Wanderess

With every trip around the sun that I get the privilege of experiencing, the more evident it is to me that I am a collector. A gatherer of emotions.

A large segment of my soul thrives on capturing feelings. The emotions incarnated by people, places, and even things. It’s an inner craving to feel this life, and an addiction of mine to translate my experience into words. Writing them onto paper is a driving force and an act ignited somewhat by fear. My family genetics do not guarantee that I’ll get to keep the memories I’ve cultivated. Words like Alzheimer’s and dementia are true threats, both of my grandfathers suffered and passed separately from each. For me, writing feels proactive, a strategy that will ensure that my memories, the love I’ve felt and written for people and places, the words that hold my life, live beyond any disease.

After I came back from Maui last year, I came across a word. A name. It sat in a quote written by Roman Payne, and it was enchanting. It was the first time I truly tasted an inhale, the breath needed to dance the syllables of the word off my tongue. I know that must sound strange, but it’s the only way I can describe it. It held life, the same as the inhale.

The word?

“Wanderess.” It connected with every little fiber of my savage heart. I’d found a slice of myself in that word, and if I had to define what the word wanderess encompasses for me, I’d say it’s the endless chase–I’m not lost, or without–rather being led by an inner flame set to pilot, but in constant search of kindling.

Certain people and places are my kindling. My husband. My daughters. My family. My home. Colorado, and the ocean. These people, places stoke a fire within me, setting my heart ablaze.

The ocean, sigh. Eight days ago, after a five-day girls’ trip, I left the ocean and it felt like agony. The emotion was confusing, and quickly guilt arose. Motherhood and even wifedom can be a soul’s ruthless opponent. After all, I was returning to the five loves of my life, my family–the very highlights of any legacy I can craft–and surely I am relaxed and elated, and to every degree that matters I was, and by every degree that contradicts your conscience I was also sad.

I love the ocean. To be honest, it’s a certain type of love affair. After a week of separation, the first glance, feel, and sound of it is still a pristine recollection. I can vividly recall my first step onto the fluffy surface of the white sand, the soothing rustling of waves lapping the shore in the distance, and even the squeal of elation that left my throat.

The sting of the sun, the burn your bare irises incur from the sparkling reflection of its rays upon the rolling waves–the view infinite. To wear sunglasses feels like an injustice. It’s a view you want to see, capture. The way your feet melt into the sand, its swift caress between your toes. The soft glide as it brushes across the bridge of your feet, and caves under your step.

The lick of ocean water at your ankles, and the power you feel as you submerge yourself fully. It envelops you, enticing you to follow the wave receding from your body’s grasp. The taste of salt on your tongue, and the bite it invokes when it invades your eyes. How all renders nearly silent save for the white noise of water shattering against itself over and over.

The ocean is an incarnation of emotion. A seamless paradox, and my wanderess heart is forever captivated, held without touch. ❤

Deletion

A week ago, I deleted Facebook.

“Wait, what? Why?” My inner circle feigned shock, albeit the sincerity was a paltry offering because they know me.  Every version.

My words fell far from eliciting shock. Beheading the pinnacle of my social media presence has been a withstanding, but empty threat I’ve voiced many times over—I’ve literally had my indecisive fingertip hovering the deactivation button the subsequent of a couple years. It’s very similar to my parenting style.  All the threats with sporadic bouts of action.

Not true. I’m a perfect parent who follows through with strict discipline every time without fail.

Yes, I have a problem with writing lies.  Don’t worry it’s with innocuous intent.

But before you call me on it, let me clarify upfront that the first line of my post is relative. Your assumption (that you didn’t even know you were making) was right. I didn’t entirely delete Facebook. I only deleted the Facebook app off my phone, okay.

Whomp, whomp, whomp…

Let’s be real. The permanent online social disconnect?! Meh, ain’t happening. I mean, Facebook is basically my kids’ scrapbook. Plus, who has that type of will-power to scrap it all after nearly a decade of posting, anyway?

