As I sit this morning, writing, I remembered this old post from a previous, private blog. This is a repost, written Christmas time, two years ago.
My tree this year still went up the weekend of Thanksgiving, because if I'm going to put one up, I'm going to enjoy the thing. But this year, only cloth ornaments, because - kitten.
The reasons "why" behind the actions continue to relax as healing as continued as the norm, thankfully. Creative efforts now go into developing Embodied Breath, but not for lack or perfectionism. Rather, to evolve a project from a place of purpose and passion. Less busy work, more true heart work. (On my knees grateful.)
This year, my Christmas tree is pretty much just a tree. The need to handcraft is almost entirely relaxed. Any sadness of lost tradition and ornaments now on his father's tree at another house, I didn't even think of until now.
Ode to the process... Deep bow to our internal evolution...
Keep on, bright ones.
...I feel I need to write one more explanation of this endeavor before I dive into the grit of the blog (and subsequent book). If I begin posting about the day I gave birth to my first child, at age 19, and how that event left a mark on every decision I've made ever since, readers may be a bit taken aback. Thus, friends, a soft overview written from this cozy couch position.
Pictured above, my Christmas tree. Clearly, since I've used the word "cozy" and already have a tree erected and fully decorated by December 6th (truth: it was up November 28th), I am a fan. I'm not a fan of Santa or Jesus or even family tradition, I am a fan of my Christmas tree. How, one may ask, does a Christmas tree have anything to do with this blog or a memoir of post-nineteen year old birth? Perfectionism, dear ones.
To put it laughably mildly, giving away a child seriously fucks with the course of your life.
Thereafter, there is no normal.
For me, the manifestation of this entire event was to strive. Implicit was the understanding that if only I had had it together, I could have raised my baby. And so if only I could get it right from here on out, I'll be able to feel whole again. And so it went. Through three college degrees, a marriage, and a second child. None of which were a mistake, hear me now, but that is to say that this shit really played out.
So as I look at my Christmas tree, it seems to exemplify the the undertones of perfectionism that pervaded (note: past tense) my daily life for approximately the last fifteen years. I don't quite feel the same drive to succeed now as I had (much more to come on this topic) but the evidence of this manifestation is all around me, and for one example, on this tree. Ornaments: hand-felted, ceramic, sewn, drawn with my child's sweet toddler-sized skill and hand. Ornaments purchased at the Ten Thousand Villages post-Christmas sale annually with more religion than I bring to Christmas itself cover this tree. The tree is sweet, and perfect, really, and all of these treasured ornaments still bring me a lot of joy, even if I can now take a step back from the domestic striving that created it all.
Now, I do love beautiful things, and I love to create. A marriage of craftsmanship and perfectionism is likely at play even now, because if we're going to create, let's have some standard of quality. In fact, even this season, my son and I crafted real-deal Cone 6 clay ornaments, let's be honest. It's the reason why that has shifted now. Before, it was to feel whole. Now, it is to create beauty. And this blog (and subsequent book) is to tell the story of the changes that allowed for that transformation.
I also make beauty, and finding it, a priority, and I'm absolutely appreciative of this. I love the simple way pothos flow over the rim of a small white pot in my kitchen. I love the quilts I've made, for their heirloom quality and memory and purpose. I love even my magazine pile, for it's haphazard nature, invitation, and promise. I love what I've created in this life, all things considered.
My son told me this week that my husband's (still working on that "ex" prefix) girlfriend and he have matching corncob pipes. They also have matching interests in motorcycles and large trucks, and matching sales jobs in a gear shop with a bar. He always had wanted less responsibility than I had forced on him. I was spending our relationship playing out trying to fill the hole in my heart, and he... well, he was looking to be loved in a really fundamental way that I didn't yet understand. Apparently, in his defense, the new girlfriend has formed negative opinions of me based on what she knows of our relationship. If only I could have been more fun. You're so right. If only I could have thrown more darts with whiskey in hand instead of evenings spent at the sewing machine. But it's not so simple. Because to say all of this is to essentially, at the core of it, say "Why couldn't you have just gone back to normal after giving away that baby way back when?"
We certainly lived out the manifestation of that single event of childbirth and adoption throughout our marriage (my daughter, let it be known, was not his). Me, desperately trying to make sense of what in the world was meant by "enough" and him living that down alongside me. Bless him. May he be throwing darts in pure whiskey-induced bliss alongside his current love if that's what they choose.
I have now come to realize that absolutely nothing and absolutely everything is actually perfect, from the way life plays out to the ways we mistakenly attempt to shape our lives. It is real life I intentionally choose to allow to unfold, observing interconnectedness of past and present with reverence. In this way, ornaments can be ornaments, quilts can be appreciated as art, and blogs can be a healthy creative expression of life lived. Beauty is there all the time, whether or not we choose to simply see and enjoy it, allowing it to unfold, or attempt like hell to manifest it. And bless us, whichever path we choose.