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use your words

August 5, 2015

my son is young and starting to talk.  He’s going about this the way most children do, and like most children do, still gets frustrated when he can’t find the words.  His little feet begin a furiously paced, angry dance on the floor, his face scrunches into a twisted little red ball, and he usually ends this show with a long strain of “no. no. no. nonononono….”.

I calmly tell him to show me what he wants, and when this doesn’t work, we move forward with a little distraction, the old bait and switch.  Sometimes he’s able to point to the juice, sometimes I’m shuffling him over to the living room to look at a new book or toy.  Either way, we can move forward.

For the longest time, in a life I lived before I had ever laid eyes on my sweet boy, there were times I could be just like him.  I knew there was something I wanted, rather, something I needed.  But I didn’t know how to say it.  I didn’t want to say it.  I didn’t have the words.  I had them, but couldn’t use them.  Sometimes, all of that at once.

When I found myself in that place, distraction was my numero uno go-to.  Something I don’t want to face?  No problem, I’ll just be over here starting up a patchwork quilt, baking some cupcakes, researching a new job opportunity, re-organizing this sideboard cabinet.  It took some pretty raw soul-searching, a few painful decisions, ultimately it took leaving behind most of that old life to recognize this pattern of mine.  It took so much honesty to realize that distraction worked for me temporarily, but didn’t serve me beyond those moments I spent blissfully ignoring what my heart was trying to say.  Most days, I know I’ve left that old pattern behind.  I think, I speak, I do.

Other days, you can find me whipping up some homemade salsa or numbing my eyes on pinterest.

But its ok, because now I know what I’m doing isn’t only distraction, its giving myself the grace of time and space.  I know I just need to chop a few tomatoes and turn them into salsa before the words come, or before the words will come out. The difference now is that eventually, they actually do.  The words come, and hopefully, the words turn to action.

I don’t think I’m the only one who’s ever felt like that little toddler, trying desperately to express something, to go for something, to DO something.  SOMETHING is out there.  Maybe we aren’t quite sure what the something is.  Maybe we don’t have the right words to say it.  Maybe we have the words, but not the balls.  Instead, we do a metaphorical angry, red faced dance on the kitchen floor.  We distract, we repress, we hide.

When I start to feel the moving feet, the reddening face,  I know I just need to find my words.  I’m going to be sharing them here, and, I hope you enjoy reading along.