Morose. Maudlin. These words popped into my head this morning, as words do. I sometimes think it’s the voice of Mr Kik, my old vocabulary teacher in AP English, back in high school. I was an apt pupil; insofar as I loved the opportunity to sound smarter. As pubescent girls are wont to do, I had carefully curated a reputation for being a dingbat back in junior high because I got attention. I didn’t know this at the time, of course. It may or may not have started with actually believing the equator was a black line circumferencing the earth, I got ALOT of laughs, and endeared myself quickly to my geography teachers heart. I only know that by late high school I had to fight hard to be taken seriously, as I straddled the fence of maintaining class clown status as well as a deep thoughts by Jack Handy, hippie dippy, worldly and wise wannabe. A walking contradiction, to be sure. When I started smoking pot after high school, I wanted to have big conversations but I was surrounded my young adult males who’s main goal was to get as high as possible. I thought I was a weirdo, and so did everyone else. It really wasn’t until I had Isaac and became an adult student that I discovered a penchant for rhetoric and intelligent conversation. Anywho, somewhere along the way I picked up a love for words and would grow tired using the same ones, so I would seek out better and bigger words like it was my job. This came through reading books as opposed to the dictionary. I could gather just enough information about a words meaning by how someone else used it and call it good. As a result, I misused plenty of words over the years, always trying to keep up with the idea in my head that smart people, the exclusive club to which I wanted to belong to, used a broad vocabulary.
Through the tools of self introspection, I’ve cultivated enough self awareness to recognize that I no longer place effort in being smart. I am what I am and I don’t have a yearning to prove myself like I once did. I’m more interested in understanding myself and all the places I get stuck, and in healing. Healing is my “new” passion. Interestingly enough, I find that through these intuitive explorations, that beyond a deepening of my words for it, there is the possibility for insight, awareness, to become action. I’ve come to the conclusion that merely seeking awareness thwarts action, but only action results in change. So now, when words appear in my mind, illuminated across the horizon line, rather than figuring out what they mean, I try to see how they are playing out in my life. Now, when I wake up with a word I’m curious about, I simply acknowledge that a “message” has been delivered and my “job” is to find all the places it exists.
So here are maudlin and morose…it doesn’t take a genius to see HOW they have found their way into my vernacular, but I’m more interested in the WHY.
Forty and Fabulous. That’s the phrase that I think I expect from this next rite of passage. But I don’t feel fabulous. Likely, this is due to feeling maudlin and morose– but upon deeper reflection, I think it comes down to this:
Being a young mama, I always had in my mind that I would be 38 when Isaac graduated. I wasn’t in a hurry, but I was aware that my life would change dramatically when I was 38. 38 was always as far as I ever got in my future thinking. I had no idea what in the world I would do with my young self at that age. I knew that I could “do whatever I wanted”– so to speak. That my responsibility as a parent would alter and that life could be about something else. I think because I wasn’t ever “excited” for Isaac to grow up, that I didn’t put a lot of thought or effort into the next phase, that I was happily devoted to mothering and in near denial that Isaac would grow up and leave the nest.
In the context of “manifesting” or “thoughts become things”, I see how having no plan for 38+ has played out, though of course I fully acknowledge that “life stopped” at 38, Isaac died when I was 38. The next phase never came for him and I am still standing here wondering what the fuck I’m going to do now. And now I’m almost 40.
And I don’t feel like it’s fabulous because, you guessed it! I am morose and maudlin.
I’d like a different storyline but this is the one I’ve got. So what do I do? Put pressure on myself in the next 2 months to feel fabulous on my 40th? Or recognize that the stories we tell ourselves hold the power, and that maybe, just maybe, my story will continue, as it always has, with plot twists and thickenings, with words for it and moments of wordlessness, with new chapters and Dorothy meets Technicolor awakenings.
I read a speech recently given by a woman who lost her husband, unexpectedly, and felt the parallels in my own grieving as well as the nuanced ways her internal coping mechanism have kept the door open for possibility to make itself right at home within her story. The driving force of her message was to cultivate and stoke the inner fire during the challenges in life with the same grace, determination, courage, curiosity and open heartedness as you do in the good times. You can read that here:
This inspires me to accept and embrace that this is my current chapter AND that maybe, come July 24, I can allow myself to celebrate that I am blessed to continue onward in my journey, even if Isaac cannot, even if I didn’t curate a plan for myself after 38. Again and again I return to the “ands” rather than the “ors”– maybe there is room for all of it, all of me, all the words, and all the wordlessness. If anyone can find a way to be Fabulous AND Fragile, I’m sure I can too.