Secret Garden

I’ve become acutely aware that the 10 year anniversary of my accident is approaching. My mom hates that I remember it, but I do. Every single day. And as February 17th creeps closer, so does this sense of panic.

I specifically recall tell God I had to be okay because I had work to do here, still. Right now I impatiently wait for that feeling of any sort of accomplishment, of validation that I remained here and okay for a reason. I keep struggling with this idea of be patient. I wish I had the ability to trust more. To feel certainty in surrendering control to a power more knowledgeable than myself. Its always the same issue.

Usually I’m waiting on money. Right now, financially I am set. And then when I think money is the answer…I’m faced with needing my car to be shipped and having to wait and rely on someone other than myself to get it done. I wish I could explain what it does to me to have to need other people. It enrages me. I feel useless, helpless, powerless, defeated, weak, and most of all vulnerable.

As if it weren’t enough, last week I started fighting against this “Ick” my body felt. And this morning, no car and feverish I ask the universe: in how many ways do you need me to feel like shit?

And I get it. My word for the year is surrender. Yet, I never meant surrendering control or surrendering to someone else’s timing. God doesn’t seem to care about my interpretation of the word, God just cares that I do it. Why is it so hard? 

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I think about what it means to me that I am not vulnerable. It means that I am capable, strong, intelligent, and put together. There is an element of disheveled that I associate with vulnerable. Not being put together is among my tip 5 pet peeves. I guess my big work is to understand these things are not opposites and that vulnerable does not mean weak, or incapable, or powerless.

The things that I keep in the garden…that’s the stuff, I suppose, that is at the crux of this. I’ve built walls around my heart because I know where I’ve been after it broke and I never want to go back there. But what I never realized was that in trying to stay so strong, I’ve made anything that threatens vulnerability a weapon against me. Whereas, if I were open to it then it would not be so threatening.

But the truth is, I don’t want my heart broken again. It nearly killed me the first time. And I suppose it wasn’t just the devastatingly swift blow of rejecting, but also unhappiness, and the grief of my own expectations. I was a widow of many husbands. But one thing is certain–I can’t keep up this fight. Did it take me 10 years after begging to live to begin doing so?

I Princeton California?

The first night of Adult Development we took an offering. A gift that symbolized some significant point in our own development. I took my Princeton hoodie, and I explained that while I didn’t go to Princeton, P2AD did and when I wear it I feel love. It reminds me of the point in my life when I made the decision to do everything from love, rather than fear. Ironically that is when I left him. Yesterday we had group projects and one group did a montage (holon) of our gifts. When I tell you everybody was moved…everybody was moved. And many of us were in tears. The thing for me is that I was slow to even get it until I saw the Princeton crest and I thought oh how serendipitous…oh waaaaiiiit. Then it clicked. It was so thoughtful and meant so much that they even remembered our gifts and our stories. One member later explained that she didn’t want to mess up the gifts and she changed mine from the hoodie to the crest but I still got it; oddly enough for me, Princeton emotes love. I was hesitant to share that with P2AD because its not about being in love with him or wanting him or anything like that. And I didn’t want him to think anything deeper into it that what I was offering. I did tell him. He didn’t react much. At least not openly. But I didn’t expect him to. As much as the hoodie is about him, it isn’t. Even when I wasn’t speaking to him I wore it. I probably always will. Love isn’t monopolized by one person, and it can’t be. Thank god. In class last week (I don’t event remember the day, because they all blur together) we had to think of a part of us that is underdeveloped, name the barriers in development, the loss that would come, and then an action plan to develop it. I listed my physical/somatic being as underdeveloped. No surprise here, I can’t seem to get going on this goal… the barriers were time, but not because of my schedule. I found myself telling too much truth lol. When I wake up early I have a bunch of people to talk to because I still live an east coast social life. Before I moved, waking up at 6 to go run is something Janika and I did for months! Now waking up at 6 means people I love are at 9 and can chat with me. Also when I get off work, I come home. And I mostly engaged with those same east coast people. The loss, then, would be that time with the people I love. That hurt so badly to write. The reason it would hurt so much is because at home I have a system of support and feel embedded in it. If we’re talking Kegan, I am in interpersonal and so much of me is defined by my relationships. But the reality is, I left. There is this Plotkin wheel which places late adolescence in the south and early adulthood in the west. The early adulthood phase is called wanderer in the cocoon and is categorized by this idea of leaving home and moving into the unknown. Even though I had read the words before, I wasn’t reading them from a place of me, Jessica. They felt so heavy in my arms this time. I literally moved from the south to the west, I left home, I am surrounded by so much unknown I don’t know which way is up sometimes. I am establishing myself in a career and in a new city. I need to behere. I cannot continue to live in San Diego but not live in San Diego. Much of that tension comes from my social/relational needs. Many of the people I am closest with are in committed relationships here. I am not, and so they don’t have as much free time as a single, and often engage with other couples or really, with each other. I am close with Fenway and Mass Elle, but coordinating our lives is a bit challenging. We’re all balancing a million different things for school. I really think that’s why I was so excited about Sorority X. To give me a homebase again. My plan to overcome my barrier was given to me by a classmate. She said to make working out social. It made me miss M3, terribly, and then think how hard its been to make any kind of quality friend and now I’m supposed to find one to work out with? I will put it out to the universe. I often say that my life is not about me, and I believe that to be true. However, I cannot let my calling to serve be an excuse to neglect myself. I can only give when I am healthy and able. I have to remember that. The best of me is needed. That means prioritizing my health and physical well being. My system is still t(here), but I need to start living in California.