Not me. But that’s not a surprise. I’ve never been a poster child for will power. Hello, brownies are often my primary source of nutrition and much to my disdain, I’ve had a Y membership that I’ve made zero use of over the past few months. Like a bad habit, the guilt I succumb to as a result of the monthly YMCA bank draft only further adds to the problem, forcing me to make more brownies. The struggle–it’s a gluttonous muffin top speckled with cellulite. #realtalk

(Sadly, with summer next up on the seasonal deck, my safari history will be filled with long run-on sentences rather than solo keywords in my web browser. It will not say “bikini.” Nope, it will be something more like “full-body compression wetsuit that looks like a real bikini for people who eat too much and exercise too little” or “the real deal miracle diet that works off 30 pounds in 48 hours.”)

I apologize. Bear with me, I tend to veer off track. (shiny things syndrome) It’s who I am. For further proof, ask anyone who has shared conversations with me via phone.

“Sarah, I have to go.” Twenty minutes later…

“Sarah…I really have to go.” Five minutes later…

The dial tone followed by a text that says, “Sorry, call failed. Call you back later…” Again, it’s who I am. I’ve never met a person who I couldn’t make conversation with. Ever.  (Like hypochondria, it’s in my DNA.)

Soooooo anyway, I’m back on track and will not talk about brownies or body image for the rest of this post, promise (insert my pinky here).

I wish I could say taking the Facebook app off my phone was a contribution to my inner sanity, or a power move after some serious self-introspection (and by some standard it was), but that’s not the real reason.

To be honest, I feel trapped by Facebook. It’s become this invisible tether that is shadowing and starkly dictating my emotional stability and certain aspects of my life. Worse, it’s a building tide slowly washing away my authenticity.

Stripped down, raw, and vulnerable, I’ve become a rabid, incessant over-thinking anxious mess who feels pressured by a newsfeed that often robs me of sensible inner joy on the daily.

Translation: I’m on the edge of needing a script for Xanax.

Also, friends, to my dire horror…I’ve become a closet snowflake who cannot deal.

I’m drowning in the crippling amount of anxiety that plagues me after reading about 200 (of the 500+ people on my friend’s list) lives each week. It feels like binge watching every reality series, presidential debate, soap opera, and tear-jerker movie ever produced all at once every time I log on.

Never in my life have I ridden a ride that serves chin to sternum whiplash without one iota of motion.  But Facebook takes the cake, making the aforementioned ride a reality.

Over the span of nearly a decade, I’ve consumed the most horrific, tragic, and gut-wrenching stories via Facebook and it’s ramped my anxiety to unbearable heights.  One word: overstimulated. I should not be privy to reading this steep a level of really-bad-ugly-crap-that-can-go-wrong daily. It’s too much. I admit it.

I’ve argued with and been deleted by people I deeply care about, others I honestly don’t, and some I haven’t seen in years and yet, it bothers me all the same.  My initial emotional reaction of hurt feelings proves that I’ve been drunk on the please-everyone-like-me kool-aid despite knowing you-aren’t-for-everyone is the real gospel.

I’ve internally wrestled with pettiness, too.  And I’m not talking child’s play pettiness, either.  On a Richter scale of pettiness, it’s more like leveling an entire continent and possibly giving Kermit memes a run for their money. I’ve even played that ‘unfriend’ game with my pinky raised, too.

And yet, despite it all, I keep feeding the beast like some manic, addicted harpy. I’ve been captive to the innate drive to represent my most perfect self for public consumption. To hide the struggles that aren’t funny nor covered with self-deprecating humor.

I’ve bought into the “love everyone” rhetoric and it’s morphed into this metaphor for silence.  Fear has been the cognitive word circulating my brain on every front.  Do not speak one dang thing that holds substance on Facebook.  These days, the only thing acceptable to stand behind, openly promoting, is Taco Tuesday because you will never be in the wrong with tacos on a Tuesday, or any day, ever.

