Monday, January 17, 2011

A Little Turbulence to Rock the Box

"A sad story means, this storyteller is alive. The next thing 
you know, something fine will happen to her, something marvelous
and then she will turn around and smile."
~ Little Bee, by Chris Cleave

So I am ready. I am ready to face what ever is coming my way, and I decided the best place to start facing real life is right here on Sneezeweed. You've probably noticed I've been avoiding the blogging world for almost a month now, and I wish I could return with stories about some far away adventure or  an unexpected surprise that took over for a while. The truth is I have been dealing with some real life muck for the past few weeks. 

I had all intentions of coming back here after the New Year and sharing photos and stories of all the love and fun that filled my holiday season. And well, I still can I guess, but after my month long hiatus Christmas and New Years seem like such a distance away it seems better to leave them as they are: my own thoughts and smiles about time spent with friends and family. 

(I will, however, share this one moment from New Years Eve- because it paints a pretty clear image of all the fun that was had this holiday season. And also because if you and a friend ever get caught warming your behind in a fancy fireplace, you deserve to have the evidence shared. 

Jenna and me, caught in the act. Thanks Danielle. 

ok... you get the picture. Holiday show and tell over.)

Like I said, nothing but love and smiles this holiday season. 

After we wrapped up a pretty fantastic Boston New Year get-away, I jetted off to Florida with my family for a long weekend. A long weekend of a stomach virus and amusement parks that is. It was a long weekend. But we had a blast, despite the nausea, and all made it home in one piece, despite the turbulence. 

And really, while all of this fun was going on I kept dreaming up ways that I could write it all on Sneezeweed, but something kept stopping me from being happy with all this happiness. Something kept getting in my way and interjecting every time I tried to sit down at my keyboard, so I made a choice to walk away for a while. 

I do this thing, I place each piece of my life into it's own pretty box where it has to live all on it's own. One part of my life never gets to know the others on the inside- they only get to see the pretty packaging on the outside. When I am at home, nothing about work, or school, or friends, or relationships can spill all over the pretty home box. And when I am at school, friend happenings, and work happenings, and home happenings rarely make an appearance. I like to think of it as keeping things in their place, so if one box gets all filled up with muck for a while the other boxes never have to know and they can go on living pretty; others call it compartmentalizing. And I've gotten pretty good at it. 

Lately, my work box is all mucked up. I left my job watching the sneeze-baby to work for my family business doing Human Resources. I'd like to say I think I made the right choice, but I just can't. If I wasn't sure about what I wanted to do professionally before, I sure am now. And let me tell you, I've learned that I am made to cover the walls with finger-paintings and not hiring charts. I am made to create lesson plans and not training programs. I am made to read children's literature and not e-mails. I am made to attend school concerts and not corporate meetings. And I am certainly meant to sit on little chairs with my arms around children trying to master multiplication, and I am certainly not meant to sit behind a big desk staring at grown adults trying to land a job. I could go on and on about all of the reasons this job is just not for me, but the bottom line is it isn't. And it's going to be a long while before I can reverse this huge mistake I've made. But hey, I've been doing a pretty good job of keeping all this muck inside its rightful box. 

But then, you see, there was that turbulence I mentioned. We were on the plane ride home from Florida on a Sunday night. I was curled up against the window when all of a sudden the plane began to dip and tilt, leaving an unsettling feeling in my stomach. The pilot came on the loudspeaker and assured everyone that despite the "uncomfortable conditions" everything was just fine. Babies were screeching and adults were making nervous eyes at one another. I, on the other hand, had an entirely different reaction to the turbulence. I had this sudden realization that I am alive. As the plane dipped and tipped, and my heart rate picked up, I felt like for the first time ever I was aware of my own life. I've flown dozens of times, but I have never felt as venerable in a plane as I did that day, and let me tell you there is nothing like a little turbulence to make things begin to spill. In that moment the love in the home box tipped, the fun in the friends box splashed, the muck in the work box oozed, the promise in the school box splattered, and whatever was left in the bottom of that dusty relationship box puffed out; and they all mixed together right there on that plane- my whole life right in front of me, each piece jumbled with the next. It took that turbulence for me to realize that maybe I'd been giving this work box too much attention. It had no more or less presence in the big mixture than any of the other bits that were scattered there, and yet it seemed to have consumed every bit of my happiness. And just like Chris Cleave said, maybe the bits of unhappiness were mere signs that I was living. Signs saying "hey, this is not euphoric, but this is life." And some turbulence, whether it be on a plane or in the muck of your work box, is just a way to remind you that you are alive. 

From the beginning, I have thought that Sneezeweed should be about the happiness in life. And while it's true, I'm trying to get to the nitty gritty of happy here, we wouldn't know the happy without the sad. I wouldn't know just how much I am meant to teach if I didn't go down the wrong path first. And someday, when I find my way down this winding path that will go all around in the wrong directions before I finally get to the right one, someday when I get to the right path it will be marvelous, and I will turn around and smile. 

The Daily Sneeze ((or what's fueling the fire today))
- frogs. 
- sweaters. 
- snow. 
- tea. 

and hey, keep your eye out for something new this week. it's almost ready, and it's fantastic.


  1. love this post. you are such a good writer.

  2. As an elementary education major, I love this. :)

    Trust and pray! Everything will turn out alright.


Thanks for taking some time to smell the sneezeweed!