Monday: Recently, I have had to do some hard, scary things including saying no to a dear friend because what she wants to do doesn't feel right even though letting her down feels worse, reading stories about the lowest points of my life on stage and turning over things and projects and ideas and outcomes I want to control. We're talking rocket science, brain surgery, airplane jumping here. I was so relieved to learn the term vulnerability hangover from Brené Brown's Daring Greatly as it helped make sense of the last few weeks. Sometimes naming something changes it completely, like Drumpf. Saturday we had our friends who are musicians and geography and mindfulness teachers over for Burrito Night and we spent the entire time talking about farting. And I laughed until I cried. And God called it good.
Tuesday: This morning as a murder of crows landed on a rooftop just off the overpass, it hit me that the world is magical and majestic even if it is most certainly going to hell in a hand basket, that there is still joy and beauty in cracks and rooftops and alleyways no matter how ludicrous or terrifying the political landscape. And then in class people wrote who'd never written before and and people cried when they read what they wrote who'd never cried when they'd read what they'd written before and I thought it is true, beautiful things can and do come out of hell.
Wednesday: Last night a student said to me that the word she would use to describe me is fearless. And then she thought, wait a minute, Valley is actually scared all the time but she does shit anyway. Yes, I said, it's true. I'm scared shitless of moving forward but I'm scared even more shitless of staying still. So, sometimes being brave for me is accomplishing nothing, like happened on Sunday. Stan had to write a paper about NATO for VCU and Henry was on a play date and I felt this tremendous anxiety and need to seize the day! and carpe diem! Or at least conquer new territory and resolve past issues. But then I had the revolutionary idea that maybe I could just do nothing. Too bad ancient religions didn't come up with such a profound spiritual discipline It was hard but good. I accomplished nothing as fearlessly as I could.
Thursday: I am once again without skin and vulnerable with too many sharp, jabby, rough things poking in. I guess this is the blessing but so often the curse of feeling everything. I'd really like to take a few weeks off to work on my armor, my resiliency, to thicken my skin. I'd like a few bodyguards and a lot more contracts that once signed could never be broken. I'd like fewer wrinkles in the universe or my plans, more guarantees, less double meanings, less weeping. I suck at holding it in, I have no poker face, I am literally an open book. I feel like a box marked fragile that's been delivered upside down. Sometimes putting it on paper though, rights me back up.
Friday: Confidence is a glimmery, slippery fish. I wish I could hold it firm, solid in my grip. I laughed in class this week and also cried, a big ugly cry with running mascara and snot and tissues and it didn't hurt that there were 7 or 8 compassionate, physically attractive faces smiling and mmmming and oooohing back at me who were able to listen but didn't have to say or do or fix anything. Growth is a painful process, even at its best. Growing pains. Adulting pains. Maturing Pains. Fearlessly Doing Nothing Pains. Setting Boundaries Pains. Vlunerablity Pains. Trusting God Pains. But I also know there's something beautiful on the other side if I can hang on and keep showing up, even, especially scared shitless.