Bare (part I)

Me, an hour ago, no makeup - in the spirit of laying things bare.

This story may be a bit difficult for me to share. Already, my brain has sort of paved over the entirety of 2013, like the whole messy year was a kind of glitch along my life's timeline. 

Also, it's intensely personal for me. I feel like I'm consciously deciding to show up to the party in my underwear and asking you all to somehow not look at me differently, anyway. 

But, above all my reservations, I feel the need to share my story because I think that there are those of you out there that need to hear it. There are those who are dealing with similar things and feel as lost as I did. 

And, while we're being completely honest, here, let me admit to you that I would likely be contented to keep this particular journey between me, my Bill and my therapist for my whole life except for that one nagging feeling I've had since the beginning that this would need to be shared. 

And I've learned to trust that feeling, every time. Even when it contradicts my desires and even my very personality. Because this was that old friend of a feeling that came from a source other than me. This was the feeling (prompting, revelation, impression) that caused me to buy a plane ticket to Seattle and leave my job, my boyfriend, and my family that summer after I graduated University. This was the feeling that inspired Bill and I to quit our jobs, sell our house and move into my parents' basementwhile we were expecting our third—so that Bill could get through school faster. This was the feeling that ensured our whole family got to experience New York, even though it made way more financial sense for me and the kids to ride it out at home , and this was the feeling that eventually forced us to leave that amazing place and return toof all placesUtah valley. 

And I have to say. This feeling that I and my husband have learned to trust so unfailingly NEVER MAKES SENSE. Not once! I mean, never at first does it make one stitch of logical sensewhich is why it's always sort of exciting when it comes, because EVERY TIME We know we're headed for some colossal change or adventure. And we know that eventually, once we've reached the stage of hindsight, it will make perfect sense. 

So I share, despite myself, and try not to get in my own way. I look forward to the hindsight on this one. 

New York wasn't the cause, but it was the trigger I finally couldn't ignore. 

It all started on the sidewalk of JFK international airport. I was helping Bill and cousin Matty pull children and suitcases from various crevices in Matty's truck. He had generously offered to pick us up from our home In Washington Heights and brave the tolls and freeways through the Bronx and Queens to drop us off for our final flight to Utah. Having done the whole kids and suitcases thing many times on the subways and in taxis, we gratefully accepted. 

Plus, Cousin Matty is a bona fide New York firefighter, and the kids were all sort of in love with him. 

As I stood on that curb, loading the stroller once again with all the children and bags it could carry, I was struck with a sudden and overwhelming sense of loss. Once we crossed the threshold of the airports revolving doors (because we all know that airport interiors all exist together in some other dimension), I knew that this was it. We would no longer be living in the greatest most fascinating, most challenging and amazing city in America. 

I was losing New York. 

It may not make sense, but for me, this was a big deal. 

Luckily the chaos of the logistics of navigating an airport such as we were did not allow for dwelling. Time was rushing at us, and so were the crowds. All I allowed myself to know was that where I had always before loved airports for their feeling of adventure and connection, now this strange place of terminals and cold clacking heels and overpriced bagels felt deeply sad to me. 

And as the plane took off and I tried not to think about crashing and we settled the kids in with board books and Toca Boca on various devices, I didn't remember to look out the window to bid my beautiful city goodbye. 

I think my brain went on hyper-drive to protect my fragile heart. 

The lump in my throat that I felt then (and feel now, in remembering) when I allowed myself a moment of recognition that everything that foreign place was to us was now suddenly and simply over caused my mind to begin to panic. 

I knew we made the right decision in leaving. I don't regret it. That's important. Our decision to leave was the result of painstaking care and prayer and, ultimately, an unmistakable push by The Feeling, remember? And now I get to enjoy the marvel and clarity of retrospectbut just because it was a good choice doesn't mean that it was ever easy. 

Not ever. 

It seemed strange to me to feel the need to mourn a placebut I did! I felt actual griefwhich surprised me. I didn't want to be pathetic and become one of those people who can't talk about anything else, so I kept my agony to myself and to Bill, who was the only one who really understood what we had given up, having lived it with me. And bless his heart, he let me cry about it often. 

And at length. 

Being near my family again was the only redeeming thing I could find about being back in Utah. And it *was* great! I have a family full of really awesome people! And I finally got to meet my newest niece! And in true Card style, my family rallied around us. Fed us, sheltered us, surrounded us with love and support and game nights. I will always be grateful for how awesome my mom was then and has continued to be to usto methroughout this whole process. She didn't technically know that I was spinning off the deep endbut mothers always know. You know?

But, even amid all the good and the fun, I still couldn't help but feel this deep and ever present sadness. 

Then my sadness began to turn to anger. be continued...


Kristen said...

Ummm, well you are still gorgeous with no makeup... I love your freckles so much!

You are so brave and I'm proud of you. I'm sure it's soooo hard to write. But I'm sure it could be healing/cleansing in a way for you. And probably for lots of others that may need to hear your story. Love you!

Emily said...

Dang The Feeling. Even though it is so much smarter and wiser than we are, it is also so unexpected. I can't wait to hear more of the story. I'm already hooked and inspired.

P.S. Toca Boca is awesome.