At the beginning of the year, I decided to make one resolution - I'm letting my hair grow out. While that may not appear to be very ambitious, and not necessarily a goal that requires a whole lot of effort on my part, those reasons are part of why I chose it. I asked myself what I want to change, etc., made a list, and decided to choose the one thing that wouldn't take much out of me to do. After several years of feeling like I had been pushed to my very limits, and beyond, on so many levels, I wanted to give myself a breather. Other than walking around with awkward looking locks while my hair goes through stages of growth, it's simply a matter of sitting back and waiting, and periodically getting a trim so the ends don't fray. I've talked about letting my hair grow out for years, but my hair doesn't grow very fast, and for some mysterious reason I didn't think I'd have the patience to walk through the time it took. It seemed easier just to keep it the way it was. Yet...I've had the same style cut and length for so long, I can't even remember a time when it was different. I think the last time I had my hair long is when I was 13 years old. How sad is that? So yeah, I felt it was high time to give the hair on my head a new look. So far so good in heading toward goal :].
Walmart parking lots are all the same. I really didn't notice that little fact until I moved here to this town and state, a part of the country I'd never been to or seen before, knowing only two people in the entire area, having only met one of them through conversations on the phone. The other one I've known since he was a 6 year old boy, who used to antagonize my daughter at the bus stop by pulling on her pony tail.
While I do have a love for adventure, I don't knock the sense of safety familiarity can bring. It's a relief at times, an exhale of breath, after treading foreign ground, when our nerves are drawn tight, our senses spread out like antennae while we navigate our way through unfamiliar territory.
I hadn't been here very long, and after I found the Walmart, parked, got out of my truck, and started walking toward the entrance, I got a sudden sense of deja vu. I stopped walking, and took a good look around. If not for what lay beyond the parking lot, I could be standing in any Walmart parking lot in the country, and I've been in quite a few. I stood there for a long time, marveling at the wash of relief I experienced with that bit of knowledge. I remember thinking, "I'm okay. I'm going to be okay. This isn't some other planet with strange aliens where I find myself now. It's just another town, with other folks, much like anywhere else on this earth." And just like that, I felt the fear of the new and unknown leave me. I had touched the familiar, and felt safe again, my confidence returned and I felt a can do attitude take over. I was okay.
It's been 2 1/2 weeks since I last posted here. I have been writing, but mostly in emails, in my notebook, and on Notepad on this computer. I could come up with all sorts of excuses why I haven't posted here - good ones, like being in the midst of a move, looking for a job, having sketchy internet service. But mostly, I've found myself freaked out by all the sudden changes, in a state of in between, on foreign ground, feeling almost paralyzed by it all, not knowing where to point my feet.
After a few days living under this new roof, I told my roommate I was going to Sheetz, ( a convenience store I frequented often, over by where I used to live). She asked me why, when "that's a far piece down the road." (She made it sound like "fur piece" cuz that's the way folks talk 'round these parts :). I told her I needed to go someplace familiar, with folks who'll recognize me, be glad to see me. I was feeling too off kilter, and frightened by all the strangeness. So off I went, and felt better after I got there, because just like stepping onto the Walmart parking lot, it felt like things weren't so foreign anymore.
One of the most important things I learned last year is the necessity of being kind to myself, taking care to give myself what I need, whatever that may be, however long it takes, or however silly it may seem. It's okay to be gentle. I don't need to be brave, or courageous, or strong, or push against fear all the time. Sometimes what I need is to surrender to that within me that says...enough...let your hair down, take a breath, go to a safe place, wherever that is. Go slow, walk gently. Let others in, let them touch you, allow them to help...until you feel the warmth of an embrace that whispers, "You are okay, you are safe, and you are not alone."
Let that in.
Because I've learned that if I don't, I'm no good to anyone else. But also, I'm not open to anyone else giving, or offering a loving hand to me either.
Today, I've finally given myself the space and time to write. To hell with the to do lists, they can wait. I'm not writing at a time I generally like to write, nor are my surroundings orderly, made to feel like my own, but when I'm away from writing too long, I feel even more strange and out of sorts, off kilter. I need it. It's a love of mine, and familiar, like home to me. Like the hair on my head, growing slowly into a new expression, but still familiar. Or like Walmart parking lots, where the sameness, in the midst of a different city, brings the sense that all is okay.