If you’ve spoken to me at any point in the past two weeks, you’ve probably heard me lament over the phenomenon I’ve just been thrust into, known as the school pick up line. Or, as I like to call it: the child drive thru. Every morning for the past week and a half, I approach the white line painted on the parking lot, brows furrowed, white-knuckled fists gripping the steering wheel, heart racing, sweat seeping out of my arm pits as I scream “OUUUTTT!” With the urgency of war general charging his soldiers into battle.
It sounds funny, y’all, but it’s no joke. The child drive thru is my very own version of the seven layers of Hell described in Dante’s Inferno: each circle around the entrance to the school is it’s own layer of Hell, because it takes me about that many trips to get Max out of the car. Round and around we go, with each visit a new method of coercion: bribery, threats, screams, guilt trips, pleading and begging, until finally he makes his grand exit into kindergarten with a symphony of car horns lined up behind me, serenading him in. It’s a miracle that I haven’t Britney Spears circa 2009 meltdowned in the parking lot, throwing myself into the cars behind me yet. By the grace of God, I overcome.
But yesterday, after sobbing my way out of my drive thru version of this inferno and into the the redeeming drive thru line at Starbucks, I realized that maybe this stuff just gets to me more than it should. Could it be possible that the child drive thru isn’t supposed to be that traumatic of an experience? Maybe other people are able to roll through life- and school drop off lines- with the wherewithal to ignore the horns of the cars behind them.
Ive been thinking of this in terms of the dealings of my heart, as well. I’ve recently come to the realization that my heart is much like that of an untrained puppy. You know those really yappy dogs that bark a lot and run away when they’re unleashed? I relate a lot to them.
I get a little carried away sometimes. And though I contend that it’s impossible for any one person to ever ‘feel too deeply,’ perhaps I allow my feelings to affect me too strongly.
I recently went through a rejection that I probably could have handled a little more gracefully. The rejection took place on a Sunday. Come that Monday around 4 am, I was still crying over it. A friend who was certainly done with hearing me cry over something so ridiculous told me to pull myself together.
So I did what any sleep deprived and emotional person would do at 5 am and entered myself into a year long contract with a gym. (Side note: I do not recommend doing this.)
So I walked into that gym, approached the front desk…. and started crying again. The concerned front desk person asked how they could help me. I responded, with no dramatics spared, that “my heart is torn asunder!” The staff member couldn’t really make out what I had said through all my crying, so I went on to tell them that my heart was broken and it was time to join the gym. There was a silver lining in this all though, turns out sometimes gyms are able to waive enrollment fees for special occasions… like maybe a birthday, or when someone’s heart has been torn asunder. That $30 discount truly help, too- it made me realize how much I understood Max whenever he would find himself in the depths of despair, and miraculously would feel eons better when presented with candy. The fact that I am relating to my five year old on this level is something I will leave myself to explore on another day.
But the swarm of tornado feelings whirling around in my chest is something I have to reckon with quite often. I realize that I have the ability to go from zero to 100 faster than a Bugatti, that I might need to grow a few more layers of skin and that I am easily influenced – and that isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. I’m really trying to walk into a season of where I am embracing the facets of my personality so that I won’t be in denial of myself, I’ll hopefully fumble through the dark of life a little less than I did the past decade, and I’ll enter a new season of embracing a lot of maybe’s in my life, like:
Maybe I’m a mess. Maybe I’m too much. Maybe it’s endearing. Maybe it’s unresolved issues. Maybe it’s just my DNA. Maybe I have a lot more to work on. Maybe I’m exactly the way I’m supposed to be. Maybe one day I’ll finally learn to regulate the degrees to which I allow myself to feel. Maybe I’ll be alone forever because I live my life in a language that’s hard for other people to understand. Maybe out of the billions of people in the world one day I’ll find someone who appreciates that I sometimes cry at 2 pm on a Thursday because I just remembered that George from Grays anatomy was indeed the man who was hit by the bus in that jarring episode that aired ten years ago.
There’s so many variables and I can’t speculate on how this will play out for me.
But maybe… It’s a gift in many ways. To feel so much and (as Gibran would say) to be wounded by our own understanding of love.
Maybe there’s something to be appreciated in the act of allowing oneself to be filled and emptied and still remain open. To look at our pains and press our fingers into them, tenderly.
“Show me where it hurts” life asks me. “Everywhere,” I respond.
Today I’m okay with that.