Monday, October 17, 2016


Hi there, I'm here.

Hovering in this digital space for the first time in over six months I have more questions than content.

Should I write the blunt and honest truth about the time away from this space that I once filled with so much art and thought?
Do I share the details of my life in the way I once felt was natural, so intimate and open?
Does anyone even frequent this little old rusty page?

Lord knows I haven't been here much.

I had a rough descent and a hard-won rise starting in January.
None of it felt safe to talk about the way I'd become accustomed to talking, so I found myself silent at first from fear and the stigma of mental health issues, and then from life shifts and renovations and ultimately a big move.
My fingers feel creaky upon the keys.
I don't have new work to share as I've been gone from my mediums for nearly three months.
My head is full of so many details that I cannot seem to think of what used to feel like the 'right' thing to say.

I spent the last calendar year getting well from debilitating anxiety. The kind that shuts your life down, narrowing your list of safe experiences until there are very few and even those feel scary
or dangerous.
Every bump in the night created terror.
Every headache was a death knell.
The final straw were heart attack symptoms, so real and physical that I could no longer muscle through.

I committed to getting well and with the help of a gifted therapist, pure grit and a supportive family I retrieved the pearls from the deep darkness and surfaced.

In the midst of all that healing and excavating we as a family have found ourselves (as if by some miracle) in Washington state,
specifically in the basement apartment of beloved friends
while we sort out the buying and selling of houses
between here and California.

It feels tender in my heart to even type the word 'California'. It's knitted in my cells. 
I wanted to get away from it in the worst way, the overcrowding and sharpness
but it still calls from the south,
still reminds me of my vibrant middle-youth
and assures me I can visit anytime I want.

I will not be going home to it again after 13 years of doing so. Beside family and motherhood I've never been so dedicated as I was to a place, to an idea.
California. There's a reason so many songs are written 
about its cities and people: it's amazing.
And difficult.

I was nervous about this move and felt unsure of whether I was strong enough to endure the chaos of change so freshly 
on my feet from adrenal overwhelm.
We've gone through real estate hijinks and massive unanswered question marks
and though I've tried to take Rilke's advice and love those unknowns I have mostly just 
barely liked them
or kicked them under the table.

We are so lucky to know the tribe we already have here and daily living is a testament to receiving and breathing 'thank you' in a million moments. I am learning how hard it is for me to receive without
having much to give in return beyond friendship and cooking.
It's so humbling to be handed daily gifts.
It's beautiful and hard and cracks my heart open, so that's what I concentrate on:
what pours out when the fissure breaks.

There are opportunities to work here and there, but mostly with O out of preschool I am full-time mothering. He's miraculous.
I love belonging to him as he grows into a full-fledged boy.
Our move also means that he gets SO much more Daddy. Both in time and in the form of a rested man for whom weekends are now a pleasure instead of a forced period of rest.

This move was very much a soul choice, a chance to slow down and make room and draw nearer to each other. It's very beautiful to be living those choices.

I love watching our life here unfold, challenging as it can be to ride the real estate roller coaster
of shifting dates and funding fall-outs.
Seattle is so full of great food and introverted people and blessed blessed rain
and without a school to get O to or work to attend to we can tromp about
like semi-lost vagabonds and explore the weird and wonderful
emerald landscape and EAT all of the things.

Then some days in the late afternoon he draws and I paint a long-awaited project and we get a taste of our past rhythms
in this fresh new place.

I look around in the morning and everything is odd and beautiful,
the nature of traveling a distance underwater and then surfacing.

I take a deep breath
begin again



pencilfox said...

beautiful pouring-out of feelings and words.
so glad you posted.


Anonymous said...

It's good to have you back. I've found your blog back in 2008 and it was one of the few that I continued reading throughout the years. We never met nor have I commented here before, but after reading your last post I wanted to say a long distance hi. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been your sunny self recently. It's incredibly hard to speak publicly about anxiety for all the reasons that you've stated, but even harder to come to terms with it ourselves. I've experienced similarly dark times to yours in 2013 and I just wanted to let you know that it does pass. You will feel whole again. It takes some time, strong will, meditation, singing to yourself in a shower when you don't feel like it at all, but neuroplasticity is a wonderful thing - the fear can be undone. Keep writing and sharing as much or as little as you need to, we are reading, perhaps silently at times, but thinking of you nevertheless.
Best wishes M.

oksana said...

Sure lovely to hear from you - be gentle with yourself - sending healing thoughts....

Dina said...

hi, allison! i am thinking of you!

Violet Cadburry said...

So sorry to hear about your illness. I too have had about 3,679 heart attacks and/or strokes over the past 10 years. This year I had to take 2 months off of work and spent a month in bed. I know what is wrong but it doesn't make the symptoms any easier to endure. I know that when I take my medication I feel balanced, but sometimes life just becomes overwhelming. Happy to hear that you are recuperating and taking the time to care for yourself. I cherish my Sunny Rising jewelry and wear it often. Hope to see you back in the studio when you are able. xoxo Violet Cadburry

Emily L said...

Best of luck to you! I've fallen away from the blog space as well, but I do miss your words and creations.

alicia said...

Just saw this post - thank you for sharing! I hope the new home is blooming into a beautiful place of support and comfort to you and your family.