The kids and I have been on Spring Break and it has been so, so good.
Last week, I struggled under a wet blanket, made of wool and smelling of old damp things. Last week I had a flare up of one of my illnesses: this time it was depression. It was triggered by a small (not really) thing and I wound up spending 36 hours crying and trying not to cry at everything and nothing. Things got a little better after that, but I was still wearing shoes of cement and walking through boggy mindfields. It was a struggle to make it to the end of the week with some semblance of functioning, but the knowledge that spring break was on the horizon kept me going.
Things are scant now, we are in the winter of our life’s path and the seasons leading up to this winter were not exactly fecund so our stores were already low: money, goods… mental energy to handle the stressors that continually arise.
We have never been wealthy; we have always been low-income, but we managed to make ends meet and we managed to enjoy small extravagances through careful planning and resourcefulness. My first divorced Mother’s Day, I had only enough gas to get us to Balboa Park where we took a free tour and listened to a free concert and it is one of my favorite memories. But those days I had not yet been beaten down by all the various Systems that are antagonistic towards the poor or the disabled. It is harder these days to find energy to be resourceful like I used to be.
But this week has been such a blessing. Slowly, I have begun feeling like the old Me again. The kids and I have gone on a little hike to enjoy the superbloom of wildflowers, we visited the Wild Animal Park to see butterflies and take a tram ride, we visited my university for GradFest and my children looked on so proudly while I had my graduate photo taken. We have been silly together and we have navigated difficulties together. I have allowed myself plenty of rest and forgiven myself for not doing as much work as I had hoped. We have watched movies and played games. It has been the best week we’ve all had in a long, long time. We all feel happy.
I have felt myself being knitted back together.
I didn’t even realize I had come apart.
In my chest, in a place behind my stomach and nestled just below my heart: this is the place where I am held together by the threads of family and love and beauty and wholeness. Over time, through traumas and betrayals, my threads have been snipped or have come loose. It’s not something you notice right away; it happens so slowly like being boiled alive. And then you are walking around, jostling the parts of your soul until they are bruised. You walk more carefully like you are stepping on a floor of glass and too much movement will send you crashing through into the void below, but still you never notice.
Until you begin being knit back together.
It is a physical sensation. A tightness, but not a threatening squeeze like anxiety. Rather, it is a good tightness, like being swaddled, or cuddled. But more than that, really. It is a healing sensation. I am becoming whole again.
This is not the end, I know. Life is still very hard, things are still tenuous. I will likely come undone a thousand times before I find true and complete stability (if such a thing exists – if such a thing will exist in the future). But right now, I am here in this moment giving thanks.
Ostara (which my family and I did not celebrate because of my flare) is a holiday marking Springtime, fecundity, growth. It is an equinox which is all about balance. In the context of the journey of the Sun, it is a time in between rebirth and death, in between the darkness of winter and the light of summer. If my graduation happening at Yule was appropriate, then so is this. My spring is returning. It may return with winter storms, with mucky flares of swamp walking, but the darkness is already halfway gone and I am facing the return of the Sun.