Loss. The great equalizer.

This been a summer of gains and losses for me. Some, I saw coming, others, not so much.

Class Graduation Photo

I took a summer-long certificate program at Salve Regina in Self-Discovery through Expressive Arts. I started out with major enthusiasm, dropped down to almost dropping out, then rallied with a strong finish. I actually called my advisor to quit just before that second weekend. I hadn’t finished all the assignments (HUGE deal for a life-long over achiever). He said to come anyway. He modified the assignments for so I could complete enough to participate, but he said even finishing these were optional. The most important thing was for me to come. Just me being there was enough. Holy f*@#.

It was quite a journey for me, but I’ve never been more proud of myself for completing something than I was on our “graduation” day on the last Sunday of the program. I’d been dreading this  final weekend, afraid that I would start crying and not be able to stop. I’d come to love and trust my fellow students and the faculty. I’d come to count on these weekends as mini-oasis from my regular life as wife and mother. During these weekends, I could fully immerse myself in creative work, something I hadn’t been able to do since college, really. I’d become part of a community. A tribe. I was reluctant to let that go.

Modeling a finished project at the shop.

At the exact same time my class was ending, I lost my job. Actually, I gave my job back to its owner, which is to say, I quit. And although it was choice, it still sucked like crazy. I really liked my job at the knitting shop. It was part-time, but the pay was great, I loved the customers, it was 10 minutes from home, I got to learn about a craft I’d come to love, and I got a discount on yarn. I hadn’t liked a job this much since my summer between college at Water Country. I’d had my Pilates studio, which was great, but I wanted to do something different. My yarn shop job was great because I got to use my creative self and I didn’t have to try to go back and be the person I was before. I could move forward, and still draw on all my past experiences.

It’s only been 2 weeks since I’ve left the shop, and more than anything, I miss the community. I was the tribe. I’ve always considered myself a bit of a loner. I’ve always valued my alone time, and yet, I do enjoy connecting with others, so I now see myself as more of a ying/yang person. Right at this moment, I am out of balance. Too much ying, minimal yang. I need to rebalance. I feel like a I had more energy for this when I was younger. Then again, I’M NOT OLD! Life is not like Chutes and Ladders. You don’t land on a square and have to start from the very beginning. I can begin from where I am right now, with all the experience I have acquired along the way and hopefully pay attention to and not forgotten the lessons.

My natural instinct is rush to fill the void. Keep busy. I hear bits of news from my old community and it’s hard. On the one hand, I miss it terribly. On the other hand, I’m pissed that they dare go on without me. And at my lowest, I feel tossed aside and easily replaced. I work to focus on gratitude. I know it could be so much worse. I have friends who are managing loss that makes mine seem like a walk in the park. And yet, it’s all relative. We all want to feel like we matter. We belong. My long-time habit is to look outside myself for that validation. Now, as I hit the karmic restart button once again, I have an opportunity to practice what I learned at Salve. I am enough.

And so, I begin again:

Kind, considerate, very funny, spirtual-minded, creative woman of color seeks community. Enjoys knitting, music, good food and conversation, but loves a good reality tv show marathon, too. Looking for like-minded individuals. Non-authentic people need not respond.

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