“Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities.”Robert Schuller
Yesterday I didn’t know that I would do what I did, but I sure am happy today that I did it.
It’s pretty cool when we have days like that. Days when we surprise and stun ourselves. Days when we think, damn I didn’t know that I had that in me. That’s what we say to the world anyway. Inside we knew we could do it. We were just waiting for the right opportunity.
In fact, I had a lot of those types of yesterdays this past year. They started with me waking up with or without a clear expectation, but some semblance of hope that I would accomplish something meaningful, and then executing upon that, which made for an exceptional day.
Yesterday was like that.
I learned some new things about myself this year. One thing is for certain, I need to check a box every day. I need to feel that I accomplished something, because, that momentum propels me into tomorrow. When boxes get checked daily, then I am in a good place. It’s why last year’s goal of writing for 90 days worked. It’s why Al-Anon for 90 days worked. It’s why narrowing my job search to 90 days, and tethering it to another outcome, worked. It’s why writing again for 120 days is working.
I’m writing about yesterday this morning because my friend Kerry, who is also a fantastic friend and cheerleader, said to me last night, you have the best goals. I don’t think that was always the case, but I’ve learned that if I want to enjoy tomorrow, I best get some shit done today.
Reflecting on the successful goals of the year, I also find I fell flat, too. I understand why my foray into dating was a farce. I didn’t have a goal. I resented a remark by a man, who we’ll call the milkman because he liked to drink milk. We dated in March. He said he didn’t think I was “over” my ex-husband. I didn’t take kindly to the remark. One, because the word “over” is used too loosely, and its definition as it pertains to relationships is in itself overrated. And two, because while he was wrong about the husband, it was the end of the marriage that I had yet to sufficiently grieve.
I learned that no goal, no luck.
While the dating scene ended, grieving did happen, quite acutely, soon after I said goodbye to the milkman. That brief relationship helped me recognize what loss still loomed in my heart. It felt extra heavy because its timing occurred when I stopped taking an anti-depressant that I had been on for four years. I told my doctor and my therapist that I didn’t feel depressed anymore. Once the medication was gone, I did feel sad. Both my doctor and therapist reminded me that the medication helped me make it through the roughest parts of the last several years, that it was a band-aid that helped me keep it together. They encouraged me and told me I was strong enough to face the real pain of this life that I chose. They knew I was strong enough to fly solo. They saw me in flight. I was the only one who didn’t believe it.
One day in April, grief rained on me like no storm ever did. When the tears didn’t stop, I didn’t know what else to do but write every thought that came to mind. I recognized these thoughts as part of this loss that enveloped my entire being. Secreted Grief Erupted was born. The post was later published with a compilation of pieces written by Illinois authors. Yesterday, I brought life to it, so I could say goodbye to it and close this year by checking a big box.
Essencia, one of my favorite places in the whole world, hosted an open mic of sorts, where I read “Secreted Grief Erupted”. Mehret was the creative mastermind behind the evening and shared poetry and song, corralled children to perform music and improvised imagined games, encouraged emerging poets to bring life to beloved works, and more. It was an amazing night of dance, music, song, and spirit. I prefaced my reading with what I recently wrote: “Vulnerability is the gateway drug to happiness.” And then I read. What I thought was once impossible, reading the most vulnerable work I have yet to write, today it is now part of my history.
People see what we often don’t. My clan of women from the 6 a.m. Yin class at Essencia encouraged me to go. They see things in me, that I don’t. They didn’t know what I would read. But, I did. Because I knew there are special places in the world, where special people gather, where judgment does not exist. Essencia is one of those places, and that’s why my grief could be shared and be transformed to hope.
Karen Craven, Secreted Grief Erupted
A grief that once borne cannot be resurrected, because its birth is a beacon of hope, signaling that this pain will soon pass.
Looking at what was impossible yesterday, I appreciate every person who helped me get there. If there is one thing that I learned in 2018 it is this: Every box I check in life is an affirmation of my hopes and dreams for that day and moment, and those accomplishments become the momentum that is tomorrow’s hope.