Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring Time - On the Fence

I have been wanting so badly lately to blog, but have really struggled with what to write about. I've never had to go looking for content as my brain is always wanting to write, create, and share. My challenge is determining what is "appropriate" or "acceptible" to share. You see, what I want to write is REAL. I want to write about dreams, fears, frustrations, hopes, struggles, love, death, and life. I want to feel safe here, writing about what is real. I want my conversations here to be the ones we would have if we were really sitting and talking one on one over steaming cups of coffee. But, the reality is that this is a public forum and so there is this little voice inside that always says "You can't say that on the internet. You can't share that story with everyone. You can't actually express those feelings, even though they are very real and honest. You have to hide them. You can only show happiness and joy. People don't like to hear about troubles, death, fears, and struggles. People want to see rainbows and bunnies and finely furnished homes and perfectly dressed children in warm glowing sunlight on grassy lawns...  "

But that isn't what life is all about. At least it isn't for me. I have rainbows and bunnies and sushine, for sure...  but there are also dark days, deep sadness, rational fears, unrest.

I started to write this today. I started to write about spring time and what it feels like for me and as I wrote I felt I had written these feelings out before. I thought "I'm sure I blogged about this before" and I looked in my blog and didn't find it. Then, there in my drafts, was the post below, from almost exactly a year ago...

Photo Source: 

Today I feel as though I am balancing on an old barbed wire fence, with one leg over one side and the other over the other side, and both feet on the bottom wire, wobbling a little bit back and forth. On one side of the fence is a beautiful blue-green grassy field - maybe it’s an oat field? It is bathed in sunshine and the breeze is gently rippling the surface, blowing the plants back and forth as if they are one big sheet of silk blowing in the wind. It is happy and sunny. It is mental health, safety, contentment, peace, sure-footedness. I am facing this happy field and looking out into it. On the other side of the fence, the ground is barren and a light sandy brown. It’s muddy, probably clay. It’s scattered with sharp and unexpected rocks and boulders. There’s a cliff in the distance and I can’t see what’s below or beyond it from where I am, only that the ground drops away. This place is a little uncertain, a little bit sad and barren, unhealthy, desolate, but not entirely terrible or frightening, just not exceptionally appealing. A little unsettled. I don’t necessarily feel like I have a lot of control over which side of the fence I fall to. It’s a strange feeling, but surprisingly, it actually feels good to realize that I’m here and that I can see both of my options, even if I’m not in full control of the outcome. It feels a little bit like one place is where I have been and one is where I am headed, but I’m not entirely sure which is which.

Don’t take me all too seriously, there is nothing profound going on with me. In reality, I think this way a lot, but rarely do I let anyone into my crazy little imagination. I think the fence might be symbolic of spring. It is most likely that simple – we are finally hoping that the barren lands of winter are behind us and the fresh and green life of spring is ahead. Mentally and emotionally, I go through my own “spring” each year. I have a tough time with winter. I become a hermit, I make poor health choices – I eat a lot of heavy, creamy, deliciously satisfying foods and although we eat a good amount of fresh fruit and vegetables at our house, it’s really a challenge in the winter when I want warm and filling comfort foods. I don’t exercise – at all. At. All. I get tired and moody and would prefer to go to bed early and sleep late. Perhaps I’m a bit of bear, and this is just my form of hibernation.

Spring though? Once we get beyond the rainy, windy, muddy, cold, damp, and brown days that we have to suffer through as Winter finally gives up and the earth begins to warm so that it can come alive again, spring really is lovely. Yes, we have weeks and weeks of dead, brown, lawns, seemingly dead trees, crispy dried, brown leaves. Garbage and grime from a winter’s worth of snowcover and wind. Then, once we’ve had a few good, long, soaking rains… the kind you just get so tired of while they’re falling for days and days… the grass greens up, the trees begin to bud, the rhubarb and the peonies, and the hostas begin to poke their pointy little rolled up shoots up through the ground under the fallen, dry leaves. The hepatica and bloodroot send up their hairy little stems. That is my happiness.

