The Mess

I’m a mess. We are all a mess about something in our lives whether big or small. I love the phrase, “a beautiful mess”, but I don’t feel like a “beautiful” mess. I feel like a complicated mess of colorful threads, knots within knots, spilling out at the seams of the frayed edges of all that I am. I try to control the mess or numb the mess, pulling each thread out and laying it flat and straight. I try to organize the mess by sorting the threads color by color and separating them from each other. Somehow, despite my efforts to organize my mess, they all quickly mesh back together, get tangled up in each other, entwined together to tell the story of who I am.

This past Friday I felt like an ugly mess, not a pretty, delicate one. I’d had a terrible day at work and was coming home to an empty house. For a long time, I’d become very good at coming home and hiding, hiding from the world. I got so good at untangling those knots and keeping the colors sorted and organized in perfectly straight lines. I’d become an expert at stuffing my feelings deep, deep down and being colorless and free of knots, or so I thought. Now, as I come back to life, the feelings are bubbling up to the surface of all that I am. As I write, more come forward as if to say, “acknowledge me and take care of me. Accept me and the knot I am.” Colors are spilling out that I’ve never seen or felt before and it’s unsettling. I treat each one with the respect it requires and deserves so that the knot doesn’t become a cluster I can’t untangle and make sense of, even if only for a moment.

I came home Friday night and felt those knots rising up inside of me and instead of shoving them back down in the dark, I recognized them. It wasn’t a happy feeling at all, but a necessary one. I called a friend and started to cry. Then I got upset with myself for crying and my friend said, “Diane, it’s okay to cry when you’re sad or frustrated.” “Ohhhhh,” I thought, “I AM allowed! That’s right. I’m human.” Almost as if I truly didn’t realize it before. We are all a perfectly curated collection of chaos and heartache and pain and love and joy and peace. You can’t have one without the other. That’s being human.

Since my newfound proclamation that I’m not drinking, I must say, I’ve had many of those human moments. Moments when I’d like to enjoy a glass of wine instead of being fully present and cry. Everyone cries for all kinds of reasons and I’ve never judged anyone else. We all have our days. We all have our unruly threads and unkempt edges. In fact, I’ve always had such compassion for people being human, for having their own colorful cluster of complications and confusion. So why was I being so hard on myself? I’d had a bad day at work and didn’t want to come home to my empty house. It’s that simple. The only difference is that I’m not hiding anymore, not even from myself. That is why things are rising within me. As it turns out, I’m a crier and I’m a human. Crying is just a part of who I am. I embrace it and accept it. Happy, sad, frustrated, whatever it may be, that’s how I unravel the frayed and colorful edges of my soul.

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