When we were little, my mom used to play a bedtime game with us that she had learned from her dad. I think he must have made it up, but he died when she was only 9 so I never had a chance to ask.
The game went like this. Mom grasped my hands, Dad took my feet, and they would swing me back and forth in the air over my bed, singsonging “One, Two, THREE, the bumble BEE, the rooster CROWS, and away she GOES!” It was a terrifying thrill, that moment of floating weightlessness, only to be tossed into my bed in a fit of giggles on the word “GOES.” We called them “bumblebees,” as in “Mom, can I have a bumblebee before I go to bed?”
Bumblebees were the best.
They must have made a major impression on us, because after Mom died a couple of years ago, one of my sisters had a bumblebee added to a tattoo on her leg, and I had “and away she goes….” tattooed on my foot. I like to think Mom would have been amused, maybe a little touched. She was used to us by then.
I got the tattoo for Mom and but also because I realized that those words contain one of my earliest, sturdiest life lessons. They hold all the tantalizing adventure, all the opportunity, all the promise, all the stepping-off-into-the abyss-and-trusting-there-is-someone-(or at least a bed)-there-to-catch-you confidence that I passionately wanted to embrace despite a once paralyzing anxiety about almost anything and everything.
The anxiety is mostly long gone. That’s partly because I am in my 60s and I have a wonderful life and if Armageddon hits tomorrow, I have no personal regrets. Desperate sorrow for humankind, but not for me.
It’s gone partly because of a mix of meditation, therapy and medication I had to be arm-twisted into trying but that I now am deeply grateful for.
But it is mostly gone because I kept working on it, kept the bumblebee faith that if I just persisted, just did the things I wanted to do despite the fact that they scared the bejeesus out of me, there would be someone there to catch me.
And it worked. Life has been an incredible adventure, a kaleidoscope of the joyful and the disastrous, the ecstatic and the mundane. I’ve gone places I never dreamed I’d see, tested myself in ways I didn’t know there were to test, felt sadness that shook me to my core and laughed myself silly over nonsense that still cracks me up.
But nothing, including having your shit together, is permanent.
Recently I kind of lost my grip. We’ve had some personal switcheroos — imminent retirement turned into indefinite working (for good reasons, but still…), phasing a job out turned into ramping it up, a creative enterprise had to be back-burnered long enough for me to be appalled at the chutzpah it took for me to think I could do it. I’ve had some health issues that have made it hard for me to eat, and food, well, food is so much more than nourishment in my life. It’s a huge loss not to be able to taste what that world has to offer and I need to grieve the loss and figure out how to live with it. The day job has had me in a dither too — trying to teach and write about politics in the age of Trump has thrown me off my stride a bit. I thought I was going to be teaching about the first woman president and instead, well, you know. We’re all on the knife’s edge.
But on the advice of a good friend I found my way back to yoga and a teacher who is extraordinary. Strength and balance are returning to my life, reaching for my breath is grounding me, and in the stillness I can see what ailed me was that I had shattered into fragments of myself. Politics Christine, was separate from Food Christine, who was separate from Jewelry Christine, and Travel Christine, and Professor Christine and most of all, Writer Christine. When I wanted to write something, I had to figure out which blog it fit into? Which me was it? With everything compartmentalized from everything else, there was no way for the positive energy in the happy parts of my life to help support me in the sad and stressful ones. No wonder I got my chakras in a twist.
Because I write the way I live, this blog is the reunification of me. I’ll still have the food blog and the rocks blog and I am starting a place for political thoughts, but they will all start here. This is my Everything Bagel Blog — I’ll just repost the bits that have another home as well. But this will be my home, and I am happy to be here.
And away I go.