Your Worth Never Fades

Posted on October 1, 2015

I was scrolling through Twitter the other night when an update popped up:

“It’s been a night, is what I’m saying.”

Then I saw another from someone else:

“Having a really really really really bad fucking day.”

A week ago I saw an Instagram post that carried a similar tone:

“…And I’m trying. But I can’t do it all.”

I read a post from a dear friend that was titled Casseroles for Depression.

Jenny Lawson has Furiously Happy on the New York Times Best Seller list.

The reality is that for all the people complaining that Facebook is a waste land of carefully constructed, emotionally inaccurate representations of people and their lives, there are many ripples in social media and day to day life that are honest declarations of pain, struggle, and faltering hope.

When I saw this quote shared by my friend Lotus, I inhaled sharply, feeling the clarifying sting of a remarkable truth. I do not say this to dismiss anyone trying to get through something, but rather to emphasize how much we are all going through. Pema Chödrön

We are not our pain.

We are not our shitty days.

We have not failed if we aren’t over it or are still dealing with it. It isn’t wrong if you talk about it or if you prefer not to.

Whether we are struggling to find the energy to nod our heads or sprinting from something, our inherent worth never fades.

Your worth never fades.

I promise.



Limiting “All”

Posted on September 19, 2015

Six months ago, give or take, I discovered a new word. It was love at first sight. I loved the way I couldn’t say it without making a funny face or how reading its definition felt like permission granted. habseligkeiten, which I never want to capitalize because it feels as if it deserves to live forever as a lowercase word, a member of the eternal tribe of dreamers and collectors, discoverers and believers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 11.02.13 AM


Montages danced before me of bits of bark, ends of ribbons, metal shavings, and dry eraser ink stained tissues. A lump threatened in my throat as guilt lanced me, all the things I’ve tossed into garbage bags.

We can’t keep every single thing that we collect or sustain an impenetrable awareness of value. I cannot be entirely childlike or perfectly adult; it’s why each chunk of life is so beautiful and maddening. Time softens what we remember, yearning polishes what we don’t yet have, but in between, if we allow it, we can let the corners touch.

I let the crown of clovers sit precariously on the tower that’s built on the wedge step halfway up the stairs.

I recycle the fifteenth worksheet that comes home from school.

Baby teeth tumble from underwear and sock drawers, I keep some and toss others.

Yesterday a friend posted something online. She and I have only met once in person, but the words and images she shares online are part of my grown up collection trove. She is someone whose heart and perspective sprang from the clutter of the internet, like bits of quartz that used to catch my eye on hikes as a little girl. Her post was different than usual, tired and a bit sad. It made sense, I completely related to it, and yet it got me thinking about habseligkeiten and how we adults have something too. It isn’t collecting, rather it’s chasing what can never be caught. It is the opposite of the believing we did as kids. It’s not hopeful pursuit.

It needs a word; it is the futile idea that there is chase we can give to the idea of all that will actually yield triumph.

notjoymorehurt might work.

Sean sent me on a run last night, too many consecutive days of tears and inability to articulate the core of my sadness. He knew, as so often happens, better than I did what was needed to restore my perspective. My feet hit the pavement and each step rattled the sorrow, every ragged breath drew in new hope. I ran through the events of the last week—a woman in my ragtag, decade-old writing tribe took her own life, a dream was dashed as a rejection letter hit my inbox, pitches I put my heart in for work yielded more rejection, 6th grade mean girls, the relentless 3:55am wake up call from the cat, wanting to write, not wanting to write, undercooked chicken.

Why do these things sometimes pile up, catching in my brain and heart in ways that I can’t unlock? How is it that any of us get the idea that it is possible to bob and weave through all that life throws at us without tripping?

There is certain sadness in life, people will die, shit will break, people will say no. Why do we think “all” is attainable or that “balance” can be achieved? What I learned this week is that we have limits.

There is such a thing as too much, just as there is not enough. I want to become better at identifying my limits, honoring other people’s limits, and exploring a life that doesn’t test all of it quite so much.


If you are sad or angry, if you are constantly muttering under your breath, “I don’t think I can do this” or “How am I going to get through this?” I hope that you will listen to the nudges that you ought to go for a run or answer the call of that book that is begging you to take it in your arms. Unclench your hand, let everything fall down, if for no other reason than to give your arm a rest and to regather the things so they fit better in your hand.

We are all sitting precariously on towers of our own making. They don’t have to reach the sky or carry the world, they just need to hold us and that starts with us accepting that “all” is not something we even want.


