popcorn ceilings

“Just hang in there.  She will make you a better writer.”  I haven’t written for months and months.  I pulled up my email the other day to contact my former writing mentor and came across emails from my best writing buddy.  She hung herself many years ago.  I was driving out by the cement factory in Laramie, WY and got the news.  My brain went to images of what it must have been like.  I tried to stop thinking about that and don’t want to detail the visions in writing.  I want to be a better writer.

I’ve been living like a gypsy and stopped making my writing public because I want to hide.  Its hard to leave the house.  I hate talking on the phone.  I find myself staring at the popcorn ceiling content just to stay in bed.  Drink some water.  Listen to Colorado Public Radio incessantly.  I put books by my bed as a symbolic gesture hoping I might open one and get into a world other than my own.  The same popcorn ceiling I would stare at as a child when I was in trouble and told to “think about what I’ve done.”  I’m thinking about what I’ve done.  Just like a child, I’m confused.

I have moved 5 times in the past four years.  I’m back with my therapist who helped me work through childhood trauma and now this is my big trauma.  The big T.  Jobs keep coming and going and I watch as I sabotage each opportunity because I didn’t want to be there in the first place.  And I calm myself knowing that this is typical for my stage in life.  I find myself jealous of all who have homes, children, stability…and then I think about all I’ve been able to do.  Hiking in Alamosa, Pagosa Springs, Salida, Sheridan, Vail, Laramie.  I’ve explored every trail I could find.

I have found myself more reflective than ever as I enter a space where I’m no longer a good student, a good partner, a good runner, a good hiker, a good employee.  I’m surviving.  I sometimes feel compelled to try and apologize or make up for my perpetual flakey nature but like that small child I’m confused about what I’m apologizing for.  I find all are pretty defensive and wounded right now.  COVID just brought the popcorn ceilings closer.  All of our flaws are magnified.  I try to reach out to friends but I couldn’t name a friend who isn’t losing it as well.  I stare into sad eyes, observe messy hair, listen to tearful conversations.  No one is okay.

I signed up for yoga class tomorrow and will get out even if its in the smoke.  Each time I move another fire follows me and for the third year in a row I’m in one of the top priority fires in the nation.  My website used to be called Fire or Phoenix and I’ve spent too long in the fire.  I feel a spirit of transformation and calm in defeat.  I couldn’t have guessed how life would turn out and while I hide and worry about myself I know we are all in a time of transformation.  If I was on a hike, I’m in the purgatory part where you think you see the top of the peak and then out of the trees and another peak.  But, I will climb.  I’m still here on the journey.  Scorched earth has come and gone and now its time to grow.

“In order to rise from its own ashes, a phoenix first must burn.”    

-Octavia Butler