Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Transformed by the Renewing of My Mind

Dear "Aged One"  I will indulge your request and tell the story of the mirrors, but not today.  That will probably be tomorrow.  Today I want you to enter the dark recesses of my mind with me.  Please put your happy faces on because this is going to be a departure from my usual heavy on the optimism posts.

I often find it an indiscretion to talk about money, but hey, when have I ever been called discreet?  During the course of this move and adjustment period we have been faced with some very large and out of the ordinary expenses.  Last month saw us pay for the security deposit and first month's rent of our home here in addition to the mortgage for our home in Mississippi as the tenants don't move in until later this week.  On the way up from Mississippi during the move the alternator went out on the BMW (No, we have not sold it yet) and that is an expensive thing to fix.  On top of all of this we paid for all of the move ourselves knowing that we would be reimbursed by the Navy at a later date.

What I'm saying is that for the first time in a long time, we have no money.  I know money is coming and everything will be OK, but for the next few weeks, I have basically just a few dollars a week to live on.  When I came here I had a vision in my head of how this life would be.  It would be completely new and everything would go according to my perfect little plan.  My fridge would be filled with fresh produce and organic meat, my floors would sparkle and my baby would never cry.

And then life happened.  How many times will my fantasies be proven frivolous before I will learn that not everything goes according to "my" plan?  Life keeps me on my toes and forces me to make a new game plan.  But before I accept it there is usually a giant, grown up sized temper tantrum.  And that is exactly what happened yesterday.

All day long I wallowed in self pity and pined for just one chance to go down to Zara and buy some new clothes.  Because although my closet is full, I have NOTHING to wear!  As the day progressed my pity turned into self loathing and every time I looked in the mirror I became disgusted with what I saw.  The mouse brown roots of my hair seemed to be mocking my pitiful state and my neglected, pedicure craving feet were a burden to drag around this house.   I pinched a layer of fat that sits on the top of my pants and I might as well have slapped myself and yelled I hate you!

I watched as my thundercloud mood darkened this whole house and affected the demeanor of everyone, including the dogs.  I wanted so badly to break free of my mental state but I didn't know how.  It was oppressive and I was mad at Jeremy before he even walked in the door.  I fed everyone tacos and ate in silence while the real me that was locked away somewhere in the prison of my mind screamed for Jeremy to hear her and find a way to set her free.  He asked me what was wrong and I couldn't bring myself to say anything.  I mentally chastised him for not just KNOWING what was wrong with me and having the key to fix it without me saying how.  Because the truth was I really didn't know how.  

After dinner we took a walk on a trail through the woods near our house.  I was walking at a brisk pace and soon Elsbeth and Jeremy were some distance behind me.  I felt the bitter, painful knot rise in the back of my throat and this time I couldn't choke it down.  Hot tears of pity and anger bled from my eyes and I started to pray.  I complained to God that it wasn't fair, I had a plan!  Things weren't supposed to work out like this.  I was supposed to be eating free range chicken for Pete's sake!  I griped about how my feet looked ugly and my hair was growing out and I wasn't getting in shape quickly enough because I can't afford a gym membership! As the tears flowed out of my body  so did the anger, and the pity, and the self loathing.  And then I was quiet.  And I listened for that still, small voice inside of me.

From above the sound of the rustling leaves and the song of the cicadas came the beautiful voice of a bird.  It's song for the world, the woods, for me washed away the last traces of my tantrum and I heard the voice say:  Listen to the bird sing it's song, it has not a care in this world and yet it has no home, it has no fridge that needs stocked with organic food, it has no gym membership, and it has no desire for a closet full of pretty dresses and shiny adornments, and YET it sits in that tree singing.  Singing with all it's heart.

For the first time that hike I looked around me and saw beauty every where.  The dappled evening sun light danced in a thousand diamond fragments on the canopy of leaves while fireflies looked for love with their blinking green glow.  I felt ashamed as I remembered the poor people of Belize and their smiles and laughter despite their circumstances.  I looked down at my feet and noticed the soft green carpet of moss that I love so much and the small voice within me said:  Look at this moss, it grows on the hard, black asphalt surface of this trail path, and yet it GROWS.  In that moment the door to mind was unlocked and the real me was set free.  I wiped away the last tear and chuckled at the smile that was now fixed, once again, to my face.

As Jeremy and Elsbeth rounded the corner and found me, they found me smiling, ready to start over with a new attitude.  We went home and I formed a "new plan" while I gave myself a manicure and home made face scrub of honey and sugar.  And then I soaked in the tub with a steaming cup of chamomile tea and thanked God that although I am able to pinch fat on my belly, there is not one stretch  mark present.  And even though my feet need a pedicure, they are still beautiful and I am thankful that they carry me up and down these many flights of stairs faithfully every day.

Today  I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle this situation with an open mind.  I made my grocery list and headed to Aldi, where for 21 dollars I bought enough food to feed this family for a week.  It may not be organic and it may not be gourmet, but it will keep us satisfied and I am thankful for it.


Charlotte said...

Are you me???

Bethany said...

I hear you on the moving thing--it is soooooooooo expensive. I had to pay for mine out of pocket, and with only one pay period under my belt, I've gotta pay the mortgage. Being a grown-up is overrated!

Jillian said...

Perhaps I am. Are you wearing a brown shirt and thinking about tea?

Jillian said...

Hi Bethany!
Being a grown up IS hard! What were we thinking when we said we couldn't wait to grow up? Although, I must admit, the staying up as late as I want thing is pretty cool.

Anonymous said...


I am glad that you are sharing your wisdom with as many people as possible. Life is not easy, and we are always going to be reminded of that it seems. Keep that positive attitude, and maybe when we get together next week, I can treat you and those feet to a pedicure!

Can't wait to see you!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Jillian, I am a fan of your blog and your witty words but you are coming across as a brat in need of a firm OTK sound spanking.

Jillian said...

I'm not sure what OTK is but I know that a brat is only a brat if he or she stays that way. I may have "tantrums" but in the end my wiser side usually wins.

Amanda, Ummmmcan I just say that I will bear all your children.

Anonymous said...

OTK = Over the Knee. I'll give it to ya Jill, I will! ;)

And, I just watched the Baby Story on TLC, so yeah, I just may take you up on it!