sing the things you see
There’s an upsetting thing happening here at home lately, and it’s a thing I would never talk about in a public place — this being one of those kinds of places. So my challenge today is to write around it to the best of my ability.
I journal almost every day. The goal is daily, but there are days when I wake up with a migraine so bad I don’t want to open my eyes and also I would like a replacement head; and there are days I wake up and wish I didn’t exist. It’s difficult to write through and inside of those experiences. I am trying to find ways to still do it even when I am in pain, because my journal is important to me.
It’s not just free-writing; my journal is where I keep track of a lot of things, including the current weather conditions — temperature, likelihood of precipitation, humidity, dewpoint, UV index, pollen level, air quality. I write what the weather warnings are, if there are any, which is pretty often for Michigan in the summer.
Sometimes it helps me sort out why I feel physically gross in any particular way. Nauseous and achy? Probably a reaction to the air quality and pollen count. Joints hurt? Probably the stormy weather rolling through the state. Should I go outside today or will it burn me?
I keep track of the moon cycle and which planets are retrograde, even though I don’t know much at all about astrology. Tracking the moon gives me useful information, however. There’s a cycle to everything and the moon is always part of it. Insomnia? Probably a full moon. Introspective as fuck? Probably a new/dark moon.
I count up the minutes while the days are lengthening, and count them down again when they get shorter. I find it fascinating that there are periods of time, close to both the autumn and the spring equinox, when the day length seems to stop its stretching or contracting; there will be several days that almost feel like the satisfying *click* of a thing finding its place, then sitting back on its heels for a few moments. Things slow down once they reach their zenith, maybe.
There’s a section for listing gratitudes, something my therapist suggested. I have what is apparently an abysmal opinion of my life experience, and there are days when I struggle to think of things I’m grateful for beyond clean water, or the absence of a migraine, or my morning coffee. I think it’s okay that this is the case, but it bothers me that I can’t see far enough into the things that grace my life to express them. Maybe that’s trauma. Maybe that’s taking it for granted. Maybe I can’t see it because I don’t think it exists.
Sometimes I just write a sentence about why I don’t feel grateful for anything that day. I think honesty is important, especially with myself.
Several weeks ago, I finally replaced my old Yeti Blue microphone with an adorable Yeti Blue Nano. I even bought a stand for it so that I can use it podcast-style, although I don’t know what I want to say. I just know that I want to say it. (I think it’s been more than several weeks, but linear time is difficult right now)
This is the playlist I listen to most often:
Music moves me in ways similar to the ways that really good writing moves me. For examples of good writing, try Ursula LeGuin. Octavia Butler. Terry Pratchett. On days when I know that I need some kind of insight or a reason to keep going, I reach for Ursula.
Maybe that’s why it feels so important to write. I can put shapes to my values and beliefs. Wrap words around what love means to me, what spirituality feels like, what I’ve discovered is a true thing.
Walk through the world with care, my lovefrom ‘The Lost Words Blessing’
And sing the things you see
Let new names take and root and thrive and grow
And even as you stumble through machair sands eroding
Let the fern unfurl your grieving, let the heron still your breathing
Let the selkie swim you deeper, oh my little silver-seeker
Even as the hour grows bleaker, be the singer and the speaker
And in city and in forest, let the larks become your chorus
And when every hope is gone, let the raven call you home