Growing Pains

Pink Poppy Blossom

It seems like all of us are going through growing pains. Munchkin is adjusting to school, Elf is – quite literally – stretching his bones overnight, and I… I’m growing too.

Transition. That is the title and theme of the writing class I just finished, and it is so apt for this season in my life.

We had our first snow this morning – not much – but you can see the skiffs on unmoved cars and in the ground hollows. I have yet to rake my leaves, but no matter – they’re going on the garden and in the compost anyway. I’m still leaving the melancholy, reflective moods of Samhain behind me (most people know it as Halloween & Dia de los Muertos). Paul Cardell is playing on Pandora (piano music, if you are not familiar with him), and I have both boys home today. Munchkin is sick and he’s hanging out on the couch. I’m grateful for it, actually. School has been challenging in many ways (not academically, that’s part of the issue) and he needed a break. Although I’m sad he is sick, I am grateful for this respite. I’ve needed a break too.

The funny thing about the quote above is that I’ve always had the idea, and perhaps you have too, that the pain was only in remaining closed and tight-bound, restricted by the loving swaddles of family and friends and really – ultimately – ourselves. We bind ourselves, afraid to grow, afraid to rock the boat, afraid of what others might see in us… or what we might see in them if we manifest our truest, most authentic responses. It’s painful and heartbreaking and stifling.

But then, when we’ve finally had enough, when it’s too hard to keep our wings furled, and we start peck peck pecking at that calcified shell over our hearts… oh, the pain of birthing ourselves into the light. Feeling all slick-shiny and tender-skinned and blinking wide-eyed at all the possibilities. It’s scary. The appeal of turning around, nuzzling back into those comforting, enfolding bindings we’ve only just left behind… so tempting.

Do you know what I mean? I bet you do.

Over the past month, I’ve been wrestling with spectres from my past. I don’t write about them much here. I’ve shied away, worried that it will be perceived as a pity ploy, afraid of exposing too much and hurting loved ones.

But. There is always a but. Growing pains.

I was given the opportunity to write about how I found my voice and my light for Jena Schwartz’s Roar Session series. She took a chance on me, she really did, and for that I will be forever grateful. My essay, Roar from the Darkness, was published on her site this past Monday. I have been overwhelmed with the love and gifts of compassion I have received since.

If you haven’t read it yet, I’d love it if you did. And if you already have, thank you.

I’d also like to encourage you to read the other essays and poems. They’re all thought-provoking, exquisite explorations into what it means to have a voice and trust yourself. And then, either here or there, I’d love it if you’d share your own roar and growing pains.

And lastly, my wish for you, whether you’re still pecking away at your shell or have spread your wings to fly… is that the pain be in equal parts balanced with love and joy.

14 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. “But then, when we’ve finally had enough, when it’s too hard to keep our wings furled, and we start peck peck pecking at that calcified shell over our hearts… oh, the pain of birthing ourselves into the light. Feeling all slick-shiny and tender-skinned and blinking wide-eyed at all the possibilities. It’s scary. The appeal of turning around, nuzzling back into those comforting, enfolding bindings we’ve only just left behind… so tempting.” ❤️

  2. Growing pains. Transition. Yes. Why does it seem we are all going through this? Time of year? Personally, I prefer to view Samhain as “solemn” instead of “melancholy”. Reflective, though, yes. I love that. I don’t always love what I see, but this time of year always sticks a mirror in front of my face whether I like it or not. And it’s a good thing, in the long run, you know? Your words are so beautiful, Dakota. (I read your “Roar Sessions” essay and loved it.)

    P.S. Have always adored that quote–it’s stunning in its simplistic beauty. In other words, a pretty slap in the face. <3

    1. Ooooooh, yes solemn. That’s a good word for this time of year, Sarah. I like it better than melancholy – in truth – although I think the combination of solemn + reflection produces a more, mmm… potentially sad-charged miasma for me. These long, dark days feel heavy.

      “A pretty slap in the face.” LOL! And yes, I hadn’t thought of it that way but that is exactly what it is, isn’t it!!! <3

  3. I can’t say why and where this hurt.But it did.And I am so glad it did. ?I loved your essay for the roar sessions. I know this to be true – Whatever we are hoping to be ,however it is going- we are not one ‘coaxing tone away’ .Oh! I can not say how much I loved that piece. It was not a matter of getting teary -eyed for me – it led me to burst into emotion. I am so much lighter and ‘lighted’ .

  4. This is one of my favorites of your blog posts, Dakota. There is so much risk in putting ourselves out there, that yes, it would be easier/simpler/calmer to just…stay put. But I’ll have to add my favorite Cher (!) quote that encourages me to ‘blossom’– “until you’re willing to risk looking foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great.” Right?! 🙂

    1. I love that quote! Yes, that’s perfect!!! I love quotes that really make you think and are so much deeper than they appear on the surface – that one is perfect.

      LOVE.

    1. Kristen – thank you! xo! (And yes, snow, I’m thrilled though… we really need it! I’d rather have snowy cold days than grey muddy cold days. 😛 )

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