Time Melts

Posted on September 16, 2015





Since that perfect September day I have come to know how time can melt and freeze over and over again.

I’ve held it in my hand, a shimmering form icy and wondrous.

I’ve felt it rushing through my fingers, rivulets coursing in countless directions.

I can neither slow it nor predict its pace.

Mostly, I try to accept its rhythm, trusting that each shift reveals more of who she is and the pattern of where she’s been and how she has been never leave my soul.








Happy Birthday sweetest Briar.

The Distance Up Close

Posted on September 14, 2015


The ground beneath me is moving in ways that surprise me. It’s like I have one contact in and one out; some things are in perfect focus while others force me to squint and rub my eye. The hardest thing is knowing when it’s meant to be blurry.

Am I crying?

Where is the bird’s eye view I’ve come to expect?

I long to have my response be smooth and natural, but it’s more like a violent lurch and stumble. When I manage to back off I worry that it’s motivated more by fatigue and irritability than genuine awareness that I ought to give the girls space. Then when I stay close it nags at me that I’m creating an unnatural tether that keeps them from moving toward new things.

The first day back to school was a study in spacing. It was the first time that Avery would ride the bigger kid bus with Briar, leaving Finley home for another hour and then off to ride the younger kid bus alone. Briar and Avery wanted us all to walk to the bus together, but then they didn’t want us to stand and watch right at the stop. Actually, that was Sean; he thought we should stand back a bit.

Last year Briar had figured out how to get out the door on time, alone. I remember being shocked, I hadn’t been ready to have someone else decide how I would or wouldn’t participate in something. This year Ave was uncharacteristically tentative, yet she didn’t want help. She wanted to steep in the newness and figure it out herself. Finley floated between us all, moving in tight with her sisters and then away, a new independence and sense of identity overshadowing any nerves about riding alone or being left behind.

I’d been preparing for each of the girls to be at a different school this year, but there was a primal flinch. My instinct was to fight the scattering, gather them all back up in one tidy cluster. The bus drove away and as I slowly turned, I saw that Fin was halfway home. I marveled at how the four of them seemed to understand where they belonged. Sean took my hand and we walked.

“This is nice,” he said softly.

I paused. Was it?

I loved holding his hand and watching Finley skip happily ahead. Behind us I knew both girls were excited about the new schools waiting at the end of the bus route.

Is it ok to feel happy that they are moving toward needing me less? Should I not have this sadness that I’m not needed? Or that the focus is shifting? What about the frustration when I am needed?

We walked up to the house and poured ourselves a second cup of coffee. I took mine upstairs to do my hair. I had 45 free minutes. I stared at my reflection in the mirror, surveyed the countertop with its tubs and tubes of skin potions. They aren’t mine; the girls have started asking about break outs. I told them I’d buy things they could use if they needed them. They’ve been washing their faces each night, earnest about this emerging need for self-care. My own creams and toners sit untouched.

As the girls become undeniably closer to teenagers than little girls I feel my age more. How can the butterflies of my own back-to-school memories seem so recent, yet the reflection in the mirror such a far cry from who I was? Friends talk about kids getting bigger and free time opening up in new ways.

Couple time.

Alone time.

Then they talk about how it actually gets harder. Sure, you’re not tying your kids’shoes but you have new, more perilous responsibilities. I flirt with clinging to their stories of how it changes, taking the words as a soothing and literal description of what comes next. That’s no better than borrowing someone else’s glasses. It’s different for all of us.

It really does feel as if my vision is constantly struggling to adapt to the proximity of everything, or the distance, and to understand which way I am going.



Maybe it’s really my heart. I can’t get it to focus as it flutters between fearing loss and yearning to help everyone take flight.

How about you? Do things get blurry from time to time?





Sun Beams & Ballads

Posted on August 26, 2015

I love the transition into fall, always have. The gentle tug, much like a torn muscle or broken skin that gets tight as it’s healing and then eventually loosens up a bit, keeps me awake emotionally. I’ve always known the tug was time, something I’ve feared as being scarce and unpredictable. I am calmly resigned to its weight.

This season is feeling noticeably different to me. As I experience the generous moments of time slowing, allowing me to freeze the frames, I am more struck by where we are and for how brief a moment.

I may be rambling, but I’m grateful for it—for all of the sticky yet slippery emotions of nowthen and almost here and remember when. Grief and celebration as a weight on my chest is not so much a fear of time, but a deep gratitude for all the time that I have had.

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