I’ve felt a little under the weather for what seems like months now. I just haven’t really had a day where I woke up and thought, “I FEEL GREAT TODAY!” and I think that is the mental, emotional, and physical toll that winter takes on me. Honestly? I get to the point where showers are quick and things like shaving my legs, that in the summer seem essential, really hit the back burner in winter!  I let the dishes pile up and the laundry pile up and I only scrub toilets when someone is coming over.  …wait, did I just say that out loud???  Now you’re never going to come over!  :)  Really though, this is reality. Some weekend days I stay in my sweatpants all day long if I have no where I have to be. But! Every once in a while, every couple of months I would say, I get a little bee in my bonnet. I get all crazy and I take some time to care for the physical me and that in turn, helps the mental  and emotional me too. It’s true. Once every two or three months I take 2-3 hours on a morning when the kids are away at school and daycare and I am off of work and Cliff is out on the farm or at work and I completely ignore the world and just do me. I turn on my music, I take an hour+ bubble bath, I shave my legs, I do an extra conditioning treatment for my hair, I actually blow my hair dry (never happens otherwise), I put lotion on my legs and my feet, I paint my toes. I know how silly this sounds, but this is a real treat and it really refreshes me. It happened this week. I even painted my nails! Pink! I am not a pink nailpolish person. My fingernails are usually just bare or maybe have a clearcoat and my toes always have a bright and fun red shade! 

...I wrote the above about two weeks ago and never finished it! Now it's two weeks later and I'm reflecting on it. I don't necessarily feel the same way today - that's the thing about blogging. It is life in THIS moment. What I wrote yesterday or last week or last month was what I was thinking, feeling, experiencing at that moment and may not be what I would say today. Yet, it did exist and it was real and so just deleting and not posting doesn't seem right either. So, I'll go on...

I'm feeling like I'm at that point where I am ready  to decide to wake up early in the morning, go for a walk, savor my cup of coffee, and enjoy the day! Is that what springtime is? Is it this way for everyone?

I had my health assessment for my insurance credits recently. It was not what I had hoped, but was even worse than I expected. I knew that my body fat percentage would be higher than their "goal" for someone my age, gender, etc.- it always is. I'm always juuuuuust above what they consider healthy, which is 23% in case you're wondering. Honestly? I think the way it is measured is a bunch of silly-nilly nonsense! You stand on a platform and hold your arms out away from your body while your hands grip these handles - then it sends some electrodes through your body and that apparently measures how much fat is in your body. Anyway, I know that I could be more lean - for sure. But I don't think I'm so unhealthy that I should be considered "high risk". Seriously? All of my other numbers are good - cholesterol, blood pressure, heart rate,  glucose, nicotine-free, weight, etc. - they always are. I always do great on everything except the body fat percentage. Oh well, I will pick up the frequency and pace of my "active movement".

Last night I did 20 minutes on the elliptical. This morning I got up early and went walking. I feel good. I feel really good. I want to order seeds and plants and I want to plan camping trips and quiet retreats in the woods.

one year later... 

So, I find myself feeling the same feelings a year later during the same season and I wonder if I am alone in this or if it's common. I wonder if some of it is related to time-of-life / age. I wonder if it is unhealthy to spend nearly half of each year feeling less than good and only half of the year actually feeling good. I wonder if there are things I could be doing to feel better... things beyond the basics that we usually try - eat better, get plenty of rest, exercise more, etc. I know I feel better when I am able to spend time outside. I know I'm not good about doing that in the winter. I know I'm not eating enough nutrient-rich foods. I know I am overall healthier mentally when I take time for yoga, meditation, and exercise. I'm SO looking forward to warmer days, to spring blooming all around me, to seeing my kids enjoy the wonders alongside me. 

I'm ready to step over the fence into the peaceful grassy fields.

No comments: