Iâ€™ve been shy here, lately. Perhaps dodging myself a bit. Not really sure how to pick up where Iâ€™ve left offâ€”Iâ€™ve been so sporadic with posting latelyâ€”yet I really am missing the regularity of sharing moments and comments. Iâ€™ve been fragile this winter.
For the first time since November I felt like I could breathe in again this past week without anxiety fraying the weft of my heart. Miraculously (maybe) or intentionally (with great effort) Iâ€™ve stopped feeling like if the world will clatter to a halt around me: a mess of splintered parts if I stop doing everything I do for a split second.
Depression, however fleeting, put me right up against the edges of things: the tattered cuff, the broken branch, mud-spattered snowmelt at the edge of the road. It stained my heart ashy, the color a clouded sky turns after dark.
Not something I was used to, wide awake at night, each day starting out with tight breath and tears close.
I think it had something to do with the fierce longing that I have so often voiced, that eats away at me like a smoldering fire if Iâ€™m not careful. A longing to be both here and somewhere else: making a homestead, doing the exact opposite of that (whatever that may be.)
It also had to do with the fact that I was feeling imbalanced at work: I was giving too much, yet not willing to give it. Lately Iâ€™ve been feeling less depleted there: allowing myself to focus thinking critically about learning, and children; somehow honing this as a craft.
Perhaps this was what was hardest for me: reconciling the fact that I am still a teacher even as I long with my whole being to be able to write full time. I let myself start hating my work simply because it was the thing that was stopping me from doing the work I was yearning to do. It almost felt like a betrayal to dedicate myself to my work at school, not that that rationally makes any sense.
I realize now that really I was making myself bitterly unhappy because everything in my life was skewed. I resented my work, and myself for doing the work, and this resentment had a corrosive quality like salt and lemon juice. Everything felt scoured and sour. I felt inadequate as a writer, without enough hours in a day, and that inadequacy burned a hole in the very center of my creativity.
Recently, gradually, Iâ€™ve been letting myself sink back into the small fragments of my life, not yet whole the way I wish it could be, but certainly a mosaic as it is. I started doing some running again, down our mud slicked road with grooves down the center six inches deep. I started painting. And I got word that Iâ€™ll be teaching second graders next year which excites me. I like teaching older kids. I love watching them become thinkers, with writerâ€™s notebooks and organized work spaces, and I like them more than I like the younger ones who need so much reminding about things like nose blowing.
In the end I keep saying it was the winter, and I keep feeling like since the arrival of the first mellow (if not warm) days, my mood has evened out and Iâ€™ve become more peaceful. But I cannot say for sure. What is it really that ever makes us sad? I donâ€™t think it can ever be defined entirely by the narrow perimeter of the weather, or for that matter a job or another human being. Somehow, achingly, each arrow of sadness is drawn from the sheaf of our own unquiet soul.