Panning for Character Gold

Happy Easter, heroes. 

I hope, for those of you who observe the day, that it was full of blessings, graces, and the best of all the things you love. As I plop myself down at my writing desk, I can look through the door, across the hall, and see the doorways into the rooms wherein my children are sleeping soundly after a full day of creating childhood memories. The best Goodnight, Mom. Love you. will always come from an exhausted kid trudging across the carpet to bed.

So, my Easter joy is for more than my own personal salvation (and God sure does know this soul needs saving on the regular).

 

I know I’ve disappeared a little bit lately, and by way of explanation, the resurrection theme is really applicable. To catch up on the general first, in February I started work as a substitute teacher (can’t remember whether or not I mentioned that for the time gap in writing here, but it definitely is fodder for its own post). In that I had taken a few months away from conventional work environs to get myself straight and adjust my kids a little, I felt renewed enough to take advantage of the offer to be in and around the schools relevant to my family. Doing this did keep my weight loss initiative permanently derailed as far as reaching for a specific number. I never made it below 150lbs, and I’m currently hanging out in that area, which is fine. What is necessary for me to get to the target 145-area takes a lot of work for my body, and I haven’t quite found the work-life balance to comfortably work that into daily life since the nature of substitute teaching is picking up teacher absences on the fly.

Also, after a day in the classroom, I am straight up spent, y’all. It is too real.

So there really isn’t much to report, as my energy in that area has shifted a smidge off weight loss to focus on regaining abilities and strengths lost over time, along with reacquainting myself to the grinding programming I have loved to write for myself. Diet is still pretty sharp with real food thanks largely to the fact that teaching hours dictate smart, small lunches and allow afternoon hours to cook meaningful suppers. HIIT has successfully transitioned to my backup training method. I am running/jumping/burpee-ing without pain in my boulder-smashed foot, which has led to the slow movement away from my faithful elliptical. Overall, my initiative was pretty successful where general goals were concerned.

Per the specific measurement goals…well, the kids decided that they needed to use my measuring tape to label the lengths and widths of polygons in their rooms. I had resolved to use yarn and a yard stick until my son- who started baseball last month- wanted to see if my yard stick could send a baseball as far as his aluminum bat.

Lucas Baseball

Even with the smirk, I still find him cute enough for crimes against measuring utensils to be forgiven.

Thus, I don’t know what to tell you measurement-wise. I know that I look much more like myself, and things fit like they used to. Thicker in the hips, still, and a little straightening up left to do in the “mommy grew humans” area, but overall, this is good. As I’ve mentioned before, the only approach I’m willing to adopt with these kinds of things is one that feels like a do-able method of self-care. My body is a passing thought to onlookers or teammates when they see it; however, it has to be the vehicle for my soul and domestic happiness one hundred percent of my breathing hours. I’m the only person who has to be good with it, and since I’m not a particularly judgmental person, I’m not gonna judge myself into impossible fitness standards.

 

With all that said, re-approaching employment (this time meaningfully) and fitness from a place much more like the mom-ing I was doing prior to my divorce has put in perspective so much of the character development I have faced in the last several years. Whatever active coping the kids were dealing with and a few bad habits they picked up at daycare as a result of my working such a stressful gig have been largely mitigated, returning our home behaviors to the relaxed, real-talking, straight-shooting, honest-to-God loving interactions I had set out to have with them from birth. This gives them the sense of stability and confidence to express their feelings and opinions to me, which in turn helps the decision-making in the house about employment and fitness become amenable instead of something I have to buffer. Now that I know my kids feel secure in their home and their relationship with me again, I feel at peace enough with myself as a parent to allow for the luxury of engaging myself as everything else, turning inward and looking around at things as they are.

And let’s be clear: I am, in so many ways, a lot of everything else.

Not in that “extra,” diva-ed out sort of bizarrely-socially-acceptable-female way. I’m not one of those women who writes off poor or destructive behaviors with the meme, “If you can’t take me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best,” and then wears wine-themed yoga outfits to the micro-brewery where I will publicly trash my most recent ex-whatever.

Don’t even act like you don’t know who I’m talking about right now, because there’s at least three in your Facebook feed currently pseudo-triumphantly claiming to be proud of being “a lot [of flippin’ crazy].”

