I can hear the wind through the palmettos. It’s a very distinctive sound. The leaves are long & thick, fanning down, ending in points. It’s winter in Florida, so the tips fade to a lime green, golden yellow, then burnt out brown. When the lazy gulf breeze meanders through them, making the waxy leaves click together it sounds exactly like rain. Like rain gently falling on spring leaves. Do you remember those rains sticks when we were kids? They were so popular. I loved them, they transported me. I could bring clean nature to my room in the dirty city anytime I wanted, on command. They sound just like that. When you turn the rain stick real slow, & the little beads fall gingerly in that hollow tube? That’s what these trees sound like.
I’ve been listening to the wind though the trees all over the country for the past four years. I think these are my favorite. It’s like… coming home.
I’ve been wandering.
Last year I went quiet. Inward.
A lot changed. It was a catalyst really. A necessary one.
When I’m alone, on my long walks with my girls, or on my mat moving & breathing, or in my home with the windows open & the sound of trees, my mind is full of words. An overwhelming amount of words, I can’t shut it the hell up.
But when I sit down to write: nothing. Blocked up. Silence.
I’ve had it on my calendar to “return to my blog” since October 2019. Like I said, I disappeared & processed through a lot last year. My mind is full of thoughts to share. But let’s back up for a sec. Why share my thoughts in a public space?
That was the first question that I needed to process through & which initiated my removal from social last year. I am fully aware that I was one of “those” people that opened up a lot on social media. To be completely honest (dagnabbit here I go again) my initial removal from social happened because I entered into a severe & dark depression. Then came the paranoia & insecurity. A boundary I always set for myself is, if I’m not emotionally, mentally stable enough, then I will not post vulnerable things in a public space. Soooo I stopped.
Then, I realized how much I thoroughly enjoyed the break & I continued with it. It was so refreshing to wake up in the morning & not go straight to my phone. It was so freeing to go on a hike & not even carry a phone, heaven forbid! It, lo & behold, started healing my marriage, to go on a date & not even bring my phone along, much less take pics to show the world how amazing our dates are. I know yall, this is pathetic, these realizations. But social/our phones have a way of creeping in, ninja-like, until it’s controlling our lives & we don’t even realize it.
Anyways. I cleansed. Cleansed my brain. And then, the real painful process started happening. Every time I reached for my phone to “check social” I asked myself the simple, yet powerful question: “Why?”
Why am I reaching for my phone right now?
Why am I going to Facebook/Instagram/Whatever?
What am I avoiding?
What emotional need am I filling right NOW?
What affirmation am I looking for, that I’m not getting from my spouse (eek), or other healthy place, but that I’m getting from these strangers & likes?
When I reach for my phone very first thing in the morning, WHY?
My husband & I get in an argument, what’s my first reaction? You guessed it: social. WHY?
Here’s the doosey: WHY am I posting this perfectly curated picture of me? With a filter on my face?
The list goes on.
These questions led to other questions, which led to others, which led to long walks with my girls, me disappearing in my head, wandering among the trees, emotionally removing myself from Andrew, drowning in insecurity, feeling confused & alone in the arms of my soul mate, getting lost in addiction, which led to a change in my meds, then a $175 visit to a psychologist & finally the open arms of the gulf.
“The voice of the sea is seductive; never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander for a spell in abysses of solitude; to lose itself in mazes of inward contemplation.” Chopin
The ocean is my release. My overwhelming thoughts expanded out into the abyss, the weight of my emotions releasing into the sand, heavy, sinking, draining from my body. My breath returned. The deep, rootfull breath. The kind that expands your ribs, stretches your stomach, the exhale that releases tension from your neck & shoulders. The places where stagnant suffering gathers.
So to loop back to my original question: Why share my thoughts in a public space?
First, I sought advice from women in my life who know me: the good, bad & very ugly. And second, but most importantly (& really first) I came home, returned to my First Love.
Here’s the deal yall, we all got our struggles. All of us. We all have our gifts & skill sets. I’m still figuring out exactly what I have to offer this world, but I do know this: because of my personal anguish with my mental health; with Bipolar, with depression, addiction, body image issues, OCD, paranoia, insecurity, & on & on, you get it… it has given me extreme empathy for you. And what you’re going through.
I do not open up just for shits & giggles. I’m returning from the trees with a clear purpose: to share my story in hope that you will find hope.
I’ve been dealing with my issues for 35 years. That’s long enough to build some pretty stable coping tools, but young enough to realize that I still have a lot to learn & there is a world of wisdom in those older than me. It is so encouraging to know that I have others to learn from; I am not in this battle alone.
You are not in this battle alone.
Which brings me to my final & main point.
When I say that I’ve been wandering, I mean it in every sense of the word.
If you’re just now joining me, one thing to know is I grew up in a Good Christian Home (really, my parents really are amazing, no sarcasm, very thankful) and I was a “Good Little Christian Girl.” (Slight sarcasm there folks.)
If you stick with me, I might use some Christian lingo, I can’t help it. It sneaks out from time to time. Andrew & I call them “bingo words.”
A relationship with a nonvisible God is quite an… interesting thing. This is where my words start to fail me.
These past couple of years I wandered into deep darkness.
Into rebellion, anger, rage.
I was tense when I woke up & pissed off when I went to sleep.
In a sense I feel like I’m finally coming out of that darkness, into the 90-degree warm gulf sun. Coming home.
God was not waiting for me here in the sunshine, where I “feel” him most easily.
He was alongside me in the darkness, when my emotions were cut off.
He was giving me grace after grace after grace when I chose those “other things” in my rebellion instead of his peace beyond understanding.
He was in the sunset on those long walks with my happy girls when they were playing in Boulder Lake in Pinedale, Wyoming, the golden hills of the high mountain desert in the background, lit up by the magical evening light. Sand in their paws, chasing sticks, happy yips.
Even when I don’t “feel it,” he’s there. Quiet. Patient. Faithful.
He was there in my wandering.
And he’s here now, in this place of rest.
The wind through the palmettos. Like gentle rain on spring leaves.
I share my story with the hope that you feel less alone in your struggles. If you have any questions, need someone to talk to that understands, or simply want to connect, contact me!!