Sunday, February 02, 2014

Finding stability in vulnerability

I'm feeling more stable these days. Solid somehow. Enjoying school, enjoying Clark, enjoying my community. Nearly every day, I have a few tears. I got rear-ended yesterday on our way to the beach. Clark and I are fine, and the other party is taking full responsibility. Overall a very benign stressor, but I was shaken, and by the time I got home I just wanted to curl up in someone's - Scott's - arms. Instead, I had a hungry, sandy toddler to take care of. I cried while feeding Clark dinner, and then I had a nice long talk with my sister instead, which helped a lot. I had a moment last Thursday in the cafeteria where I suddenly needed to cry, and one today at the Super Bowl party. I've become adept at grabbing a friend for a bear hug at those moments. I think about Scott and the particular thing about him or our relationship that I'm missing, and I feel very present in my sadness, in my body, in the hug.

Before he died, I only ever cried alone or with Scott, or very occasionally with my therapist. Crying in public makes me feel really vulnerable - but I think having these moments in public is partly why I feel a little more stable and solid these days. When I can be in the moment, in the emotion, I feel like I'm standing on bedrock. I'm not sure what changed, why it's easier to show my tears now. Partly, I think I've learned a lot about my sadness. I can trust myself to go into it and come out of it again. I wonder if it's partly that a lot of the fear about Scott's dying is gone.

I haven't been doing a good job of articulating this, but I've also been experiencing many moments of joy. There are many mornings when my heart swells just walking into the lecture hall - I'm so glad for the opportunity to take my place among my classmates. The other day I was walking outside when a gust of wind blew a flurry of tiny white petals into a small snowstorm. The sunlight was silver coming through the clouds, and everything zoomed out for a few moments, and the scene in front of me, this world, felt like a piece of something more expansive that I'd known before. Last week I had a dream about being at some sort of summer camp for world religions. But it wasn't a place to just learn about different religions; it was an opportunity interact with their Truths in an incredibly tangible way. I don't remember more than a few glimpses from the dream but it was so cool.

Thanks for reading. Writing here is therapeutic for me, a good way to explore some nooks and crannies of my daily experience. It's funny, 95 percent of the time I feel completely normal - just focusing on school, Clark, car repairs, whatever. I don't feel like I'm grieving much at all. But it's helpful to reflect on my grief (or at least the things I choose to throw into the box labeled grief), to synthesize it, find connections within it. Thanks for reflecting things back to me.


marian said...

" I can trust myself to go into it and come out of it again." Oh Libby, this is such a key understanding. I'm really grateful that you are sharing this. It all makes sense to me.

Tiffany Neal said...

Libby, thank you so much for sharing yourself here. I'm really glad that you have a community in San Francisco to rely on. As to your previous post, I'm glad that you are thinking about the idea of a new partner...don't worry about the judgment of others.

Finally, I love this: "When I can be in the moment, in the emotion, I feel like I'm standing on bedrock." It sounds counterintuitive, but somehow makes sense. I strive to be in the moment more.

Ha, my mindfulness bell just went off! Perfect timing.