felt like the very fabric of my mind was starting to unravel. I was on the phone with the lactation consultant outside of Dave and Busters like some raving madwoman frantically begging for advice on what to do next. She just said, “I give you permission to quit. You have the tenacity of a mule. You have done well. You have done enough. It is time to stop.” She gave me a gift I was unable to give myself in that moment, the gift of giving up.

We want so badly to have arrived, finished, become. We want so badly to not do the same things again. We want to be 100% awesome and grown up and moved past all our junk. We want to never give up and be the champion.

But I’m beginning to realize that growing up is realizing we never will.

So...I fell apart. But I got up. And I think I recovered faster than I have before. And I tried not to spread my anger all over the place or respond in kind to the way I was treated. I practiced sitting with the pain.

I think I’m making progress.


2 comments:

kc said...

I love you. There's a Jewish saying (that I read somewhere)..... " I get up. I fall down. I get up again. And all the while I'm dancing...."

Keep dancing, my friend....

minteraction said...

I love this so much <3

and i love YOU!

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