Shhhhh……don’t tell The Boss, but I’m playing hooky today. And while I have to use some much valued vacation hours to pay for it
No, I don’t have a hangover.
See, after a half dozen weeks of high stress/low sleep, my body and emotions said,“oh hell no!” when it was time to get ready for work this morning. Thankfully, the situation that’s been taking up space in my head since July came to a positive conclusion yesterday, and – break out the champagne! – life can resume normally. (Whatever that is!)
On the plus side, after years in Menopause Boot Camp, I’ve learned how to hold down a full time job while dealing with insomnia, worrisome “others”, and all of my other responsibilities and still manage to appear relatively together.
But only on the outside.
On the inside, I’ve been a fucking mess. You would think that after all these years, and all that Enlightenment, I’d be good at dropping the Good Little Soldier routine and just let me shit show. But no…I can’t. I won’t.
Right or wrong, true or false, I believe that if I have a melt down, “they” will freak out. If I fall apart, “they” will, too. Who will keep it All together if I don’t? It’s my job – my mission, even – to make those in my care (three generations worth) to feel at peace, and that It’s All Good.
So I do what I have to do. I put on a stiff upper lip, pull up my Big Girl Panties, and get on with the business of taking care of business.
Only when the Crises has passed do I allow myself to fall apart, and almost always in the comfort of my own home when no one else is looking. Hence, the need to take a day off – because even though The Man knows, he doesn’t know. Only Those that see my midnight tears, and hear my 3 a.m. prayers, really understand.
Oh, it’s not like a few close friends weren’t in on what was going on. They “got it”, and prayed and supported me. Thank God and the angels for them. But there is a limit to how much another person can realistically be there in our dark moments. There are just some Valleys of Shadows that we have to walk through by ourselves.
And while I can pray and let go and believe and all that happy crap, Being Strong can be a very scary, exhausting, lonely road.
Some of you will know what I’m talking about.
Time to shower, have a good cry and take a nap. Truly, I have so much to be thankful for! Why, in just a hand full of hours I’ve got a Girls Night Out to get ready for. I’ll be attending a special cocktail and discussion reception prior to the closing night of “Twelfth Night” at one of our local theaters. It’s set in the 1920s flapper era. How fun does that sound?
By then, I’m sure I’ll look fabulous! Why, my outfit is all picked out, some makeup will hide the dark baggy circles, and I’ll be all smiles. No one will be the wiser that I’ve just finished a trek through hell because
It’s Show Time!
*note: The photo above was taken a couple of weeks ago on a very special day. My future daughter-in-law invited me to go with her entourage to look for a wedding dress! Yes, my son is getting married next March and I couldn’t be more thrilled. That’s my hand with the turquoise ring and age spots, and FDILs is next to it on the right. :) And while I didn’t take the photo, I brought the champagne and glasses to toast the occasion, with four generations present. Yes, so very much to be thankful for….and here come those tears!
Continued from the previous post…
Sitting in the shade of the old olive tree in her back yard, her eyes red and swollen from crying and the weed she had smoked, The Woman stared off into inner space and pondered her next move.
After a year of soul wrenching self-examination, spiritual inquiry, and marital counseling, it still wasn’t enough to save her marriage and she knew she needed out. No longer a matter of “IF”, her brain whirled with all the other questions of “When”, “How” and “OMG Can I Do This?”
Middle-aged with two teenagers to support, the prospect of starting over again was damn scary. Was it right to jump off the cliff into the unknown because SHE was miserable? Because SHE needed a new life? While The Woman understood that life couldn’t go on the way that it had been, she longed for some sign that she was making the right decision. That she could have – and deserved – a different sort of life.
And that’s when she saw it.
It appeared from behind the house, a small blood-colored streak that came to a sudden stop in perfect parallel to the ground – a gymnast using all six hands to firmly grasp the Agapanthus growing in the planter not more than 10 feet away from where she sat.
It stayed motionless for several minutes while she looked on, afraid to move lest her little visitor startle and fly off. Eyes wide in excitement, smiling from ear to ear, The Woman boggled at the biggest, reddest dragonfly that she had ever seen. What a beauty!
As she watched, the insect shifted slightly to get a better hold on the plant, it’s translucent wings sparkling under the summer sun like they were webs of gold dust.
“Hiya, little buddy!” She greeted her winsome guest internally, not wanting to scare it away by speaking out loud. “Oh, aren’t you a beauty!”
A tinkling bell of a word that was at once human and Other floated across the space between them, landing in her mind. Or was it her heart? The Woman’s eyes widened at the sound, and her insides instantly snapped to attention.
The dragonfly remained still on its perch. Alien eyes, round and dark, appeared to be looking directly at her, penetrating and knowing.
“HELLO!” A little louder, a little more emphatic this time.
And just like that, all thoughts of trouble and despair were replaced with a joy so profound, so…unusual…it caught her breath at the intensity. The dragonfly was speaking to her!
“Yes, I am speaking. I’ve been sent to tell you that All Is Well. Even though you can’t see it now, even though you don’t know how everything will work or what you will do, life will not always be this hard…this painful. Better days are coming and healing is here. You and your children are safe and will be cared for. A deep transformation is happening in you – So deep that one day you will look back at this time and it will be as if it had happened to another person. Do not be afraid. Trust. Do the next right thing. Forgive and bless your journey. You are not alone, and you are so dearly and forever loved.”
Whether a minute passed, or an hour, she didn’t know and didn’t care. The Woman smiled while tears streamed down her face, unabated. Tears of wonder…of release….
While her mind tried to analyze away the magic and miracle of what was happening, her heart told her that it was TRUE. God had sent a messenger to her, and with renewed faith in a future she couldn’t see, she felt peace envelop her like a warm embrace.
The dragonfly rearranged it’s wings, turned it’s head, and lifted two front legs in a gesture that resembled hands in Prayer. After several more minutes in companionable silence, the woman in her chair and the dragonfly on her stem, the crimson messenger lifted up and flew away.
Thank you! The Woman’s heart whispered after her new friend. Thank you!!!
Getting up slowly, not wanting to break the mood, she went inside to lay down and slept like she hadn’t slept in months. She knew now what she had to do.
And she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they would be alright.
This is a true story. It happened to me. Before you Poo Poo the thought of an animal speaking or dismiss it as the hallucinations of a stoner, I would encourage you to keep an open mind. We don’t know what we miss through unbelief. (smiling) Life is far more magical and mysterious than we know.
That wasn’t the last time that an animal spoke to me. I have more stories. Just remember: All living things have a voice – we only need to listen!
This is a photo of a red dragonfly that I took in 2007 while visiting the Huntington Library with my then ex-husband. We had divorced 2 years earlier, and remained friends through the process. 3 more years, and all of the kids grown and on their own, we reconciled completely and remarried Easter weekend, 2012. The Dragonfly’s message was absolutely spot on. Better days did come.