Thursday, November 6, 2008


I was sitting outside finishing poemcrazy while sistermine worked a hide (more on that later) and the intermittent conversation fell to a doctor's visit that's on hold for me. I expressed frustration with my current struggle with depression. It's something I've dealt with since my early teens, with varying degrees of success. But even though I've been worse off than I am currently, I don't think I've ever felt worse about it.

Sistermine said, "You're almost 30. Things are different." She's right. A woman's hormones, and thus the chemical makeup of her brain, not to mention her body, changes around 30.

And though neither of us mentioned it at that point, it was hovering then, and was actually verbalized later. Grief makes a difference. I wanted to say it's part of the fabric of our lives, but isn't that true of everyone? Then I thought, no, furniture-- thinking of an elephant in the living room with a doily on his back-- but it's not that noticeable or that movable. Then I thought, it's like a room in the house we live in, but you can shut a room off and forget it's there. It's not like the house either, because there's more to life than grief.

Grief is like the color of the walls in the house I live in. When you're getting dressed to go to work, you probably don't notice it. But when you're thinking about adding a new lamp to the living room, it's there, with its say in the matter. It's there in the dark, when you're asleep and can't see it. It's there when you get up, though you may not look at it. It's there during your meals, just quietly in the background, influencing the way you feel and think, constricting your space.

I moved to the steps where I could feel the sun and sat down as I read of Wooldridge's breakdown. She speaks of unraveling a sweater to undo a faulty stitch before resuming a project.

"Sometimes, if things aren't going to fall apart, we have to take them apart. This may be what's heaped in a closet or it may be the way we've been living our lives.
Our culture doesn't see the value of this occurrence. When crisis or collapse is happening, it's almost impossible to recognize the unraveling, much less honor it."

Comparing my life now with last November-- it's so different. I'm a comparative hermit. I felt defeated. Then, squinting against the light, I read of Nobel Prize winning physicist Ilya Prigogine who

"showed that a period of dissolution is necessary before any system-- a cell, society, solar system or person-- can jump to a higher level of organization. Seen this way, unraveling is a vital, creative event making room for the new."

Recommended Daily Dose of Art: cairn
As I read Wooldridge's words, I heard my own as I was speaking to sistermine, dwelling on the past, wanting to 'get back' to where I was. And her words, "What used to work won't work anymore. What didn't work before may work now."

And I realized that it's not just that my level of depression and level of successful dealing that's changed. Everything's changed. And nothing's going back to how it was. Time doesn't reverse itself and some things can't be undone. I realized that trying to get back was a waste of energy and what I need to do is move through.

Wooldridge goes on to speak of metamorphosis and how, when we see our worlds shift, we may feel like we're emerging from our own cocoons. That's what her book did for me. I don't feel well, I don't feel like my old self. I feel hope.


  1. "Only on love's terrible other side / is found the place where lion and lamb abide" -- you cannot go around the sun; you must go through. --Madeleine L'Engle.

    Oh, hon. ((((((((You))))))))) There's such a division point, isn't there, between before / after. I used to see mine as a deep black sea with powerful tides, and I had to learn to let the tide wash me all the way out, so far from land I couldn't see a single light, and trust that I would land on the shore again. And somehow I always did. ((((((((you)))))))))) You've found something very fundamental, and that is such a liberating step.

  2. ugh, I'm in the midst of the late twenties approaching 30 limbo too...isn't it amazing how so much can change in just a few years? I had a list of "life goals" when I was in the 10th grade...goals that took me all the way through college and then a year or two after. But one day I woke up and realized I had no NEW direction to head was a horrible feeling to wake up every day without a clear plan of how to work things out...anywho, sounds like you've found some perspective on things...thanks for sharing!

    oh yeah, and plaster that poster for the SMB everywhere! see you tomorrow

  3. I understand... I've hit that 30 crest and moved forward, but there have been many changes to my life in the last few years. It's hard to cope with them, especially when you can't take the time to deal with them when you should. The value of a good cry is thoroughly underestimated. *hugs*

  4. "Hope is the thing with feathers"