i "woke up" at 5:30 this morning, thinking about you.
i say woke up in quotes, because it's not quite sleeping anymore. it's peeing every 2 hours and then just endlessly rolling from side to side like an over-plumped rotisserie chicken and then eventually just giving up. i'm not too upset about it really. i slept well a lot longer than every app and article and book said i would.
probably tomorrow i will write some diatribe about how tired i am of being tired. maybe tomorrow, unlike today, i will feel so tired of being tired. that was big on my mind this morning. i must seem crazy, i thought. one minute i'm writing about how content and clear i am in my body, in my impending motherhood. the next i am moaning about all the aching and misery. one minute i am saying i'm terrified, the next, i feel it's all crystalline.
i am just that wild. i am flip flopping. i feel it all. total security and also total terror. overwhelming joy and also fear, reticence. certainty and concurrent disbelief. groundedness and floundering. comfort and abundant worry.
that's what i thought about telling you this morning.
all those things are real. one doesn't negate the other. and none are more valuable than the others.
terror and worry and reticence and disbelief are all uncomfortable. they challenge me. these hips challenge me. goodness, getting up out of the car challenges me at this point. but that doesn't mean any of those things are bad. they are a part of something bigger.
of balance, of change, of growing, of my process, of ME.
i want you to know that it's okay not to be happy all the time.
that idea came up in this lovely class on positive discipline that i'm taking right now.
i said something like, i always think it's strange when parents say they just want their kids to be happy.
it sounds funny. on my part.
i get it, of course. but... not everything is happy. i don't expect you to be happy when you fall down or have a bad dream. i don't expect you to be happy when a friend hurts your feelings. i don't expect you to be happy when the thunder scares you or the cat scratches you or when someone took your toy.
you don't have to be happy. happy is not the goal. happy is just part of a gamut of emotions we are wired to experience. happy is breezy and wonderful. it feels good. but it's not all there is.
last year, with my 3's, we had this conversation a lot. a friend would take another friend's toy. the toy victim would lash out, angry, and hit the offender in response. we would pause to take stock.
you are so angry your friend took your toy, i would say.
YES! i was using it and he just grabbed it! the toy victim might say.
we would work through the scenario, figuring out what we could do differently next time. no one was wrong. both people made choices that could have been handled better. the offender could have asked for a turn. the offended could have used words to let their friend know they were using the toy, or asked a teacher for help if that wasn't working.
somewhere in that, i'd always ask, is it okay to be angry?
this question confuses kids. usually they'd say no. angry sounds bad. angry sounds like definitely the wrong choice.
i would assure them again and again, it's okay to be angry. i get angry too. but it's never okay to hurt our friends.
that's the difference. we've learned to categorize the discomfort of things like anger with other pains like getting intentionally hit. but they are not the same. one of them is part of how we're wired. it's an appropriate reaction to an unpleasant experience. it informs us about what to do next. the failure, in our society, comes in trying so hard to squelch that feeling that we react either violently or by trying to escape it. we're not letting ourselves feel it, think about it, move through it. (<--- link to a really wonderful article on exactly that, which we also read in class the other day, here!)
what i'm saying is: i want you to feel. i want you to experience the world around you. i want you to interact with and respond to all that is happening around you.
i do not have an expectation about exactly what that will be like for you. i will teach you to be kind and sensitive. to feel without inflicting harm upon others. it really does have to be taught. but otherwise, feel.
we will work on integrating it together. we will make sense of your experience. we will hug. i will let you know you are safe with me.
but don't worry about being happy.
happiness comes when we're not holding on to being happy or not happy. happiness comes after the relief of moving through things, of allowing yourself that.
when happiness becomes the goal, life becomes so terribly stressful. because life is also full of hard, weird, challenging, awkward, uncomfortable, and sad moments. i will temper what is too much, but i won't pretend the world isn't happening around us. i will love you by letting you feel all there is to feel, assuring you it's okay to experience it, and helping to lay the groundwork that, once you do, you can integrate that experience and come out on the other side stronger, more capable, and with more information about the world and yourself.
and i will learn from you.
because, really, i'm telling you this, because i need to tell myself right now. because i'm scared. this is a big, big moment for me. i am on the precipice of an entire paradigm shift. and i have long been the girl, who was afraid of even the smallest change. i'm standing at the edge, and every single feeling is washing over me. my body and my heart are trying to decide how they feel. my register of emotion is a slot machine, each possibility whirling by, just a barely perceptible flash, lost amongst each subsequent picture.
i'm scared! i'm scared and it's exhilarating. i'm scared and it's exhausting. i'm scared and i couldn't be more certain.
and i'm reminding myself it's okay to be scared. it doesn't mean i'm doing something wrong. it doesn't mean i need to change anything. it doesn't mean i've failed. it just means i need to let myself feel the fear. sit in it. and, when i have moved through it, come out on the other side.
we will do it together, my girl. we will live wholly together. we will feel all the beautiful and strange feelings; we will grow through feeling them. the world is ours.
i can't wait,