November Dandelions

I sat outside to get some fresh air and watch my pups romp. Nature always helps me to reset, if only marginally, regardless of whatever is going on. Today was no exception.

Currently, there are a lot of things making it difficult for me to feel grounded and steady. Most obviously: today's election and the undercurrent of unease, fear, and even anger emanating from pretty much everyone I come into contact with. Not to mention my own variances of those emotions with which I'm try to balance and grapple. 

But there are other things as well. Largely difficult and emotional things friends are going through, as well as some somewhat painful self-growth and deep-seated things I'm trying to sift through myself. 

So, I sat outside to get some fresh air and watch my pups romp. I thought about how interesting nature is; how, in so much turmoil—like today's and all the various turmoils and changes that have come before—nature just goes. Not actively or outwardly, really. But with a quiet strength and steadfast feeling I want to wrap around me.

And then I wondered what it must be like to be so stable, to move along without too much change between one day and the next. How, when nature does change, it is slow and deliberate. How even its changing is steadfast. 

I thought about this and smiled at my fluffballs as they sniffed around, wondering what I could do to help with all this chaos inside of me and around me. And then I found, next to my house where I usually sit, a wee dandelion.

Dandelions are my thing; I have had a long standing love-affair with dandelions for a myriad of different reasons. But in all my years, I have never seen one this late in the season.

So I sat outside with my dogs and breathed the fresh air and found this rogue dandelion and now I think: maybe we'll be OK. Maybe we'll be OK as long as we keep close. If we work to surround ourselves with people who know us and love us. People who forgive us if we act out of anger and who will listen to us when we try to speak. People who get us and root for us, who shelter us and believe in us. And the people who don't? To do neither harm nor spend too much of our energy on them if it is not appreciated.

Usually I pluck up dandelions, make a wish, and give them a blow to the wind—but I figured November dandelions are special enough to warrant a change, don't you think? So I stayed on my step, took a deep breath, and made a great big wish for all the people in my heart. All the ones I keep close. And then I smiled and went back inside, leaving the dandelion where it found me. Because, this time, it felt better to keep its little roots in, down into the earth. The earth that just goes. Not actively or outwardly, but goes. Just goes and goes with a quiet, steadfast strength.



Just Sarah

I moved across the country 9 months ago. It has been a wonderful adventure and I am happy here, but damn is it hard to make friends as an adult.

("Adult", she types, while wearing her Grinch pajamas).

I have always had trouble making friends, honestly. People seem to have a hard time believing this because I tend to come across as an extrovert, or because I'm "likable" (as some kind acquaintances have reassured me). However, for whatever reason, I've always struggled with it.

I'm sure part of it has to do with my revolutionary communication skills; I'm just a hair below "Plants" in that area (but well above "Inanimate Objects" thankyouverymuch). As well as my tendency to keep things private. My difficulty with, and sensitivity to, vulnerability, skews things I think. i.e. from what people have explained, I tend to think I have been very open when, as it turns out, I haven't revealed nearly as much as I thought. And being an extroverted introvert doesn't quite move things along either. I prefer being alone, I *need* to be alone to recharge with my chronic illnesses, and I'm pretty sure I have a bit of social anxiety (none of which may be obvious to most people).

Back home, it took me 10 years but I made some really amazing friends that I was OK and excited to leave my house to hang out with! So I have been trying to put myself out there a bit more here and meet new people. Because the friends I do have are incredible, and I do enjoy being connected to people even though I'm like, 85% hermit.

Anyway, a girl I met here invited me to go hiking with her next weekend and, aside from my typical anxiety, I am excited! I love hikes. I love nature and adventure. This girl is hilarious and kind and smart and one of the good ones.

But, then I found out that the hike is 6 miles long... I can't hike 6 miles. I can't walk 6 miles. I can barely walk 1.

On a whole, I feel I've adjusted to my chronic illnesses well. I'm respecting my limitations, sometimes I can even appreciate them. And I'm not ashamed of my illnesses by any means, but when I found out the hike was 6 miles, I broke down into big crocodile tears while sitting on my couch.

I know this girl would be totally understanding of my limits. I know all I would have to say is, "I'm not sure I can hike that far" or even go further and explain why. And she would happily find us another, shorter route and it all would be good.

But I don't want to tell her. I don't want to tell her because it's been nice being here and having people see me outside of my illnesses. Of them not knowing. Of feeling well enough I can come across as a somewhat typical 30 year-old extroverted introvert with communication skills that rival ferns. Of feeling like I'm Just Sarah and not Sarah Who Has to Weigh Every Single Thing She Does Every Single Day  Or Else.

So, I don't know. I don't know where I was going with this. If I was really going anywhere at all. At least, no where other than it makes me sad. It makes me sad that I can't just go on a 6 mile hike like most people might be able to. It makes me sad that I have to weigh out these conversations with people. It makes me sad that—even though it's OK I have these illnesses, that I am lucky in so many ways, that I CAN go hike—I'm a different Sarah than I used to be.

And, don't get me wrong, I like who I am now. I really do. And it will be better tomorrow. I will process it, I will be able to tell her of my limitations. And it will be a great hike with a potential new friend.

But, tonight, I want to pretend—for a little bit longer—that I'm Just Sarah.