but now what?

Last night I met up with some friends (some that I hadn't seen in over a year because of the pandemic) to celebrate a belated birthday, and it felt so good to chat with other women at different stages of motherhood. These past few weeks I've been contemplating on the reality that has been this past year and a half. It isn't that I haven't thought about this time where we have all dramatically shifted our lives, because there has been no avoiding any of the pain or deep layers of uncertainty. But I have been avoiding the feelings of what it's meant. I know it's my own trauma response to navigate difficult periods of my life on a kind of numbing state to avoid feeling, but it's been some of my deepest healing work to allow myself to feel. And it's a scary thought to sit in what it means to have felt harm or fear, but as I've learned during years of therapy, acknowledging that is a necessary part in the path of healing. It's like, okay harm, I know I felt you and I know that it hurt, but now what? 

It was the week that Lucía had her first ballet recital in March that things began to shift. Talks about a virus that was spreading around the world began to surface. It didn't feel real until everything started canceling, including Lucía's recital. Benjamin was wrapping up his final year of fellowship in critical care medicine, which also happened to be one of the hardest years we have experienced with him working extremely difficult and traumatic cases for long periods of time. And if you've ever known or are connected to someone in the medical field, then you know it's really important for them to also have a safe space where they can debrief and process their experiences too. We were so excited to finally wrap up these intense nine years of training that had defined so much of our lives. But little did we know that our experience was about to shift dramatically too.

In a matter of days, Benjamin's schedule began to change and suddenly there wasn't enough PPE. Things that I never gave more than a seconds thought to became a huge part of our day-to-day. Because of his critical care and anesthesia experience he began working directly with Covid patients. And this was a scary feeling. I didn't know what that meant in terms of our own exposure but I knew that it meant he would be experiencing an added layer of stress and PPE too! The changes were both physical and emotional and I just wanted to be there for him and our family. I took it upon myself to isolate us at home and not expose anyone because after all, we were technically being exposed every day by Benjamin. What kept me busy was doing our home search (I share my experience here). And around April is when I began making silk masks and that kept me busy too.

Here's the crux about all of this, even though it was an intensely stressful time for us, this was a turning point for our entire planet. The underbelly of capitalism in our country signaled the effects it had on all of us. Even those of us who had support found ourselves limited in so many ways. However, those most at risk were the poor, marginalized and disabled, who were largely in part Black and Brown people because of the very real history of racism in our country. And these groups were also people in my own family and adjacent community members that we became even more increasingly aware needed extra support. And so this meant that a lot of what I was feeling had to be numbed for the time being.

It was during our move that I began to confirm what I already knew: nature is healing. Being outside, touching plants, running in the fields and breathing fresh air is healing. I knew this in part because I've always made it a point to explore the outdoors and fill my home with indoor gardens because for so many years living in apartments and leasing spaces, we never had outdoor areas of our own to grow our own food and plants. And all of those beginning months in our new home when we began to transform our kitchen garden and new outdoors spaces were our saving grace. We spent most of our days outside and planning what we wanted done indoors. It was like a healing salve to my soul and became a place of solace for Benjamin coming home from work too. 

I'm at the point in my life where I have to find the meaning of the why. And I have the space, time (well, you know as much as my kiddos allow ;)) and capacity to do so. And it's also why I can continue to push into that. I'm also of the mindset that not everyone is in this space and that's okay. You only have the bandwidth to extend however far you're able to extend it. There should be no shame in that. As someone who has chosen a spiritual path, I believe that we should not function from a space of scarcity either, because this contributes to the cycle as a whole. I think we should be functioning from a space of healing. 

And as I continue to push into this new space where I am answering the why for my own life, I'm doing so because I can and that is something new for me too.  

Sending love to you all as we continue to navigate this time.


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