Tag Archives: thought stream

Morning Whispers

It’s 5am and my alarm blares in short bursts of sound next to my ear. My sleep-addled brain comes to terms with the fact that it has to wake up now, and my hand clumsily fumbles for the button in the darkness of my bedroom. With the silencing of the alarm, I hear the soft snores coming from my husband next to me. I have no clue how he manages to sleep through that obnoxious noise, and yet here we are. I let out an exhausted groan and reach for my thermometer, taking my temperature for my cycle tracking app. Another “red day” it reads. Awesome.

As I push past the desire to go back to sleep, I sit up and try to focus my bleary eyes on the doorway. I put one foot in front of the other and grab my pre-planned outfit hanging on my dresser drawer knob.  I leave the comfort of my bedroom and head downstairs, tip-toeing so as not to wake my sleeping daughters on the way down.

I’ve never been a morning person in the conventional sense. As an introvert, it’s difficult to handle exchanges with other human beings for at least an hour upon waking. I have to warm up to the idea of human interaction as a feasible suggestion of reality. But in another sense, a much more internal sense, I am at the peak of my alertness and creativity. While my body struggles to fumble over the simplest of routine tasks, my imagination and creativity somehow run at optimum levels despite the outward suggestion otherwise. I can have an entire deep conversation with myself in my head while simultaneously knocking my glass off the kitchen counter and tripping over the living room rug.

I know that the outpouring of my thoughts stems from the sanctity of the quietness around me. Nobody NEEDS anything from me at that moment. It’s like the constant push and pull of schedules, demands, requests, phone calls, social media, and endless parade of to-do lists pushes my creative ideas to a back corner of my mind where they wait for the opportunity to break free. So when my alarm goes off, an internal alarm also goes off, signaling the unleashing of the sound and fury. Light flashes and resonates in a jumble of words and pictures, all competing to be heard. Yes, that was a dramatic interpretation of what happens in my head. And yes, I felt referencing Shakespeare was necessary to get my point across.

As a mom, and a working mom at that (enter mom guilt soliloquy here), my own thoughts and feelings usually take a backseat to the needs of everyone else. Not always, and it’s not even a bad thing really, it’s just a THING. It’s a stage of life. We poor (mom) players on the stage know our roles, and we play them to the best of our ability. Honestly, I find it just as important for my own growth and development as that of my family members. Learning to navigate my thought processes and rearrange and put others before myself is a good and necessary skill to have, and it runs deeply within my belief system. I let my light shine, but not too brightly. It’s all a balancing act before an audience of deep conviction.

But when do I get to let it out? When is the right time to have my own thoughts and emotions run freely? Well, in the morning apparently. When my body is at its weakest, and my household is at its quietest. When my mind is fresh from sleep, and I am the most malleable and vulnerable. It’s in that quiet space that I am weak and receptive. It’s in that silence that my strength is renewed. It’s where I hear the whisper of Truth. It’s where my prayers are lifted up. It’s where my creativity can thrive. It’s where my inner light shines.

Where I miss the mark is that I don’t write my ideas down. Hence the blog I never (or rarely) post to. Hence the feelings of guilt over never seeming to do enough or be enough. Hence the lack of goals because I just cannot seem to nail down what I find most important. They say you should find your ‘why’ in order to set goals and follow your dreams. Well it seems I have too many ‘whys’ and too many dreams. The headspace alone that is required to capture it all is both the question and the answer to that dilemma.

So I’ve got to start somewhere, I reason. Small steps. Just do ONE thing. Write ONE thing down. See where it goes. Shine your light into the world, even if only for a minute.

I’ve finished getting myself ready. I’ve packed my daughter’s lunch for school. I slip back upstairs slowly and wake my husband to kiss him goodbye and to remind him of the day’s scheduled events. He whispers that he loves me and gives me a gentle kiss before settling back down under the covers. I wish I could crawl back in bed next to him and my heart pangs, but I stifle the feeling down as I shuffle out of the room and shut the door behind me.

