On being uprooted. Or, finding home.05-15-2017
This morning I awoke into a rush of anxiety and adrenaline. We need to vacate our San Francisco flat by June 1, but don't yet have a new home.
It's not that we'll be homeless. I know that. There are many places we can go, even temporarily. But I'm the kind of girl who loves thick roots. I'm the kind of girl who finds deep deep comfort in home. In "this is the sunny spot where the cats nap at 3pm," "this is where I read my book and chomp popcorn after Kayne goes to bed," "this is the window out of which I watch the fog float by Sutro Tower, always changing, always beautiful." I love the illusion of safety, comfort, and stability.
We've lived here for eleven years. And I love that I have memories of my son at two, padding up and down the halls in his diaper. Or at four, wearing a pink cheetah-print dress, strands of brightly-colored necklaces, and a crazy hat. Or all the years of elementary school, sitting in our sunny kitchen with him as he does his homework. I love the pencil markings on the wall of his ever-increasing height, as he has oh-so-quickly shot up to nearly my own five feet two. I love the yellowed sign hanging on the door that says, "The quieter you become, the more you can hear," that has been there for more than a decade.
As the uprooting has happened, all the packing away and sorting and tossing, I've increasingly felt like I'm losing everything. Things I used to be able to count on or to hold are gone. Everything is in flux. I feel lost, even to myself.
So you can imagine what a gift it was to me this morning when I found that my friend Maya had posted a short piece of writing online about how we carry our lives within us. How there are rooms within us for all of our loves and memories and small moments of joy. It was the perfect medicine for me, helping me to remember that I am my own foundation. No matter where I go, I carry with me all of everything I love. And there is room for so much more.
One of the little miracles of this short piece of writing was — I wrote it. At first I didn't remember. But then I saw my name and the date at the bottom of the entry. Last year when Maya was on her Typerider journey, she posted the prompts she was offering every day. A group of us followed along in an online community. This (below) is my submission on June 10, 2012. Little did I know then that I was sending some medicine to my future self … a little bit of healing from far away to now:
"I choose to believe that I am safe. That life is kind. That coffee is
not really bad for me. I choose to believe that doing yoga will create
more space inside of me so that I can build more shelves, stash more
memories, expand that walk-in closet of my belly…I choose to
believe I can breathe so deep that the heart grows a little bigger,
that the lungs hold more air, that the chest walls stretch to allow
room for the twelve red helium balloons I gulped in. I choose to
believe that when I die, when they cut me open to distribute parts
here and there, that they’ll find my mother’s laugh that day when she
had a marshmallow stuck to her upper lip from her cocoa. That they’ll
find the red Fluevogs and matching cloche. That they’ll find the
firepit and all the smoky laughter. That they’ll find my happy
cheerleading skirt with the blue and gold pleats. That they’ll find
dried mango slices and the sound of a ukulele at the beach. That
they’ll find drawers of my son’s silly songs and colorful artwork.
That they’ll find the bicentennial gold coin, the Archie comics, the
one small bunny that darted across the lawn that morning in San Diego.
I choose to believe that I can breathe it all in, like liquid color.
That I can dig a basement, fill the attic, stuff the hall closets of
my body full of things that tickle and tick. I choose to believe that
there are endless hidden passageways and cubbyholes, just waiting for
me — inside of me. I choose to believe there is room for it all."
– Sherry Richert Belul, June 10, 2012
I wonder if Maya knew how important this was to me today. I suspect she did. And as I send it out to all of you, I send with it my hope that there is someone else out there who needs this medicine. Someone else, searching for home, internal or extrenal, who might find some comfort in what you carry, in what is yours, always.