Grieving Takes Many Forms

This has been a rough couple of weeks. By the end of both weeks of homeschooling, I was feeling drained, anxious for the kids, sad that I won’t be able to see some family before they move from a 1.5 hour drive away to fifteen hours away. My husband’s one job has him out but his part-time job is considered essential business (and oh how I shake my head at cigarettes and beer and lotto being essential) so he is still out and about more than he should because we need the financial security right now. I feel like I am overburdened carrying the emotional weight of my entire family on my shoulders.

So I had to give myself time to grieve. Grieve for the loss of innocence my son will definitely have of all this. Grieve for my family I don’t get to hug goodbye. Grieve for myself and my sense of timing for my online bespoke clothing and costume shop I was finally ready to pull together this spring, because I can’t afford the start up nor does it seem a wise business venture when so many don’t know how they will be paying their rent or mortgage. Grieve for my friends in the entertainment industry who are unemployed and considered expendable by much of the population. Grieve for those dying alone in hospitals and for their families unable to say goodbye.. Grieve for this country and this species and this planet. It’s a lot to process. And it will be ongoing for the duration.

But letting my grief out let me move forward and cut myself some slack, something I always have to do. And I am doing what I can. Getting moving as much as possible. Creating little bits of art. Making masks that I’ve been donating to local medical facilities. I’m dipping my toes back into writing and making music again.

Today, I painted this tree in blossom on a paper plate while my 3yo daughter experimented on some plates of her own. She insisted on adding the black strip on the edge for me.

Pink blossoming tree painted on a paper plate

I still feel some hope for the future. That this will be the wake up call we need as a species. But I also know that so many people are still not ready. Still, these are interesting times to be alive. Sometimes I wish it was a little less interesting.

Letting Go and Moving On

Last week I found out something that made me finally cry about losing my job. Outright sobbing for a solid 15 minutes, like I’ve done in the past when someone has died. I felt so wounded and betrayed, and thankfully my children were asleep and I was able to give full venting of my emotions. But I wanted to censor myself at first, because I recognized that what was wounded most was my pride, and really, of all the Seven Deadly Sins, Pride may very well be the least fun one. Also, in my efforts to evolve as a human, I try really hard to not let my ego drive the ship and to focus on deeper issues and discard the parts of my being that don’t serve me well, but I obviously have a long way to go still, and I really hated to have that reminder. That I still have attachments to certain identifiers about myself and my position in society. Objectively I know that it’s all meaningless, but subjectively I still occasionally care what other people think of me. It’s so contradictory that it is funny.

However, I am a creative soul, even as I seek to always be growing and learning, and I must admit that I will always have to give my inner artist-child expression or I will suffer serious consequences. And so I allowed myself to grieve and didn’t self-censor, and then I realized that I was indeed grieving a death – the loss of that version of myself and that path through life that I had set myself on. Those particular circumstances will never exist for me again, even if I do choose to return to the theater world someday. And that version of myself deserved a proper mourning and burial.

So if I was less wise than I am now, if I was less evolved, I could let myself linger in the betrayed role. I could play the victim and even relish the anger and bitterness for a while, fueling angsty poems and art pieces. But being where I am, I am ready to move on and figure out my new identity. Staying angry isn’t healthy for me, and my body already is showing me the benefits of letting it all go. The week I got sick leading up to losing my job, I had a fairly severe psoriasis-rash outbreak on my hands and then a patch open up on my back, and all the areas are healing now. I find myself laughing and being goofy with my family more, which is part of my self-improvement goal for the year of allowing myself to have more fun. And while I may get an occasional twinge of missing the part of me I no longer have, I can weigh it against what I do have and recognize the benefits of letting go. Life is too short to give other people the power to hold you down.

Whatever the future is, I trust that it will bring me what I need to continue growing and loving and creating. I may not agree with the Universe, I still may need to be dragged kicking and screaming to the next path I need to tread, but I do trust.