I creep quietly through the door of my girls’ room, and gaze at their sleeping faces, glowing in the faint light of the night light. They look like little angels, slumbering without a care in the world. Safe, secure, and well loved by their parents. I know when they wake up they will inevitably pepper my husband with countless requests and questions, whilst not eating their breakfast and arguing over outfit choices. These things are a normal part of life with little girls, after all (and some boys I’m sure, but really I only have girls as an example of kids in the morning.)

I know in equal measure, I will have the afternoon, evening, and bedtime bouts of child raising, but for now they are but an image of tranquil beauty, grace, and peace to add color to the emotional dialog in my head. I kiss them softly, once again feeling the pangs of emotion and longing to stay by their sides. To mother them, hug them, and even break up their inevitable sibling fights.

I push all the pangs of emotion down as I grab my personal effects and slip out the door into the early morning light. The faint glimpse of sunrise on the horizon acts as a final salute of splendor to my jumbling of thoughts and emotions. As the dawn breaks, so does my concentration of inward resolve towards introversion and feeling, and to write those feelings down. Then inevitably as I start to interact with people, my thoughts slip into silence, one by one, until I am just a robot of outward motion, and a vessel of muted inward emotion. I let out a sigh. Out, out brief candle, I think. Although you’ve signified more than nothing, for now, it has only been to me.

Butterflies Are Resilient Creatures

The following was written just after a fight I had with my husband. We’ve been married 16 years and have gone through all manner of both terrible and wonderful moments in time. All couples have fights, and anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows that you don’t always fight fair, nor do the angry thoughts you have at the moment necessarily represent how you feel in general. The following was how I felt at such a moment.

When I first published this post, I hurt a lot of feelings, so I took it down. It hurt me to do so because it was an honest representation of how I felt, but at the same time, it is not my goal to hurt anyone with this blog, but rather help. And sometimes being nourished by joy involves sorting through difficult feelings and emotions felt in the moment, so that they don’t take hold long term. Therefore, I hope you take from this story that it was just a portrait of a moment in time and not representative of the long term.

As I passed through the front door of my work building and into the sunlight-drenched afternoon air, I quickly looked down at the ground and slipped on my sunglasses. No use having anyone ask me what’s wrong, I thought.

I shuffled down the block towards the stoplight, my mind cluttered with the debris left by the argument we’d just had. I felt lost. No, not lost exactly, just perplexed and unsteady. Confused and hurt. The rock in the pit of my stomach was back. I hated that feeling. It felt clumsy and out of place inside me.

I let the anger rise and swell in my gut. The rock in my stomach was the last thing I wanted to have to deal with. I wanted to just skip over the immediate aftermath of hurt and frustration and back to the part where I realized I was okay again.

My thoughts drifted around through the film reels in my head that kept playing back pieces of the fight. I felt my fists ball up as the tears began to sting my eyes. It’s just not fair I whispered under my breath. He knew exactly how to push my buttons. Exactly what to say to pull me into the cloud that had settled over his mind.

I knew that for him, it would be a relatively short amount of time. Then he would inevitably move out of that looming grayness without warning, leaving me stuck in a murky fog of disillusionment and perplexity. For me, it wasn’t as easy to move out from the fog, once I had given myself over to it. I tended to brood in it until I was good and ready to come out, lashing at anyone who would dare try to pull me away.

As I sifted through that dense fog that had crept over my mind I felt the rock in my stomach swell up towards my chest, and I let out a cough, trying to clear it. I knew I needed to eat something, but I was too full from that damned rock.

I approached the bustling intersection and listlessly jabbed my index finger into the crosswalk button. It didn’t beep. I rolled my eyes and jabbed at it again. This time it beeped. I sighed as his voice ran through my head, reminding me how dirty crosswalk buttons were and, “How could you just touch them like that? Do you let the girls touch buttons like that? What else do you let the girls do when I’m not home? What are you getting away with now? What’s really going on, Christin Joy?”

