Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Yesterday's Face


                                  self portrait

September 1. 2015

Yesterday morning I dropped Claire at the bus stop and pushed on to walk the track at our local university. This was my goal. This is my goal for September. Get up + get moving. Don't get weird because school is starting and Claire's going into tenth grade when most of the time I still imagine her like this:

No! That's me in an alternate dream life in California - riding horses and smiling a lot.

This is the one:

She's smiling a lot too. Maybe being five, instead of almost 16 has something to do with it.

Unlike many Moms who posted their kids first day of school pics on Facebook, I couldn't do it. (and I took a really cool one.) Claire would've been disturbed by my behavior and anyway, I wanted to post my self portrait instead. 


I was walking by myself at the track, talking myself off the ledge about seasonal affective disorder kicking in too soon, coaching myself about the uncomfortable life as a writer with all its twists and turns and dead end streets when the ROTC crowd thundered past me. One guy shouted, 

Good morning, Ma'am, which was polite and nice to bring me into the group but really I need to wear a sticky note saying, Please don't call me Ma'am. He meant well.

It was on my seventh lap around, I was walking in circles, that I became aware of my face. Obviously there weren't any mirrors around - this is a good thing - and I didn't whip out my phone either. It was an in-my-body moment when I realized that I had the above look on my face.  

(Note: I've decided to devote some of my free time to self-portraiture - stay tuned) 

How would you describe it?

Oh no! 
Fuck, this is not good at all! 
Stop this train I've got to get off?

The thing is, I was having a great time walking. Feeling really good that I was at the track at 7:00 am, walking and moving and breathing, rather than still in bed staring at the ceiling with that face. I know I was worried about my Dad who is in the hospital which is right next to the track - maybe I was vibing that whole thing because hospitals and I don't socialize well. It may have been that. And just the million other things on my mind like how fast kids grow up and change is a constant so you'd better flow with it rather than trying to swim upstream and how we define work in our society in such an outward way which is weird for some of us because we live inward, in the mystery? and so in order to make room for all this I need very wide eyes and a mouth like a big O


I did a check-in with my face  while writing this to you. No mirrors, just feeling, and came up with:

go ahead, try the face thing right now.

Today's is way more relaxed than yesterday's face. The hair is par for the course, that just climbed out of my camping tent look. My kids adore that look, I swear. Maybe because I'm writing and have a cup of tea and the dog is staring at me to go out. The house is quiet, the fan, spinning. Maybe because I'm not working in a school this year, choosing sanity + forging ahead with my writing instead. 


I have a plan for today and the hospital to go to (feeling the resistance rise up) but in this moment, the only one any of us have, maybe I'm allowing myself to lean into calm. 

As opposed to, run the fucking house is on fire!  

Part of today's meditation says, Be patient. Relax and trust. Let go. Then, let go some more.


xo b

                  Forgive me, Claire. xo


  1. I can hear your writing with my whole being. Your voice invites me to accept. Accept all that is, and accept myself in particular, as the whole me, not tightening up over the parts and pieces and histories I am not OK with. And to breathe. And to get up. And move towards what feels good and right, for right now. My self portrait is often intense concentration, two horizontal slit lines for eyes, same line for the mouth. No nose. Claire is magnificent. Thinking of your Dad in the hospital. Please give him a hug for me. Love, M

  2. Oh, thank you for writing and sharing. I love that you did. I love that you shared a visual of your self portrait (go ahead, draw one on a post-it note, and upload.) When I write out to my friends and readers about this stuff, it helps me to accept as well. That is the healing aspect of writing, along with the fact of love it. Back from seeing Dad - he is transformed back to his smiling self after 3 days of scary-incoherent-self. So very grateful. Thanks for your good thoughts. Hugs and love to you and yours. xo b

  3. Thank you, both Betsy and Margaret, I needed to hear it all this morning, this week, this month. My self portrait must have a furrowed brow. Hoping the Super Moon has at least something to do with inner struggles. I am applying your meditation Betsy, apropos of everything... and life, on so many levels, is wonderful. Must remember this. Happy that your Dad is smiling again. Agreed Margaret, Clair is magnificent. Love to all. <3

    1. Thanks so much for dropping in. I think the Super Moon was off the charts for crazy making. Again, a new day, and I need to go back to what I wrote and remind myself to trust, relax, let go. much love, b

  4. I understand. I have not heard the term seasonal affective disorder, but it aptly names the loss of balance settling over me. My children have grown and moved on (they didn't die, they just found their own lives), but as I watch kids walking in shiny new shoes wearing backpacks stuffed with fresh supplies, I once again feel that life is passing me by. As a teacher, I should be working, but as substitute I wonder if and where I will work - and although it is my choice not to have my own class, something in me still says I should.

    I am writing everyday, but I continue to question and doubt the value it brings, although I know there is no other way but to release the outcome and just do it because I have to do it. But I understand your reference to uncomfortable. That just means we still have a lot to learn - mostly how to trust ourselves and not need the approval of others. So obvious, so easy to say, but so difficult to own.

    Anyway, hi Betsy, it's Diane from California. Thank you for your thoughts. They inspired me to punch out all the above letters on my keyboard. You have a beautiful family. Much love...

    1. Hi Diane,
      So grateful you stopped by and left a note. It means the world to hear from people and to know we're all in the same boat of holding on, letting go, practicing acceptance. I love your line: ...how to trust ourselves and not need the approval of others. Yup. Easy to day, difficult to own, worth practicing.
      love love,
      xo b

  5. Bets, a lovely meditation. It brought a gentle smile to my face after a long day, bits of it involving tense moments (and, I'm sure, expressions). Loved all the visuals and am glad to hear your dad is better. Xoxo

  6. Replies
    1. Thank you for showing up and leaving a note. xoxo