Peeling Back The Layers


It's a little bit strange to be writing again, and openly, about myself, and more at length. Especially about something like my body, and being sick, which is inherently a vulnerable place.  There's definitely a part of me that doesn't want to share pieces of myself, or feels like it's TMI or garish, or it's just not the stuff people will be interested in. When I think about writing though, I've found it more compelling to ask: "Is this voice I'm writing from something that draws me in? Is what I'm writing resonant to me?  Is motherhood, and all the challenges that come with being alive, and being a woman, and being on a what sometimes feels and seems like a rather convoluted life path, contained by all the markers of a very ordinary life (marriage! house! baby! Asheville!) — is that experience something I want to know more about?"

For the most part, yes, it is. And no, sometimes not, but mostly yes, because the more I've opened up about my life, the more I've discovered, the more support from people/the universe has happened. The deeper I go with myself, the richer it becomes, and if anything I've learned about myself is that skating and staying on the surface of things is definitely not what pulls me in. Going through the motions just because, as inherent to life as they are, pretty much bore me to pieces. Yes, someone has to do the dishes. Yes, I like boring TV sometimes. Yes, I sleep in a bed every night except for the occasion I'm in a tent. But on the whole, a sense of discovery and openness and vulnerability and intimacy is what fuels my desire to do anything (everything).

This last phase has been particularly challenging, and not in the way I expected it. I started writing about it here last time, in what I thought and hoped was nearing the end of that experience. The end of being sick, and the beginning of being healthy. The beginning of myself again. I was feeling really good for many days in a row, not just normal, but good, like some power was emerging that had been growing inside myself and was finding it's way to the surface. And then... and then... it hit me again. A flare, all my symptoms returning, and it was hard not to fall into the despair that comes with that. Since I've begun this healing work on myself though, I've continued to find out that this, like so many things, is very non-linear. It plays hide and seek. It comes and goes. I'll have a breakthrough of some kind, and then another layer appears, another round of discomfort. A ripple or a wave experienced. But it sure is frustrating to have a small cup of coffee after not having it for months, and then go into flare.

The acupuncturist I've been seeing has been particularly helpful when I've reached my edge about this. What is happening? Why was I better last week, and now I'm not?  When I voiced some of my frustrations to her she told me, it was actually OK to have a setback; that a setback may not even be a setback because it's really just peeling back layers to get to the source and heal from the bottom up. And as we peel layers back, new things may emerge which seem like we've taken a step back when we're actually making progress.

And, that. So that, you know? That is exactly what I needed to hear, and also what I truly believe. You don't just arrive and then you're there. You're always arriving, and always there, and where you're at is part of why you're here, and the setbacks are also sometimes the only way to reveal the truth, and going deeper is sometimes the only way through it. I actually feel like rolling my eyes at some of this stuff, because I know how hard it is when you're actually in it, AND I also think it's true even when it sucks. Like Churchill once said, when you're going through hell, keep going.

Of course, I also feel fed up with it. Like truly, I am over it, done, goodbye forever, case closed. I can not wait to put a nail in this coffin and bury it in the ground. Ha, no, I guess not yet. I cried a lot this weekend, and flailed and got angry, and felt like it was unfair. I missed a friend's kids birthday party because I just felt so sad about not being able to drink beer and eat nachos and birthday cake (I'm on this autoimmune paleo diet, which I'll write more about, but let's just say it is the hardest and least exciting experience I've ever had, although it does "work"). I basically hate any diet that reinforces deprivation especially for women, but here I am, so I'm sure it has something to teach me.

I don't know — this isn't something I can wrap up at all, just like I can't sum up being a mom, or my feelings about the patriarchy, or being in love — there are so many nuances and subtleties and that's why I want to write about them, and share some of that, because the nuances and the in betweens and the meaning-making is actually where the magic happens. I do know that much. On some intuitive level, I know the reason I got sick was so that I could go deeper with my writing, and my voice, and find a way to more fully develop that. And that draws me in for sure. That is compelling.

And we're going to the beach Thursday for a wedding, and it's fall, and my kid is begging me to come to the sandbox, and if I can't eat nachos I can still eat roasted butternut squash tonight, and that's like like pretty all right for a Monday. It's not perfect, but I'll take it.

Moriah Norris-HaleComment