You know I've got a variety of the keep calm tees. It's my latest obsession, the collecting of offbeat tees, and it works, because Rick and I share them, and he loves sci-fi mash-ups as much as I do, so I figure I'm good for awhile.
It's more than a little funny to wear those keep calm tees, as I'm not a calm person. Ever. I'm high strung, high maintenance on the best of days.
I asked Rick the other day if it was obvious I was terrified, and he said no, that there was no outer sign. There were certainly inner signs--I had just taken my blood pressure, which was high, and my blood sugar, which was low...on the inside I felt jittery, scared, and ready to wig out.
I'm grateful for the disconnect...but also worried by it. If I can hide it, then chances are the kids also hide their worst fears, their most embarrassing terrors, and move through the day without me knowing they aren't okay on the inside. And if I don't know and can't see, then how can I keep them safe and whole?
Rick, Bobby and I are rewatching Fringe--we're almost through season 1, and it's the episode where Charlie gets impregnated with the snake creature's larvae...he calls his wife, visibly trying to keep his voice normal, his tears from falling, and his wife hears none of his fear, his sorrow, in his voice. To her, it's just a regular day, no big deal.
And I think...how do you miss that? How much do we miss? Each and every day as we go about our lives, interacting with strangers, acquaintances, friends, family, how much do we miss? How many people's lives do we make harder because we miss it?
We hide ourselves, tuck in our sorrows, our fears, our worries. We don't want to be vulnerable, open wounds. We don't want others to see it, see our weak spots. We don't want to burden our loved ones...
And we know there's only so much people want to hear, want to deal with. We're so busy, so caught up in a flurry of meaningless tasks, that we forget to connect with people, to be there, to be open, to let people have the chance to share themselves. We are quick to judgment (all of us), and quick to demand people behave in a certain way.
I am humbled when I think of how quick to judgment I can be. I am a black and white thinker who constantly has to remind myself that there's a lot of gray. I have to work to let go of harshness, remind myself of the mindset I have with hospice families, with students: I am not there to judge--I am there to care and to help. And when I fail, when that sting of judgment stays in my mind, I am humbled.
We are fallible. We fuck up. What's important is what we do after. Are we sorry? Are we willing to try to fix it? Are we willing to get back up and keep going?
That's the trick, the key, to getting through each moment with any chance of grace--not to keep calm--but to remain humble and remember that each moment is a chance to grow and to learn.
And fear is part of the package, so learn to breathe with it.