I like to move.

The boys in motion

I don’t know if it is hormones, onion layers or simply human nature. There is no question that I feel more resolved and more peaceful today than I ever have. And now, even in those crazy moments, I know I can talk myself off the ledge and find my way through those moments of deep despair. Yet as much as I feel healed, the more layers I peel away, the more I see how deep my wounds really are.

To the bone they go.

And as I read back on the words I have written, I read through years of patterns, patterns and cycles. I read years of hurt and I read years of hope. Somewhere along the way, I figured all of my many written and processed words would eventually heal me. I know the moment. It was during college. It was warm, sunny and I was walking north on University Avenue, really far north, way past campus, and because I did not have a car and because I liked to walk, I was walking the three miles each way to my therapist’s office. As I walked and in a warm and sunny moment, I really believed that if I worked hard enough to get to those moments, that when I arrived, magically I would be healed forever.

Not so.

Sure, I most definitely feel better. I also feel older and yes, I feel like my experiences have taught me a thing or two. I know by now that loud fidgeting done by others will always bug the crap out of me. Dave says my intense irritation is because I have this one condition where the affected cannot tolerate certain repetitive sounds. He is correct. Repetitive noises do annoy me, diagnosed condition or not. I also know that if I see a piece of cake, especially cake that I am not allergic too, I will be hard pressed not to eat the entire piece and if I do not eat it, I will think about that yummy piece of deliciousness until the moment it is gone or in the freezer. Seriously! I will.

Sadly, or maybe it is just life’s journey, I now realize that my words will repeat, my stories will change, yet will really mean the same as my feelings travel deeper, each time something or someone pulls the trigger. I know this because I believe my relationships, specifically the relationships with the family I was raised in and possibly the family I married into has a way to go before they are healed. And because these families are so much a part of who I am and who I want to be, until we heal, my words, their words, private, texted, blogged about, written or spoken out loud will ooze through the rotten flesh of our hidden sorrow. Until we learn to let go, forgive and allow ourselves to heal, we will be stuck. I believe we will feel hurt, assume the worst and see the worst until we accept the best. It’s just how it goes.

Brenda and me

Thankfully my sister, Brenda (my biological sister), and I have been taking tiny steps year after year phone call after phone call, visit after visit to arrive at this very cool place, a place where we can disagree, love, listen, and a place where I know she always has my back. Brenda believes in me. Truth be told, even when things were rocky, Brenda believed in me. She always has. Brenda knows my heart and accepts the fact that I am very different than the rest of my family (except my grandma Koener). And oddly, I am different because I have always been the one who cannot sit still. Even crazier, I really think I am the one in Dave’s family who cannot sit still either. I cannot believe how long his family can sleep, when given a chance, or how they can read for hours and hours on end. I envy their ability to be still. Sadly, my inability to sit still has caused a lot of pain and misunderstanding. It is often assumed that I would rather be anywhere else than with my family. Maybe true [wink wink], but really it is the simple fact that I need to move. As soon as stir craziness sets in during a visit to my in-laws, nothing calms my soul like a quick trip to Whole Foods. When I visit my mom, I often try to talk her into a lunchdate or to meet me at Target, where we can walk the aisles together. I like to walk. I like to hike. I like to talk. I like to move. When one sister is content to spend endless hours and days in my kitchen dicing, slicing and blending raw food after raw food, I think my head may just explode. I know my kitchen is large and if I am in my kitchen, I do not want to be there long. When family comes to visit and wants to sit and admire the beautiful aspens, I have about five minutes before I want to admire something else. It is not personal. I like to move. Thank goodness my mother-in-law likes to get out and walk too. I want to move and even from far away, Brenda (and my mom) know I am probably walking up and down our stairs as we talk. Thank God she loves me for who I happened to be.

