Upside down and backwards


Do you ever look down and see the stars beneath your feet? Do you ever look up and see your feet? Does your world ever get that confused?


Sometimes I think I look for alien landscapes through my camera lens because they seem the most familiar. Living the charmed life in a first world country, with husband, house, and (okay a few more than the requisite 1.5 kids and a dog) children and pets. How could I possibly be confused about who I am and where I'm supposed to be?

Life does not follow the charted line like a map. It's a poem in the midst of it's writing, a novel without an ending, a movie whose whole plot will be forever defined by the happily ever after or bittersweet that comes in the final scene. I suspect most people live happily with that ambiguity. Otherwise I wouldn't feel so alone.

Worst of all, sometimes I'm afraid I'm confusing everyone else just because I'm confused. My daughter comes into my room this afternoon with her punk rocker haircut, her flannel lumberjack shirt (her favorite) and skinny jeans. She's sad, her eyes say it all. They never want to play my game, she laments. And as I look at her pout and wonder what to say, I realize I am less alone than I think. "Do you ever feel like no one understands you?" I ask her, gathering her beanpole frame into a hug. She nods into my shoulder. "I feel that way today, too. How about if we cuddle and see if that makes us both feel better?" And so, in the midst of the mess and the schedules and the work to be done, I took a nap with my youngest daughter. The one whose brain infection has made her an entirely different - and wonderful - child.

I wish I could tell her it will be okay. That it's okay to feel like you don't belong. That you'll be a great person anyway. I could tell her all those things - but they're aren't whole truths. In reality, it hurts to feel alone. There are times you would sell all you have to be able to look into someone's eyes and be known all the way down to the last particle. Known - and loved.

As I undress memories I've hidden in the darkest corners, so sure no one could understand, so sure no one would love me if they knew...it is a confusing time. I am back in touch with all the ways my life hasn't fit in, hasn't been accepted, hasn't been loved. I feel it tinging my days, that old familiar sensation that what is and what could be are so vastly different.