kilter

Guys, I’ve lost my sparkle. Gradually, day by day, month by month, so that I barely noticed it leaking away, leaving something foggy and thick. Suffocating.

I am pretty good at sniffing out a lie or maybe-not-the-whole-truth in other people. Not so much in myself. Because if I was honest or brave, I would say this part of me, this fog, has always been there, just easier to ignore and conveniently buried. Or maybe it’s not a fog but a piece missing, a hole where something was always supposed to be, a piece other people have.

If I was honest and brave, if I trusted people, I would say shiny also equals hard and brittle and protects the core of me. The part that can’t be risked.

Now that the shiny top layer is gone, this dull stuff is all that’s left to protect the heart of me. It covers me, a sticky film that takes the joy out of things that I used to find fun or creative or exciting. Sometimes I see a glimmer of how it used to be, like seeing myself through a translucent veil, one step removed.

I went to a concert this weekend, Glen Hansard. He put himself SO OUT THERE on stage. I don’t know what that’s like, never have. You could tell he felt things so deeply. You could tell even with the things that were sad that he owned those feelings. He was not afraid. I was so grateful and jealous.

Sometimes I think I am SO CLOSE, if I could reach a little further, I could grab that shiny bit of string and unravel it and wrap it all around me. I don’t know if this is a phase, a part of aging, or permanent. I don’t know how to find the map back to myself, the part that found joy and sadness and all the things in between.

So I put words out there and let things simmer and settle. Even writing the words here is a step removed. even knowing that people who know me will read them. I would never say these things out loud. That would make them real.

What if I can’t find the map. What if the missing bit is not fixable or findable. What if I used up all the shine and sparkle and this is all that’s left.

 

precipice

Oh, my people. It’s a delicate time in my household.

My daughter is a senior in high school. It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but I’m finding that excitement to be tempered with stress. A LOT of stress. For both of us.

She is perched firmly at the top of the yawning, gaping maw of her future. There are decisions to be made that she is unwilling or unable to make. Or she makes a choice one day only to undo it two days later.

It is exhausting, soul-sucking. I alternate between nagging/encouraging things like applications and college essays or studying for the ACT. Making her tour other schools besides the one she kinda sorta likes best. (Which by the way would be a great choice IF she ACTUALLY CHOSE it and did the things necessary to gain admittance.) And then when my nagging does nothing but cause both of us grief, I SWEAR to never say another word and let the chips fall where they may. This lasts for about two days. It’s a vicious, bloody cycle.

I know it’s a stressful time for her, too. I have told her that college isn’t her only choice, and maybe it’s not even the best choice. I would like for her to have an amazing college experience like I did, but maybe that’s not her path. Or maybe not her path right now. I want her to know that I only nag because I want the best for her.

So I have firmly resolved to only help when asked. She started another college essay and I think this one has real potential. She has three weeks to study for the ACT and access to a website with tips and practice tests. I am crossing all my fingers and toes that THIS TIME she follows through on these things. That she submits her essay for critique and turns in her application early so she can get priority housing. But in the end this isn’t my path, either. She has to want it bad enough to do the work herself, and I suppose that will be the true indicator.

It’s a big leap, this one. What I ultimately want is for her to avoid the jagged edges at the bottom of the cliff she’s on. A few gentle bounces perhaps. I want her to embrace the opportunities about to come her way, find things that bring her joy and maybe a way to make money doing that. She is so close.

Whatever happens, I’ll be the one cheering her on or picking her up and brushing her off. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

In the meantime, it’s all about the brown liquor.