When Kyle was in the hospital, every waking and when-I-was-supposed-to-be-sleeping millisecond was spent caring for him. Caring for him so intensely distracted selfish-me from that small, dark and very sad hospital room. There were so many moments I felt like a deer in headlights, trapped and suffocated. If it were not for my deep, extremely deep love for that boy, I would have bolted. Ask Dave. Ask my mom. Ask Brenda. They know me. They know how hard it is for me to sit still. When I am backed against a wall, I want to scream. When I am trapped in a small room, I want to claw out my eyes. When the world fights to take away my little boy, I want kick someone’s ass, I want to throw something. And after spending hour after hour, day after day, second after second in the hospital and then at home with my very sick boy, my very sad and confused boy, my boy who was tethered like a Kevlar chord to my soul, I realize that I am still not breathing.

Spinning

Sure, I am alive and I am breathing, but it has been a very long time since I breathed one of those really deep cleansing breaths. If I were to attempt a Yoga Breath, I promise you would hear me fail. After my Gallbladder surgery, the surgeon chastised me. “I hear crackling noises in your lungs. Your breaths are not deep. That is not good. You will get Pneumonia.” I do not breathe and this new, shallow, breathless healing is an added and thick, deep-fried crust to my already full and layered onion. Seriously, how many layers must one peel before they get there? And why? Why is it that once we have peeled so many of those layers, does some terrible crisis send us right back to start, back to a fresh new, layer-filled onion, Why?

On a day like today, when, for no reason, I feel mad and like I was sent back to “Start”, it seems like my healing is so far. It makes no sense.

So today, I am doing what I keep reminding my boys to do. “Boys, when you feel ripped off, mad or like life is not fair, instead of acting crabby, why don’t you feel grateful?” I really do say this and we have been talking gratitude all week long. So, thank God for Dave. Thank God he gives me space and lets me breathe. Thank God my relationship with Brenda gives me hope. My relationship with my sister makes me believe that one day my family can actually be in a room with each other and that we can be there together without the room imploding in on itself.

And right now when I need them most, thank God for old friends that become new. Thank God these same friends get it, and thank God they get it, because these same friends have experienced layers so similar to my own. Thank God for Happy Hollow Road, for giant marshmallows, kind words from Melbourne, splinter removers, flip flops in winter, Ann at Top Nails, sunshine and Summertime. Thank God for gold teeth, dream catchers, and those who care enough to save the gecko. Thank God for owls, last minute lunches at Rubios, and for every single park. Thank God for bike rides to Coldstone, gifted memberships to the Natural History Museum, Pogo Sticks, Red Butte Garden, Wawa and Harvs, and for badass young men. Thank God for summer art classes, talented architects, generous photographers, long drives, walk talks, homemade Ugly dolls and dreams of Bear Lake.

Thank God for the sisters of friends. Thank God these same sisters point me in the perfect direction. Thank God for open hearts, gardens, tree houses, homemade concoctions, buckets full of sand, beautiful paintings, and for the 1-2-3-wee-swing-you-high-in-the-air walks down Center Street. Thank God, a God I don’t even know is there, well, Thank God, I am able to move and that some of you realize that I have too.

Walking Down Center Street

16 Comments

  1. Amen, to all of it.

    Once again, your writing and photographs about your journey also illuminates things for me. And has me grateful for sisters!!! deep breathes, and moving. Thanks for your generosity dear wonderful Bethie. Your writing has the power to shift things. It’s so much appreciated.

    This week I’ve had a book called “On Foot Through Europe; A Trail Guide to Europe’s Long-Distance Footpaths” sitting on my kitchen island. Every time I need to recenter I touch the book, thumb through it longingly (sigh…), and remind myself that when the time is right, with baby in a backpack or when he’s older, I’ll be walking those trails!

    You and yours are invited. A pilgrimage…=)

  2. Quel, We are so in for Europe. You will be walking those trails and hopefully we will be walking them with you! Recently Dave and I were able to travel to France & Switzerland on business. My favorite part of the trip: walking and exploring. It was amazing. I love the people. I love the things that were different, but the same. I love love love all the old folks riding around on bikes with baskets. I love climbing the trails at the base of Mont Blanc. I loved climbing through castles and walking by cows in small towns, cows at the bus stop, that is.

