Sometimes I catch myself.
I catch myself and consciously re-position. I have to unclench my jaw, soften my gaze.
I think about the wrinkles that have started to form between my brows. I think of my babushka’s wrinkles in the same place on her wise and powerful face, and it helps me relax. When I think of her, I feel her.
I’m thankful, yet terrified, when my mind wanders to that corner of my existence. If I think about her for too long, or in too much detail, I risk crossing over from a light and soft smirk to the pain of her absence and dark, dark longing. So, I think once again about position. Posture. Tension.
Breathe. Again. Relax. Let go.
Sometimes, just like that, I’m back. Next task, next plan, next challenge. Rally. Lead. Teach. Answer. Move. Forward.
But other times, just like that, I slip. I lose my footing and my grip, and before I realize it, I’m falling. I long to be alone. I want to forget all of my promises, my obligations, my responsibilities. I want to wrap up all of the pieces of my life that make it mine—and gift it to someone. To anyone. Can I drop it in the mail?
I recede. I shrivel. I hide. Yet, I thrive there.
It’s not a miserable space. It doesn’t bring me sadness. I can see how it may look from the outside—that’s one of the reasons I hide it. But, in this place—I am renewed. I am re-acquainted with myself. I breathe easier than when on display. I require this time alone.
I come to expect my regeneration period to take no more than two or three days time. There’s a lot of sleep, meditation, prayer. There’s a good amount of dodged obligations and forgotten to-do lists. There’s a handful of red-buttoned phone calls and a slew of unanswered emails.
I need that time. I know this now.
This is me. This is how I work. It may have taken over 30 years to accept and understand my plight, but I’ve come to realize it’s not only mine alone.
We are the movers and shakers. We are the dreamers. We are. However, we need the option to check-out and breathe slow, deep, long, lonely breaths. We need to know that we can wrap ourselves in a robe of grace and understanding in an allotted time, and that we can take it. It’s okay. It’s beautiful in its own rite.
We are the introverted extroverts. We thrive on social interaction, until we don’t. We are a conundrum of what may seem to be two mutually exclusive desires—to be on display, and to be left all alone. Yet, it’s not so simple, is it? Are we? We yearn for both. We require it. We must allow for it.
When we take those days, when we allow for that sinkhole to create strength and growth, when we accept its role in our life knowing that we will climb back out— better, we grow. We grow not only from the time we give ourselves to stay “low” to be alone, but we grow each time we succumb to and honor our true selves. Once we learn that we are the movers, shakers, dreamers who sometimes choose to dream all alone, we honor the integrity of our true selves by being in whatever state we need in the moment.
Breathe. Again. Relax. Let go.
Author: Anya Bokeria
Apprentice Editor: Heather Hart; Editor: Emily Bartran