All tacos aside, if it’s anything that relates to humanity and choice, more often than not, you will offend that one person who will troll you, wielding the sword of tongue at your jugular.  Or you’ll play mind games with that passive aggressive “friend” who unfriend’s you or posts passive aggressive posts with the “you know who you are” tone attached to it.  Gah, the cycle is exhausting.

In whole, and as a result, I’m overwhelmed.  I’ve reached the landscape where the negative terrain is outshining the positive.  Let’s not forget how out of shape I am.  Again, I can’t deal.  It’s no longer about “I’m here for family and friends.”

I feel partially sick over it, and mostly terrified.  But the bottom line is a dark well of inner disappointment.  It’s deeply saddening for my accountability to self that I’ve let Facebook and the consummate negativity that lives within its confines have any control in my life. Period.

But it’s my mistake and I’m owning it. Today.  

Jesus did not create me to be a closet snowflake. 

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

(Also, not once did Jesus say I’d go to hell if I didn’t share your 29 posts a day that state “share if you believe in Jesus otherwise you don’t” either. Give them a rest. Seriously.)

As of today, I’m taking back control. And I’m pressing pause on Facebook to reassess and redefine what its platform truly means to me.  I need clarity something fierce.  You can roll your eyes (I get it) but pray for my anxious little heart, too, friends. Most days, I’m still learning (the hard way) and willing myself to speak to it.

And yes, I probably should have just written this in my diary, but I didn’t.  Deal.

Reflection

August 1998: The weather and celebration agreed, the sun and wind were an enhancement versus a disruption. And in Oklahoma that was a rarity (Midwest weather was known for having the emotional stability of a three-year-old). But that day, the harmony made for sunshine and giggles— perfect companions for a child’s birthday party.

My twelve-year-old self, dressed in the utmost adult-like outfit I could pluck from my wardrobe, was smiling with my lanky arms pressed into my sides, my hands clasped together at my belly. As of late, my too-formal outfit and serious demeanor were a recurrent theme, as I stood on the scalped lawn of my parents’ yard and the very precipice of teenagedom.

I was off to the side, observing a line, more curved than straight, of children. My eyes rode up and down, the slightly askew uniform line of children a rollercoaster ride of heights and ages. Although not in line, I was the oldest, save for the neighbor boy–I’d once gotten into a physical fight with over tadpoles. The memory of it now makes me smirk.

Chasing some level of internal maturity, I’d felt like a spectator, although my parents would probably remember me as a participating child standing in the line waiting for my chance to pin the tail on the donkey—a hit at my brother’s birthday party.  But I didn’t feel like a shareholder of childhood then.  There was a disconnect to the experience, a proverbial bridge I’d started crossing and further refused to trek back to the starting point, too far gone.

At twelve-years-old, I had no clue, but I’d started an evolution of self, turning the page to the beginning act of shedding my childhood skin.

Now as a mother, there is a certain sensation of sorrow I feel recalling it, reflecting on the memory. Only because now, my memory is currently live, happening in real-time—no longer just a mental page filed under Sarah’s childhood.

Except at the present, it’s not me cast, instead, now headlining the same play, very act is my oldest daughter, who turns eleven next month. And God, it hurts to be in the audience knowing I can’t change the outcome because growth is a visceral part of being human.

Placed on the tipping edge of my seat, soaked in perspiration and terror, I feel helpless as I scream for her to turn back. It’s futile. My warning is silent, unable to pierce the veil of her growing human instinct that separates her and me.

All I have power to is clutching the back of her shirt in my fists with my face caught between the proudest grin and ugliest sob, in an attempt to drastically slow her speed on the track of life by the dig of my heels acting as a lead anchor.

And the experience is the most agonizing exhilaration.

God Bless this motherhood of mine.