Butterflies are Free to Fly

Lucy’s Garden, September 2021

When I made the decision to commit my life to writing it all down, I immediately started analyzing my thoughts and scribblings for grammar with the focus of a tactician. It wasn’t good for prolific output.

So I got more insular, keeping my writing more to myself, for me. This is my way of apologizing for blogging less over the last year.

I’m just keeping my head above water, if I’m honest. Most days it feels like life is so complicated and powerful that all I can do is float. I remind myself constantly to live as if my life is a Choose Your Own Adventure novel. I’m just here on this page, deciding between the dark basement or the swarm of bees in the bathroom.

Which brings me to today. I’ve had Lucy in my life three years now, since Mother’s Day, 2019. I could not know any of the events that were coming when I made that offer and it was accepted. I naively charged forward, motivated by fear and stubbornness and homelessness. I just knew in my guts that it was time to go. Leaving Oregon behind and driving over the continental divide that weekend, I felt a rush of possibility and unknown. I’ve learned to [mostly] accept being in the liminal space since, because life is always an unknown.

I’ve written about that feeling a lot this year in my journal. What gave me such absolute courage to do this incredibly hard thing? I look back upon myself and I am frankly stunned that I did any of it. I don’t know if I could do it again. I also didn’t really know what I was doing. I’d learned some skills on the homes I had remodeled previously.

But this time I was in it alone and no one was coming to save me.

I had a true absence of fear while doing this house. Maybe I was so fixated on getting things done in the beginning, I didn’t have much time to think about feelings. That’s probably very true, and probably why when I was doing the bathroom two months in, I started to unravel.

It’s hard to articulate why that bathroom almost undid me. I’m working on it. That stuff is going directly into my book, because it’s some hard material and well, if you pay for the book you’ll be entrusted with witnessing that part of my story.

The me of Mother’s Day 2022 is so vastly different from the me of Mother’s Day 2019. I am endlessly grateful. I’m also grateful for the ridiculous life events that gave me more to learn about myself: cancer, sobriety, heart disease. None of it is going to push me down so far I drown, because in doing this house I learned how capable I am of being myself. And that is the only job any of us has, anyway. People around me have their hard and their stories hurt to witness, surely. But my job is to be me, next to them. Not take their pain away. After spending so much of my life thinking I needed to fix everything for everyone else, now I know that’s not my purpose.

I look back on what this house has taught me and I marvel. I have learned, through my relationship with Lucy, that I will tell myself the truth about myself to myself, always. And that while Lucy is a building, she’s also the external manifestation of me.

It’s a trip to have a building that feels like it’s me. When I work on Lucy, I work on me.

I can’t wait to see what year four brings.


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