There have been points in the past week where I’ve felt like a very small person standing at the bottom of a very big mountain stacked with only marginally stable boulders that shift each time the wind blows. I’ve felt like I’m about to be crushed, like all the bits and pieces I’ve tucked away for safe keeping have started to fall and shift and move.
May has been simultaneously one of the best months of my life and one of the hardest. It has been the month with ALL THE EMOTIONS, the one with ALL THE CHANGES and it’s hard for me to feel stable when all the parts of my life keep shifting around and beneath me, challenging and changing the way I define myself and my life.
At the beginning of the month, I graduated. Finally. It was a long awaited moment, and an emotional one, especially considering the identity shift it provoked. I’ve called myself a student for all of my adulthood and then suddenly, because I walked across a stage and shook some hands I lost the student title and earned the graduate title which is nice, I suppose, but I really like school. I’m good at it. I didn’t know I’d miss it so much, that as soon as I was done with it I’d start craving it all over again.
I mentioned that Andrew wasn’t at graduation and that’s because he’s pursing his life dream of becoming a helicopter pilot and my graduation weekend was a pre-training weekend for him, full of pushups, power points and flutter kicks. He’s been talking about this dream since we were in Kosovo in 2007 and after a short period of deliberation, a rushed application process and a lot of crossed fingers, it’s finally happening.
After graduation came Vegas and Bloggers in Sin City, my single-most looked forward to weekend of the year. It was amazing, of course, but leaving felt like a heart punch and after four days of SO MUCH and ALL OF THE THINGS, it’s hard to come back and realize I’ve got to wait a whole year to do it again. It’s an emotional experience too, one full of heart swells and soul recognitions and hugs from friends I don’t see often enough and leaving is hard. Plain and simple, it sucks to walk away from your tribe, to bid farewell to the brilliant and amazing people who show up for the shenanigans in Vegas each year.
This past weekend we helped my grandmother pack up the house she’s lived in for 33 years and said goodbye as she headed to Texas, back to the land of her birth. I tried to explain it to Andrew on Saturday, what it meant that she was leaving. It’s not only that I’ll miss her, it’s that her house has been the one and only constant in my life. As a kid I bounced from house to house and parent to parent, never staying in one place for more than three years, and grandma’s house was the only place that ever stayed the same throughout all of those storms. There’s a comfort and a security I’ve always felt when visiting her house and to realize that it’s gone, that the one place I’ve counted on being there is suddenly no more, is more difficult than I anticipated.
This weekend we fly to Boston for a cousin’s wedding, a cousin I haven’t seen in a decade or so, and then, next week when we get home, Andrew will most likely head south to Alabama to start flight school. He won’t be home until sometime next year, if we’re lucky.
The problem is that I haven’t let myself feel any of this. Each time I feel the pin pricks of tears creeping up behind my eyes, I shut them down and shake them off. I tell myself I don’t have time for an emotional outpouring and really, I just don’t. There’s no time to feel all of these things. There’s too much to get done in the meantime, too many bags to pack and tasks to complete, so I bury it.
It’s like standing on the tracks watching the train coming, totally immobilized, bracing for the inevitable impact.
All this to say, things are changing.