This past November, I ran away from Oklahoma and returned home to Texas for a weekend. A last-minute trip that occurred because of the aching in my chest, because of the overwhelming tears, and because of an exhausted mind and soul. I had watched my breaking point dance past weeks before, and I could no longer grasp onto the strings holding me to Oklahoma.
I spent a long weekend with my mother. A flight from Oklahoma City to Dallas in the early morning and then from Dallas to Houston, and I was home. Dressed in jeans and an oversized sweatshirt, I felt almost as though I had woken from a long dream in which I had graduated college and married. It felt as though I were still the same, wide-eyed blonde with hopes to graduate and then make something of myself.
But it wasn’t a dream. I had graduated in May 2008, married in September 2008, and purchased a home in January 2009. So many life changes in fewer than 12 months. Maybe it was the short periods of time that caused my unraveling in November.
Returning home pieced me back together. My mother was the glue that held all the pieces in place; she is still the glue.
I’m not the best with intimacy, with making friendships that last a lifetime. I am easily hurt, easily angered, and have a green side that I try to hide myself from. I give up on people, but more so, I give up on myself too easily and decide it is time to move on, that I am too much, that it is no longer worth it.
During my escape to Texas, I began to combat these things. A closet full of trinkets, pictures, and memories, and a request that I go through the belongings and decide what to keep, what to throw, and what to pass on to a stranger. It was not what I had in mind for a last-minute flight to Houston, but my mother is the glue that holds me together. And as the glue, she often knows exactly what I need to make me whole.
I saw my entire life in that closet. Friendships that had lasted for 5 years, some that dwindled after two years. Pictures of boys that had captured my heart. Pictures of what happened after my heart broke. Notes passed in class and letters sent to friends in far-off states. And with it all, the knowledge that none of those relationships are truly intact as of this date.
We grew apart. Life got in the way. We moved to different states. There was a fight. Excuses and nothing but excuses for why relationships ended the way they did. Some relationships were meant to exist for only a season in my life, and I am thankful for all those seasons. Somehow the springs, summers, and falls brought me to my current season. It’s more winter than I would like, but I don’t think the groundhog has seen his shadow; spring is on the horizon.
And so many relationships could have passed into other seasons of my life, so many could be here with me now just waiting for the snow to melt and the flowers to bloom. But they are gone, a memory of the past and a reminder of how easy it is to walk away but how hard it can be to move on.
I’m still learning to release jealousy. I am forgiving myself for pushing others away. I am forgiving others for the things I interpreted as hurtful. I am learning to drown in a sea of grace for myself and for those around me. We’re all nothing but human with our own shortcomings and our own downfalls. No one can fix another, and none should need to.
I’m doing my best to relearn intimacy, to allow my heart to open and to allow the possibility of pain. A broken heart is terrifying, but loneliness is much more so.
Life has so much to offer. Some of it is good, and then there is so much that is not. When I remember the past, it’s hard to see the stumbling blocks. I focus only on overcoming and enjoying. How I want to focus on those things now and not just when I look in the rearview mirror.
So I traveled back to Oklahoma and took with me the lessons of Texas, the bottle of glue mixed especially for me by my mother. I’m still broken, I’m still not quite sure how I fit together, but I am allowing myself to be repainted, sculpted, and created better than before.
I still struggle with intimacy. I still worry over the words I say and if anyone will be nearby the next day. I wonder what will happen if I push you away. But I try to not act in the ways of the past. Instead, I reach deep, and I ask for help. I move forward, and I apologize for the wrongs that have been done.
I ask God to guide me. Then I close my eyes, and I leap. I know my mother will always be there to catch me, always available for a plane ride home if I need to be pieced back together.
(title from "the house that built me" by miranda lambert)