I shook the voice out of my head and wiped my eyes. My conscience had been replaced long ago by this voice of judgment and accusation, and I wondered how much of it was actually him talking, and how much of it was my own projection of how I felt about him, and, more importantly how I felt about myself.

I had made mistakes in the past. Terrible, unforgivable mistakes. And yet here we were, 6 years later. Still together, and still fighting the same fights. The cycle was so perpetual that it made me want to scream out loud, except that I never could. In the moment, I always felt paralyzed. I wondered if he did, too.

As I waited for the light to turn, I noticed a little white butterfly fluttering across the intersection. It flew in a zigzag pattern, hovering about ten feet over the asphalt as it made its way across the street and towards the tree line on the opposite side. I gazed at it, watching its every movement closely. It was a welcome flood of relief for my aching brain to watch this pure, unhindered little creature as it made its noble trek in front of me.

I noticed the milky white color if its wings and its carefree movements, and I felt a little pang of jealousy creep into my chest. I wasn’t jealous of the freedom or the journey, just of the pureness and simplicity it had. The glow it seemed to cast on the world around it as it moved. There was no cloud hanging over it. No voice trying to creep in and tell it that it was doing everything wrong.

My thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a loud whoosh and I watched in horror as a delivery truck came barreling through the intersection, smacking the little white butterfly against its windshield as it drove through, oblivious to the damage it had just caused.

For one terrible moment, my heart stopped. I sucked in my breath, my arms stuck at my sides, unable to move. I felt the rock in my stomach turn over as my brain attempted to process what my eyes had just witnessed. I prepared myself to see the little white butterfly drop to the ground.

But then I saw it. The little white butterfly, though perplexed and confused, was still fluttering around. I let out a huge sigh of relief, and watch as the poor creature swung itself around, getting its bearings. It then drifted upward towards the sky and continued its journey safely into the line of trees on the other side.

It had survived. It had been knocked off course unexpectedly, but had shaken it off and moved onward. My relief was replaced quickly by anger towards the truck. Who did it think it was, barreling over a poor butterfly like that? But then I realized that the truck driver hadn’t done it on purpose, obviously. It had no idea the butterfly was even there. He was just doing what truck drivers do, driving forward, staying the course that had been set for him.

And so had the butterfly. I had seen it as pure and fragile. I had seen it as this delicate and very breakable, defenseless creature drifting through its short life on this planet. But then I remembered, of course, that butterflies are resilient too.

Butterflies were only free and beautifully delicate because they had first survived an incredible transformation. Each and every one had been completely changed and renewed from the lives they had known before. They had been born again to a new life and given a second chance.

I breathed in and out deeply as the light turned green, signaling it was okay for me to cross the street. I felt the rock shrink back just a bit, and the fog in my head start to clear. I am resilient too. And I also have been given a second chance.

What’s In A Drink?

What’s in a drink. What’s in a drink. What’s in a drink? The thought plays over and over again like an echo in my head. So random. Why drinks?

Hmm. My mind skips all over the place on the metaphors that could correspond, shattering the echo into a thousand pieces. Do I mean an alcoholic beverage, perhaps? Those can be tasty…or toxic…or both. Stories, lots of stories there. Lots of pictures of happiness and destruction to be painted. Sure, that could be it.

Or maybe a health tonic? I’m big on those. I keep up with the latest trends, for sure. Right now it’s matcha instead of coffee. Matcha lattes made with almond milk of course because dairy is bad.  I get them on the daily from the trendy hipster coffee shop near my work. I pair it with a vegan almond chocolate scone. My brain is trained to make the word ‘vegan’ synonymous with healthy. Even though I know it has processed flour and sugar. It must have those things because it just tastes too good.

Coffee is out right now. Unless of course, the coffee is cold-brewed and in a fancy little overpriced bottle. Then you bet I’ll snap it up, dump it in a cup on a Sunday morning and drink it cold in practically one gulp. I keep a bottle of turmeric ginger pressed juice in my desk drawer. It says to consume within 20 days of opening. I haven’t opened it yet. I can’t decide what to put it in…or do I just drink it straight up, like a shot?

