I woke up with that feeling….one of those self-fulfilling prophecy type days, perhaps? Maybe. But I have always been grumpy about the holiday. Coming into its arrival as a single woman caused me concern as soon as Christmas was over when the cheery red hearts began appearing in the local discount store aisles. Groan….
Weeks ago I had declared it to be a self-love type of day, marking the 14th of February here on after to be the day I begin tax preparation. To lead into the day, here and after, I would attend to yearly doctor’s, dental, and mammogram appointments. I would get my hair done! So I did. Well, I did forget my dentist appointment… and my taxes are still more in my head than on paper, but beginnings are beginnings, no matter how you slice it.
Most of the day I spent with my son in our usual Sunday nonritual rituals blessed with the most precious of nonevents. Time. My time with him like this is limited, but precious in that it has become ordinary. With the divorce many outcomes could have been possible, but we have a achieved a wonderful state of nonevents marked by the return of me yelling down the hallway in “the mom voice”. It is sheer joy.
I begin everything with fear. Fifty years on this planet and just as many methods of self-analysis with counseling thrown in, causes me to conclude that it is my process. “Live with it Steph.” Even better: Use it. I do not have fear mastered, but I am realizing that swirling is how I get things done. When I was trying to figure out how to block the windows of the building last fall, I was determined to use the old joists. I had no clue how heavy one ninety year old 2 x 10 was, much less nailing together seven of them, then trying to hoist them to the openings. That was one level of problem. The first? I was scared to use a saw. I was scared to hammer. I was scared, really. I shook. I cried. I swore at myself. I prayed. I did other things because I could not face what I needed to do. “Avoidance.” “Fear of failure.” And, just plain scared I would fall out of the second story, nine foot by nine foot window openings!
The result? I learned how to use a small cordless saw – one left to me from the divorce. I could handle it. I squealed each time the blade met air on the other side of a board. I cut small boards to make designs so that I could use up the boards I had and afford new ones. I finally listened to the advice of my ex-husband who suggested I use a drill rather than nailing each board. (It was quieter too – I could work late nights without pounding). Luckily our Wisconsin winter held off – I had time to just barely complete the four openings. I worked through fear even when the first attempt collapsed with the first windy day. And then when it collapsed again after I had nailed paneling to the back of frames…creating a sail. And then when it collapsed again after the first time bracing it was not strong enough to withstand the next windstorm.
All my life, I began everything afraid. Afraid of what people would think. Afraid of my own judgement if I did not like the results. Afraid. Afraid. Afraid. So today – Valentine’s Day – I began afraid too. But the best part about the windows? I did them. Not perfectly, but effectively. And today, the same. I remember working through that fear and I will do it again. Taxes. Finances. “One brick at a time.”
I had visited a friend’s family yesterday. She called this evening to let me know she had found my credit card (I am a bit on the forgetful side – usually it’s my keys in question). I had met her during another of the scariest times of my life. I had been through divorce and losing my job, then was facing resistance with my building project and potential legal action, when I began a new job. I needed stability and surety for me and my family. Yesterday she saw the joyous me, reminding me tonight to ‘be yourself’. She said I was ‘like a kid’. I was. I was hunting down small Valentine’s gifts… Turns out that finding my students’ Valentines, from years past – those joyous and loving hearts with Star Wars or princesses or homemade ones with glitter – that love lives on….
So I began the day with my leftover green tea….
In a beautiful pansy English tea cup….
Which I had never dared before to use.
In the past weeks I came to the realization that I can create here. It’s my fantasy world… really.
May your days ahead be Blessed with Love.
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