This morning is actually Tuesday. It’s a cool, quiet morning… the kind that lends itself to some introspection. Mike, Shelby and I will be headed to the mountains in 2 days, to explore the Smokies and watch the Eclipse. Service down there will be sketchy, hence the early writing time this week. Maybe it’s the trip coming up, or my friend passing away recently, but this morning has definitely had me thinking deeply about a lot of things. As I wrote in my journal, which I often do in the morning, I felt like suddenly some things began to take form and become clear that have felt very hazy for some time.
In my journal, I wrote about having coffee with a fellow widowed friend last week, whom I discovered also came from an alcoholic upbringing like I did. As we talked, so very many “odd” parts of ourselves emerged… a feeling of “otherness” that we have had all our lives. A tendency to seem “overly” sensitive to other people about certain things. Social anxiety and discomfort blending our public and private lives. Keeping people at a distance. I had always thought my mother’s death when I was 9 created much of this, but as it turns out, it was probably due to both that and my dad’s drinking combined into a lovely cocktail of chaos.
It’s been many years since I have really talked in detail with anyone about these parts of my history and myself. I don’t think I’m trying to hide it… it’s more just that it feels like no one really wants to hear about any of that. It makes people uncomfortable. Just like grief does. So just like with grief, you get good at just putting it away in a little cabinet inside your heart… waiting until maybe you meet someone else with that same curious cabinet. When you do find someone who knows your same story and you both get to open up that cabinet a little bit, it’s a beautiful feeling. A feeling that you aren’t alone. It’s also a feeling that even though you aren’t “normal” because of this thing in your past, it’s okay, because someone else is just as “unnormal” as you and they don’t mind knowing that part of you. Even better, they want to know that part of you. So it turned out, my coffee date with a fellow widowed person helped each of us feel less alone with more than just grief about our dead people.
It was enough to remind me of what it felt like to have a sense of community around me that accepts and embraces the darker parts of my life as much as the light. People you can drop your armor with, and not feel as though you have to be happy and interesting all the time.
It was a relief, that coffee date, and reminded me that it's time I search out not just random new friendships where I now live, but deeper relationships with communities that understand what it's like to live with some darkness inside you… people who want to know and appreciate others with some of that darkness.
I know, for one, I am looking so forward to attending Camp Widow Toronto in a few short months… the most amazing community I have been fortunate - or unfortunate - enough to be a part of.
I'm hoping also, that I find something I've been looking for on this trip to the mountains. It seems my soul is searching, and I have this strong feeling I can't shake, that something incredible is waiting for me there. I’m feeling led there in this inexplicable way… a feeling I have felt before in the past. So I’m following it to see where it takes me. Quite literally, there's nowhere to go but up.