Sunday, July 12, 2015

Making my self at home (#oneword365)

I've been meaning to get back to this space for weeks. I could tell you I just don't have the time but that's not the biggest reason. A few weeks ago I wrote a whole post about the fourth trimester and body-image, but the words on the screen felt disconnected from my actual experience with my body, and I left them there to rot in the drafts folder.

After nearly a year's break in my regular writing habit, the words just don't come out like they used to, nor do my thoughts. They are halting and incomplete and cliche and disorganized, both in real life and on the page.

But. I woke up one day last week feeling angry, just like the day before. And just like the day before, by midday I was on the verge of an inexplicable emotional meltdown. Then I remembered that I felt this way about this time with my firstborn (hormones most likely), and I resolved to do something about it. I hooked my toddler up with some Netflix and walked circles around the house to keep the baby asleep in the carrier while I scrawled some (mostly illegible) thoughts in my long-neglected journal.

It was in journaling that I was able to organize my feelings a little, and I realized I was feeling some tension, the tension between the desire to write and the fear of not being good enough. I've been away from writing for so long. And while it was best for a season, the thought of attempting to catch up has left me feeling inadequate and frozen.

So I decided right then and there that I would go ahead and write a post here, knowing it would be hard and a little scary and that I wouldn't find it "good enough." So what. I'm sticking it to the man (enneagram 6 anyone?). And since it's exactly half way through the year and since I've had some related thoughts swirling in my head for some time, I decided to write about my one word for 2015: homing.

Homing has mostly manifested itself exactly as I expected it would. On the one hand, there is the literal aspect, my physical home. Giving birth this year means I am obviously more connected to that space than usual, and homing is a way to give myself permission in that area, knowing that it is not permanent, but that it is okay for me to be homebound for a season.

On the other hand, there is the spiritual aspect, specifically related to my intense journey with doubt these past few years. In this area, homing is a reflection of a lot of my wrestling and thrashing finally beginning to ebb, allowing me the space to settle down for a bit. It is about discovering spiritual practices and religious traditions that feel authentic to me and that will (hopefully) carry me through the next few years.

But there has also been a third, unexpected aspect to homing, which I've only recently discovered, and it has to do with my body. If there is anything more radically life-changing to a body than giving birth, I don't know it. It changes you both physically and hormonally. Apparently some women have this "bounce back" thing, but I am not one of them. Both times pregnancy and birth have graced me with pounds and curves I have yet to erase. It is hard for most women (myself included) to accept and love our bodies on a normal day, without the added pressure of suddenly wider hips and softer bellies and the all around moreness that comes with having a child.

It is in this season that I came across these words by David Benner (which my friend Jamie shared as part of her recent #monthofthebody. Thanks, universe.) :

"Until we can be at home in our bodies, we can never truly be at home anywhere." 
And I knew right then and there those words would wreck me, that the coming home I'm doing this year has to include learning to be present in and love this one, sacred body of mine. It is hard, but I am trying. Two steps forward, one step back (and some days vice versa). Some days I marvel that my body can and is doing all this: giving birth, feeding a baby, running and holding and loving and stretching. Some days I want to curl up in a ball from the weight of (what I am led to believe are) my physical imperfections. It sounds very shallow of me doesn't it, to care so much? But it is the truth, so I am learning to accept that too.


Last week, I took a picture with my boys. I've been taking and sharing dozens of pictures of my kids and husband for weeks, but since giving birth, I have been largely and conveniently invisible. 

Just like with writing, I have been afraid, afraid even to assert my existence before it is at a level I deem appropriate for viewing. I have been avoiding my own reflection in the same way I have been avoiding my words, subconsciously, but with the nagging feeling that I am not where I should be. And so it seems my body is butting in everywhere these days, forcing me to notice it, forcing me to acknowledge its interconnectedness to every other part of me. Slowly, I am learning that the spiritual, emotional, and mental health I am after requires that I also come face to face with the body I have been given, for better or worse. 

And so this week, homing and sanity and radical self care has meant making time for writing and practicing yoga and, even when it's hard, putting myself in the frame.  


  1. I found your writing very moving - thank you for pointing me to this post . It's really hard to feel at home in our bodies. I am so glad that you are starting to do that - your photo is beautiful and not just the boys. You. x x x

    1. Thank you friend. I can't tell you how much your words touched me today. <3