Weathering the Storms

So, as it seems, 2020 is not finished being bizarre. Here in South Louisiana, we have just come through a strange, strong October hurricane. Another chapter in this weird tale of the year that has changed the landscape of our lives.

Hurricane Delta fell to the west of us, battering the already battered areas around Lake Charles. Still, the winds here were enough to bring power outages, roof damage, downed limbs, high waters, and scared children.

Just before one in the morning, we finally lost power after several false alarms. The chirping of alarms running on battery backup woke the children in the darkness, and so we found ourselves camping out in our master bedroom – a family of four (and the dog), restless in the roaring gloom.

The boy and girl unfurled their sleeping bags on either side of our bed. The boy, an easy sleeper (like his dad), just wanted to go to sleep. The girl, not so easy a sleeper (like her mom), sat up and feared the dark, tinkering with her paper lantern. Wanting her to settle, I invited her to take my spot in the bed and I curled up in the chair where I spent many nights feeding a newborn not so long ago.

It was not an easy night’s rest.

Thinking about it this morning as my coffee percolated thanks to a generator hook up, there haven’t been a ton of nights this year where rest has come easily. So many storms of one kind or another. The loss and the grief and the mess of it all. It has created storms within, even. Churning seas of anxiety and gratitude and fear and hope, vacillating against the shores of my spirit.

I think, when people hear me talk about struggling with these emotions and feelings – BIG FEELINGS – and anxiety and depression, they write me off as a negative and sad person. I’m not. I just don’t pretend that these feelings don’t exist. When we ignore them, they amplify themselves until the sonic boom takes you down. Rather than fall out of the sky, I try to maintain an even keel and remember my silver linings in this life. My beautiful family. The good friends I have. The smelly and soft dog.

Storms pass. And so I remain a optimist with a depressive disorder and high-functioning anxiety. A walking oxymoron of neuroses.

We can weather anything. Remember that.

From my 40/40 self portrait project, “World Turned Upside Down.”

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