I looked at my Facebook feed and saw pictures of women I knew looking so young, so very much alive in their piles of beads, crazy costumes and glossy red lips.
They were so juicy, and I felt so haggard, and I was…jealous.
This wasn’t what I planned to write today, but sometimes life hands you something and you know that it’s important, maybe life-changing, and absolutely worthy of notice and comment. Yesterday, I had such a gift.
I’m still working on healing my root chakra, on finding stability, moving away from fear and learning to trust my own strong roots to keep me stable no matter what. I’m still doing all the things that go with that work, from yoga to wearing something red to keep me focused and grounded.
Yesterday was a hard day. The whole weekend was hard, actually. In the midst of coming to terms with the fact that I’m losing my only remaining parent when I haven’t caught my emotional breath from the last loss, my job involves putting on funeral receptions. Saturday I “did” a reception for a man I knew pretty well, who was a beloved husband, father and grandfather.
When they played “Taps” and an honor guard presented a folded flag to his widow, I had to hold myself very tight to stay on the planet and remember that it was their story, not mine. When a piper walked up the center aisle playing “Amazing Grace,” I had to cry, blow my nose, fix my mascara and get my shit together so that I could pass the trays and make the coffee.
I did not feel rooted, stable or brave. And somehow, mid-repair, I caught sight of myself in a mirror and saw an old woman, a woman with graying hair who looked worn out.
There was a party in town to celebrate Mardi Gras that night, and while I was feeling old, and tired and drab, both rootless and juiceless, I looked at my Facebook feed and saw pictures of women I knew looking so young, so very much alive in their piles of beads, crazy costumes and glossy red lips. They were so juicy, and I felt so haggard, and I was…jealous. Jealous of their youth, their fun, and their ability to take an evening off and live life.
I “remembered” myself as if I was someone else. I remembered my red Chuck Taylors, my robin’s egg fingernails with white polka dots, and my plan to have my nostril pierced and sport a tiny diamond stud. I could barely recall that woman who lived in my body less than a year ago and seemed to be buried by the daily grind of survival.
Yesterday, I went with my father to a hospital where he had a PET scan to help his doctors make a better diagnosis and plan. There was nothing awful about it, but for me it was a symbol of things to come, and a reminder of tough and recent history. By the time I got home, I was absolutely exhausted (despite having done nothing more taxing than sitting in a chair). I slept for three hours.
When I woke up, I found that I’d received a small package in the mail. I opened it, and discovered that it was a red bracelet, a gift from my BFF who is also working on her root chakra. Half of the beads were an opaque, smooth red and half were faceted and sparkly. When I thanked her, we figured out that the bracelet I received was not the one she had ordered. She had not intended for it to be sparkly, and worried that I would be uncomfortable wearing it. She apologized.
(Because she knows that I inherited a ring with a large, beautiful diamond that I rarely wear because it’s kind of over-the-top for me).
This morning, in that liminal haze between regaining consciousness and drinking coffee, I was looking at the bracelet on my wrist, turning my arm so that the sparkly beads caught the light. I realized that the “mistake” was not a mistake at all, but a message from the universe. Sure the bracelet was red, for my root chakra, but it was also a bright, glittery…fun thing. It made me smile just to look at it.
I am still glittery. My long, graying hair is really kind of beautiful against my not-so-old face. There is no reason I can’t paint my nails, or gloss my lips or wear my red Chucks (except that I think my son’s girlfriend borrowed them). I am still juicy. I’m still funny. Nothing is going on that requires me to retire into drab invisibility, or feel jealousy because other women are living large.
It’s really up to me to sparkle. Which seems like it has nothing to do with growing strong roots, but to me it does. For me, there is a real tendency to associate “standing on my own two feet” and being strong with a kind of Death March of Grimness. Kind of like “I can cook you some healthy food, but you’re not going to like it…”. I guess I hadn’t realized that while I was focusing on this root chakra thing I was also battening down all my hatches against whimsy, against playing, against sparkle.
Just another revelation on the road to balance, I guess. Now I have a constant, portable reminder to strengthen my roots, and to keep shining while I do it. Not incidentally, it also reminds me that I have a BFF who cares enough to join me on this journey and send me jewelry to make it more fun.
Thinking of myself as a “sparkly thing with roots” makes me think of some insane tree, all tie-dyed circles in pink and purple and glitter everywhere. It might display gigantic, Peter Max flowers in the spring, and then bear candy apples or chocolate-covered cherries.
Deep roots below and crazy-shiny growth above.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: believemenatalie on Flickr