At 28…

When I was in Nashville, a friend of Ne’s turned 28 and we went out for lunch. I told him as a birthday gift I would give him some wisdom about being 28. It was totally in jest, but lately it has occurred to me that there are definitely some things that I am doing differently in this, my 28th year. 

For one, shame is rare.  I feel as though I am in a very honest place. I do some things very well, and I am working to improve others daily…but I am very open about it all. I choose to live my life so openly in large part because I feel better when I do, but also because of my mother. She is seriously the most audacious person I have ever met, and while I do not have as much gall as my mother, I can finally look at her openness as an admirable trait rather than feeling embarrassed by her honesty.

I keep a good circle. I told Ne’s friend that at 28 I am not afraid of losing friends, if they want to go then I let them. And sometimes it is me who wants to go, in those instances I do so with certainty. I trust myself more. And similarly I trust the “grand scheme of things,” and know that things will always work out in the end just the way they were supposed to.

I recognize my strengths and opportunities and am not afraid to be wrong or ignorant. This may be another trait I got from my mother, but she is a question asker. She wants to know how to do what she cannot do. I have become more of this person. I want my credit to improve, so I research how to improve it. I open up my mouth and ask my financial aid counselors about my process, I inquire about everything and educate myself as much as I can. It makes me a resource to others.

I have made peace with just me. My mother, sister, and I were on the phone and my sister is 16, newly dating a guy and he called her too early (aka before noon). My sister being the spitfire that she is said “uh let’s not make this a habit, okay?” As my mom and I laughed at her she asked, “am I doing something wrong?” I told her no and not to change. He obviously likes her for just who she is, and I don’t want my sister to ever be one of those women who needs a man to feel good about herself nor twists herself into a pretzel to please one. I am just now at peace with who I am, my habits my ways my looks my personality, and I am happy in my own company. If I never find a mate, someone to share my life with…of course I would grieve and mourn that, but I would be okay. I am confident in my own resilience. 

I am absolutely in love with life right now. I have the best family, friends, career and I just feel full of joy yet calm. I feel at peace. At 28, I do not hold on to unrest. I love the ease of calm waters, gentle ebb and flow. I am happy, and if growing older means more joy then bring on 29.