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Submitted by Virginia Watts on Wed, 04/10/2024 - 11:13

What's the forecast? Can we count on it? No. We would like to think we can, but no one can predict the future. We hope for sunny weather when we plan a picnic, we hope for rain when we plant a garden. We know these events will occur at some point. But there is just no telling when. There is nothing else to do but accept whatever comes our way. At least insofar as weather is concerned. 

Does the same apply to our moods? Can we choose to be of a sunny disposition? Many say yes, just decide to be happy, that's all it takes. Does it work that way for you? Sometimes there are triggers that bring us to places where we need to be sad, or mad, or even just sit with how confounded we are by people or world events. Up until now, I have had very little patience with this whole process.

As I age I remind myself that I spent my young life pushed and pulled by the moods of a manic-depressive mother and a chronically depressed father. Even the weather seemed to be controlled by their moods. Bright sunshiny moods were predictably followed by darkness and cold. But the timing as to when things would change was uncertain. Sometimes we loved the rain, sometimes we hated it. Sometimes we basked in sunny weather, sometimes we hid from it, drapes pulled against the glare. Children adapt, take their cue from those who care for them. It was a stormy childhood. Moon in a dark sky

The effects of my beginnings seem to ripple very close to the surface these days. Perhaps I can see the connection between then and now, although I couldn't explain it to you. And the triggers for the change in my outlook are very different from what they were in my childhood. Or are they? I really can't say for sure about that, either.

Sometimes the aging process itself presents overwhelming challenges of health that can knock the wind out of me. I have not experienced much physical pain in my life, until now. Some days it seems like every bit of me hurts, and often I feel the pain comes from unshed tears, unacknowledged loss, unrecognized abuse. My body is now unable to contain all of those sharp pieces of the past, and it lets me know I must acknowledge what was, see it for what it was, allow it to be, express it somehow. 

I am working hard to be grateful for the messages, because I know unless I can make peace with the pain, emotional and physical, I will be caught in a paralyzing web that will not allow unfettered freedom of feeling. And feeling is what I long for. Honest feelings, with no self-inflcted criticism or punishment. There can be no more holding back the tears, no more tempering the laughter, no more fear about there being too much or too many feelings to control. That's not my job now. And indeed it never was my job, although that is the job description I grew up with. I'll write my own now. I should have learned this lesson earlier, but we operate with the knowledge we have when we have it.

It's not too late. Is it?