Maybe I’m just talking about my kids’ juice boxes, and a picture flashed through your mind of a slightly anxious, tired, blond woman standing in the chaotic center of the local Costco with her agitated young daughters, trying to read the side panel of a small Tetra-Pak box to see how many artificial fillers are contained, and is it worth all the sugar? Is that what you pictured? Nope, that’s just my mind? Okay then.

Maybe it’s not an actual drink at all. Maybe it’s more like, as the saying goes, “drinking the Kool-Aid” of an ill-intentioned idea. Perhaps I am trying to backpedal as I analyze the consequences of a recent decision I made, wondering if I did the right thing. Or did I get sucked in (again) to something I shouldn’t have? Was it a purchase from an ad I saw last week? Did I watch a video about something that upset me, and then lash out at my children? At my husband? At myself? Hmm. So many possibilities.

Let’s go back to the alcoholic beverage though, for a minute. I’ve recently been getting these delicious little peach flavored wine in a can four packs from Trader Joes. I bring them to small group Bible study on occasion and drink one, sharing the rest with the others. Is that wrong? It sounds wrong. Everyone is OK with it, and enjoy it, but…am I making the right choice, or clouding everyone’s judgment?

Speaking of alcohol, my husband came home past midnight with the cripplingly pickled sour smell of drink on his breath. I could smell it from across the room, and it made my stomach turn. I told him to go brush his teeth before he came to bed. This was after I worry-texted and called him after shivering alone in my bed for a couple of hours. He said he was at his friend’s house. Another friend he hadn’t seen in years was over and they were hanging out. He apologized for not calling. For making me worry. But I was already mad, and I couldn’t let it go by the time he walked in the door.

I hadn’t wanted to tell him about his breath. I had wanted to hold him. To tell him about my day. Talk about how fiercely cute our daughters were, and what they had spent their afternoon doing. To marvel with him over how grown up our almost 2-year-old was getting, and what I wanted to do for her upcoming birthday. But I didn’t say any of that. I simply commented on his breath. He said he would brush his teeth and come up to bed in a little while. But I woke up alone in the bed. He had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs, watching TV.

What’s in a drink.

So much is in a drink. More than I can unpack in one sitting. Lives are shaped, bodies filled, emotions muted. One can drown their sorrows, and their dreams right along with them. One can shatter their entire world, glue it, and then fill it up again like a tank, with liquid dribbling out at the seams. I am reminded of the picture of the little Dutch boy with his finger in the crack in the dam. He looks so worried. He is stuck in place. He cannot move or the whole dam might break.

Am I already drowning, or is my finger just stuck in the dam? The thought comes forward and dissipates like a phantom. Out of nowhere. It takes me by surprise because I am generally filled with hope and joy and possibility. I am saved. I have Someone to cling to. But right now I am exhausted. And my head is full. I feel almost drunk, even though it’s 9 o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting at my desk. I drink in the notion that maybe I am stuck. Not because I am without hope, but because I need to make some decisions about how to move forward with my life.

Why am I here, God? What would you have me do? The question pleads as I stare at the metaphorical dam in front of me, the finger of my negative thoughts firmly in place, sealing it all in. “My cup runneth over.” The Psalm repeats in my head from memory as a reply. I look again at what I have. All that I have. A quick inventory is run. As it turns out, I have much to give. My glass is pretty full. I have been given many blessings, haven’t I? So why am I not sharing them? That’s the real problem, isn’t it? It’s not what the drink is made of. It’s that my glass is full to the brim. I have more than I need and I’m stuck in place because I’m not sharing.

Here I am, holding my finger in a dam, worried about removing my finger when the thing I actually need to do is to let it all go. I laugh out loud.

I have much to give. Much to say. Much to do. So here I go. I am starting with you.