 

I’m much more in the vein of a chameleon. I possess the unique trait of having, authentically, an exhausting number of qualities and colors. Anais Nin once discussed in her letters to Henry Miller how loving someone or existing in comfort and relative safety made her want to lay bear all the many things she was and make a present of them, only to reject immediately and defiantly any attempt by anyone else to label or define her as any single one of them, spurring her to become yet another new thing. It wasn’t so much that she- or I, in this case- are truly becoming anything we aren’t already. Every version, every evolution of ourselves already exists somewhere within us, dormant, as true and sincere. We aren’t pretending, being deceptive, or running away at all. We’re merely drawing on pieces of us that feel necessary to the environment, then repackaging and presenting them without having the guilt of illusion or exhaustion of method acting.

Maybe I’ve done a poor job of differentiating between the normal person dealing with “necessity being the mother of all invention,” and the deep-well, dark water nature of certain personalities, but just roll with me here.

As I’m surfacing now in a time of respite, I find myself pulling threads in curiosity. Who do I lay things bear to, and what of me that I give is foundational? When I now have no one I need to “be,” when I’m “safe,” when I’m moving freely about the cabin…what is my resting state? Isn’t that a strange question to ask? It’s different from simply asking oneself, “Who am I?” in that I am and can be just about anything that’s required of me, and sincerely so. Rather, I am sifting through the parts of me that are smoke grenades and flash-bangs to identify the pieces of me that always survive periods of mandatory refinement.

I want to know what of me will always survive hell, face purification, and re-emerge at each personal resurrection.

 

Now you see where I’m going with this, right?

 

On a surface level, Easter is applicable in that I have suffered through many small deaths, and during that suffering, Christ suffered with me. I know this because my most human feelings of loneliness and sorrow were short-lived by an awareness that I was not truly alone, somehow, and as a Catholic, I know beyond the comfort of those who love me, that’s my soul recognizing Christ’s presence. When I experienced the darkness and fears that compelled me to beg God to spare me from the coming deaths, Christ and I were in Gethsemane. The scourging and asphyxiation that accompany emotional crisis were familiar to Christ through His Passion. And as I felt wrapped up in the tombs wherein I laid each loss, Christ was waiting to roll stones away when the time came to emerge.

In my faith, I can find several small Easters before the most recent and significant one, which has completed my process of seeking living things from among the dead. 

Further, my confirmation saint was none other than Mary Magdalene (patron saint of contemplative life, penitent sinners, those ridiculed for piety, and sexual temptation). Who was told not to seek Christ in the tomb. Who was told to bring others to see the evidence of The Resurrection.

It’s like God was trying to set me straight before I needed to be set straight following the realization that, internally, I was not straight- like Inception, Easter style.

But to get in a little further, what I’m looking for isn’t just a way to let go of the Good Friday part of recent years or to revel in the Easter Sunday I’m living in. I’m, in essence, mulling over the bit where Christ transcends His humanity and overcomes death. He was always God the Son. Being fully man, fully rabbi/healer/teacher/son/friend, did not change what He was. And not at all to be prideful or irreverent- but honest with my train of thought- I want to know, in the light of this Easter season, similarly what I always am on either side of what painful human experience necessitates. When I walk away from any and each tomb I find myself in for a time, what of me will always transcend other parts of my humanity and overcomes each death?

 

Does your brain hurt? This is a rough one.

 

In that I believe each person is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (read: you were made the way you are for a reason, and that’s good) and thus Anais and I are not chameleons unintentionally, I don’t really reject my being a composite of so many things. One day, when I talk about my views on what essential femininity is, I’ll tie that uniqueness into my identity as a good woman. With this, it’s the recognition, I think, that some qualities appear more often than others- or more often in optimal/difficult conditions- that causes me to pull threads a while, but with an approach of gratitude and safety, melding my spiritual life and intellectual life into one effort.

Anais

Pretty sure the dogs think I’m over-thinking this.

So, in this recent hiatus of posting, accidentally in line with Lent leading into this Easter Sunday, this has been my undertaking, in which I have made definite progress and welcomed back a goodly number of qualities I haven’t seen in a while. Yes, we’ve been doing cool stuff on all that acreage Darrin bought in the mountains. Yes, there have been other life revelations (which are yet more fodder for posts that will probably happen soon because my urge to write prolifically has come ’round again). Yes to all the stuff and things that have kept me also busy and not blogging.

But these 1,855 previous words are really more accurate as to why I haven’t been writing, and if you have caught or do catch me staring off silently, I’m just untangling strands.

2 thoughts on “Panning for Character Gold

  1. Pingback: A Note Out of Lunchbox Notes | Whiskey and Bobby Pins

  2. Pingback: Nuggets of Gold, Nuggets of Wisdom, and a Project for Nuggets Errwhere | Whiskey and Bobby Pins

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