    Thank you for reading my writing and thank you for appreciating it. I want to blog more regularly again and being heard/read makes it all the more motivating.

    You are so lovely & I (really all of us) are so grateful for you!

    On to Europe! Ahoy!

  3. Nice writing here. I like this sentence… “until we heal, my words, their words, private, texted, blogged about, written or spoken out loud will ooze through the rotten flesh of our hidden sorrow.” wow. nice. moving is good, it is your pace that makes you feel right, move into it.

  4. I love you Beth! You are awesome. You have such a way with words. I too need to remember to be grateful for the have’s when I’m experiencing the “nots”.

  5. Thank you, Erin! Thank you for getting me and seeing how I flow!

  6. Marianne, You are awesome! Thank you! I need to remember to be grateful too! I hear you, chica! I love you!

  7. I find myself in your words. Not so many layers peeled away from my onion yet, but I’m on the journey. I have noticed that everytime I get sent to back to start, I can move on a little faster, a little farther. What a long strange trip life seems to be…

  8. Thanks, Kevin! We all have onions to peel and peel and peel some more. Good for you for being on the journey! Way to go! I agree with what you are saying about being sent back to start. Often when I am sent back it is much much faster. I get to the point and move on! :)

  9. Ahh, YES! Now you’re on your way. I am so glad you trusted your gut with your writing. I too like the rotten flesh of our hidden sorrow.
    DON”T STOP!!!!

  10. LOVE this message and especially that last photo. Ah…to remember to be innocent and happy and joyful…not so easy to do!

  11. I’m encouraged and moved by your posts. These photos are great. You’re cool, man.

  12. I’ve always admired your intense energy and ability to whiz through a gazillion errands in one day. I remember my astonishment (and pleasure, indeed!) during one visit as we tooled around SLC in an old Volkswagon Beetle in which you could barely reach the pedals (I think the seat adjustment was broken?) and you bought stuff, returned stuff, dropped stuff off, had lunch and went on even more errands. I’m lucky if I get one solid errand in per day.

    I do find chopping veggies rather meditative – funny, that was my chore of choice when we were kids. I hope the love and care for you that went into those hours of food preparation was not lost on you (as your head exploded : ). In my own kitchen with my tools, it would only take minutes as opposed to hours. Alas, I was bored and feeling rather snow bound and left out of much of the activity you and the rest of the family was engaged in. Instead of feeding into loneliness and boredom, I had hoped to turn it into a gift of nourishment and love.

    Love you, Sis.

  13. Andrea, You are awesome! Thank you! The message: Not easy to do. I have to work on it every single day. :)

  14. Summer, WOW! That means a lot! I am encouraged and moved by your most stunning photography and baddass-say-it-like-it-is insight! You are cool! Thanks for the photo feedback too! Means a lot!

  15. Dominique, I wouldn’t call it intense energy, I would say I like to move, :) you know what I mean?. Perception. I do not know how you and Thea can sit talking for hours knitting and crocheting. It blows my mind. I wish I had that kind of attention span. That beautiful quilt you would made me all those years ago, in my opinion, was intense. I bet it had over 3,000 hand sewn circles on it. WoW! And then all those tiny tiny circles were sewn together! Amazing! Again, blows my mind!

    This was a post about me and things I have been working on and expressing how I move. I think you understand that. I like to move. Mentioning the dicing of vegetables could have been about anything. It was a metaphor. I could have used another example of anything else too, but the vegetable dicing is so vivid. The motion of dicing and dicing for hours and hours, was a great image to illustrate a contrast, nothing more. That being said, I fully acknowledge that when I put my words out there that they will be interpreted very differently be every single reader. In fact, one of the best parts about writing is the fact that I am giving my words to the world and they will be understood differently that I can ever possibly imagine. I put them out there and then I let go.

    The holidays, well, as much as I would love to share my experience here, in all sincerity, I do not think it is appropriate. Just by the little you say here, my guess is that our stories and impressions are quite different from one another.

  16. Brenda! Amen and thank you for getting me and for understanding my heart. You rock!

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