Day #85: Childhood-Wild and Free

I was sitting on this bench waiting for Adalie to come out of her school. First, I heard a mother scolding her child for honking her horn. Then I hear a daycare teacher hushing a group while she was waiting on the rest of the children. Finally, a little boy runs up to my bench, climbs up it, jumps off, and rolls down the hill in the grass. His mother, close behind, immediately starts in on him. Now he’s dirty, now he’ll get her car dirty, now she’ll have to wash his jacket.

And it all made me realize how hard we work to contain children. The wild, raw energy that’s so curious and uninhibited. Such beauty in their excited voices, their wild eyes, their never ending flow of body, and their wide, wide smiles.

I watched her later that evening, dancing around the living room in her sequins and wild colors. Her body vibrant with movement, her checks flushed, and her voice strong.

And I thought about what all we do to quiet that voice in a child. In the hallways and the lunchrooms, in the night hours and church services. We “shh” their comments and frown at their inquiries. I send her nonverbal cues that her continuous talking annoys me.

I didn’t want to run today. I’m still just so tired. But I got out there and I chose to do it, it wasn’t even too bad. But I thought as I ran about how life can feel like this run, obligated, serious, and necessary, but not fun. I vowed to enjoy my ball of fun as much as I could tonight with her loud ways, her literal comments, and her ever-changing moods. I vowed to enjoy her sparkles and laughter, her stories and energy. I vowed to love her tonight with as little control as necessary. Because we are given the freedom to be and express ourselves–why shouldn’t a child?

Young blonde girl with flushed cheeks asleep on a colorful blanket.

Day #73

Today I failed. I was supposed to run six miles per the training app we are following. We got to the gym one hour before it closed. They turned the lights out on me right after I finished mile five…

I know I should be okay with running the five. I did hills the first three miles. I ran without stopping for a breather for four miles which is the longest I’ve managed thus far. I finished five miles in an hour. This should all be enough…

But the bar was set at six… my Love finished six… and I missed the mark…

As much as I didn’t want to be, I was disappointed in myself. I’ve always been the token first-born overachiever… or at least up until the last couple of years. Then I realized something that shook my whole life up… achievement doesn’t fulfill me. I have been the one to never give up, even when giving up would have served me better. I have been the perfectionist, the dependable one, the “hardest working person in show biz” as my dad likes to call me.

But I realized a few years ago that no one is really going to remember me for my achievements and no one really cares much if I’m the best. I learned the hard way that if who I am isn’t good enough to begin with, then no matter how hard I work to prove myself, I will just never be good enough for that person, that religion, that marriage. And I finally did the one thing I never thought I could do, I quit. I walked away holding my breath and terrified. And when I got outside in the dark in the night in the aloneness, I though I would die, I thought I would be punished, I thought I would crumble to pieces.

I remember marveling at the night when I first left my former life. I would put Adalie to sleep and take a blanket and just lay in the night. And instead of terror, I found hope. Hope in feeling connected without feeling condemned. Hope in the stars that share dust with me. Hope in living by the dark, of not needing to have all the answers to enjoy the day, embrace this life, and love without condition.

My failed run… it is only a blip on the scale of failures I have achieved… I failed huge a few years ago and it was the most liberating experience of my life…

Try it, my gentle readers, fail sometime when failing serves you best… embrace the dark… and just breathe…