I worry about being "to"; to big, to strong, to bright, to much. I like to believe I am comfortable in my own skin, but really, I am not.
I heard about a youth Slam Poetry competition here in town and I knew I wanted to take my daughter. I wanted my her to experience a place where kids express the hurt and anger and sadness and rage they are feeling. A place where no one tells them to be quiet or tone it down or make it pretty or palatable. A place where no one tells you to edit out the ugly parts. An outlet where you are encouraged to express what is going on, what you are feeling, how you feel in technicolor and with a blur of demonstrative hands.
I love the build up and fast pace and the escalating volume of power of pushing your words out from that sacred place where our souls resides. I held my breath as I took in each story, unable to really believe that these children could deliver so much emotion and tragedy without doubling over in pain. I wanted to rush the stage each time they finished to wrap them up in all of the love and peace I possess.
I didn't. But their friends and family did.
It was comforting to be in a tiny space full of feelers.
Even having found my tribe of women, I still feel like sometimes, most of the time, I am just "to much." It was energizing to be surrounded by so much accepted and anticipated emotional energy.
On our way home from the Poetry Slam, my daughter selected some sad moody ballads to keep us in that lovely emotional space. I love singing as much as I love writing. I am a loud singer and normally try to keep it under wraps when I sing with my daughter because she hasn't found her voice yet. She is a very timid, uncertain singer.
It was then, that the ugly thought surfaced. I was being too big, stealing the show, taking the lead. I throttled it down to allow us to sing as a complimentary duet, so as not to overpower her. Then I felt it, a flash of memory. When I was a child, my mother helped me find my singing voice. While I should have spent the rest of my childhood singing harmony with my mom and my sister, that is not the hand we were dealt. Adolescence ushered in the big hush or the time of silence in my life. Don't speak about what is going on at home. Don't trust anyone outside of our family. There were so many years where I sang, alone.
I started writing poetry when I was my daughters age. I had so much pain and anger and disappointment and fear and sadness and loneliness that I did everything possible to numb myself so I could get through each day. And as I was never quite certain if I would make it to the next day, I wanted to document my pain. Poetry was a vital emotional outlet for me.
My sister and I would both be grown mother's of our own children before we found our harmony. Now, when I sing with my sister, there is never a moment of holding back, from note one, it is 100 percent pure full on emotion. Everything is left on the stage.
I want my children to see that it is not only acceptable, but beautiful to give all that you are into each day; to live and share every last bit of emotion you can wring out of this one and only lifetime we are given.
So instead of toning it down, I need to remember to show them how much better life is when you live and share your passion. Even if your gift is merely being a story teller.
I get up each morning before the sun and open the the blinds as an offering to the Sun god that if he will allow the sun to shine and spill forth in that too bright, too intense glow, that I will stop in appropriate gratitude and soak in all the warmth.
All winter long, I open the blinds and wait. I stand very still, eyes closed, holding my breath, waiting. Nothing happens day after day. Just me standing in the dark and deathly silence.
There will be a morning, a very sunny morning, where the birds are literally chirping their heads off to get me to notice that spring is arriving. After so many mornings in the dark, one morning, I will look over at the window to fuss at them to be quiet and will notice the streams of sunshine reaching out to me in my chair.
Today was that morning. I opened the blinds and stood still. Through my closed eye lids, I could see the sun shining and I could feel the glow and I then exhaled loudly. I ran outside to feel spring and to take a photo of my favorite tree, the squirrel tree!
Everything happens so fast from here. I will look out the window in just a few days and their will be buds on the lilac bushes that are that marvelous shade of new green and then magically the grass will wake up.
There are so many days when I don't feel like getting out of bed, that I can't bring myself to soldier on in the darkness. Then the morning comes and I am filled with such peace, knowing I have made it through the worst of it, again.