Tuesday, September 27
Deep Breath In, Deep Breath Out
What a day I've just had! Seriously, today was full of challenges, crazy temptations, and emotions. Before I plunge you into the madness, let me just say that, I have really changed. Not like, "Oh you hit your 30's"maturity boom, but more, "Wow, God is really changing me from the inside out" kind of change.
I've always been sort of a "hard" person - extremely tough on the outside, stoic, unshakable even. Not. Any. More. Lately, I have been repeatedly blindsided by my emotions, the outward display of them as well as the intensity. I'm not on any hormones. I am not a wimp. I am just easily moved to deep feelings over things that I used to appear numb to.
Don't get me wrong...this post is not a complaint at all, more of a revelation or an "ah-ha." I used to think that my inability to display emotion was a permanent part of my personality, but I've come to realize, over a lot of grueling soul searching over the last decade, that it was actually a self-defense measure I acquired in childhood. I am realizing how it made me seem phony, and callus to many people who I genuinely care about and longed to connect with. I fear I may have even lost out on friendships because people took my lack of emotion as indifference or contempt. Brutal introspect aside, and as uncomfortable as my newly flowing emotions are making me, there is so much joy in knowing that the huge wall that kept me so reserved, is now down. I feel, ALIVE!
I am vulnerable and it feels great. There, I said it. So, about today, already...
I was thrilled that today was our second MOPS group meeting of the year, and couldn't wait to get out and connect with the ladies. Zion was looking forward to playing with friends, and I certainly was looking forward to adult company!
We had an outstanding guest speaker, MacDella Cooper, who shared an incredible testimony of from her childhood in Liberia, West Africa, during several years of civil war; her rise to high fashion success in New York City; and her launch of a foundation to help orphans in Liberia. My heart was stirred so deeply as she talked about these precious orphaned children, I kept thinking to myself, "What do you want me to do Lord?"
After Zion and I left our group, I knew she was hungry, so I stopped by a food cart and got a sandwich for us to split on the way home. This is where the craziness really begins. I'm already in a heightened emotional state, then Zion takes too big of a bite of food, and though she doesn't choke, she comes close and scares herself. This results in a terrifying hysterical meltdown where I cannot figure out if she is hurt, if she has inhaled food, or what is going on...so we literally walk outside the subway to get to the fresh air. I was seriously thinking that I was going to have to call 911, and trying to keep from completely panicking. Finally, she calms down and takes a drink of water, and is COMPLETELY fine.
Next, we head back down to the subway, and as we are exiting at 168th street (and she is asleep in the stroller) I am lifting the stroller up the stairs and it literally unhinges and starts folding in on her. The stroller was just recalled for this problem, and "the bad mommy award goes to" = me, for delaying on sending it back in, because "we haven't had any problems." Luckily, I am able to snap it back into place and move along, without injury to my sleeping beauty.
At this point, after the stressful situation earlier, I don't want to wake her up from napping in the stroller, so I just start walking around my neighborhood to kill time. After about 45 minutes, she's awake, so we head to the park. It is practically empty at 2pm on a school day. But after only a short amount of playtime, a creepy dude with no kid enters the playground. "Lucky" for me, every bald black man is immediately "da-da" to Zion, at least from a distance. Something just does not sit well with me, I had that icky gut feeling, you know? I am instantly overwhelmed with fear.
It is just me, a petite 5'2" mama, and an adorable toddler. I'm instantly thinking worst case scenarios. It's time to leave the park and head home. I've had enough adrenaline, stress, panic, worry, heavy-hearted-ness for a day, and I'm asking myself, "Why is this happening to me!?"
As I sit here writing this, I am emotionally spent for the day. When I feel that threatened for my daughter, two thoughts come into my mind, first---I will kill anyone or die trying---to defend her, followed by, what if I can't defend her---what if I lose her? The first thought is instinctual, the second sends me to a place so deep in my soul that if I don't escape it almost immediately I fear I'd never escape the darkness surrounding it. I love my daughter something fierce let me tell you!
I can't leave on such a heavy dark note though. Not surprisingly, the enemy of my soul left me a little temptation to see if I'd turn to him or to God through such a cluster of craziness today...4 cigarettes left behind in a Marlboro reds box, just chilling outside my apartment along the walkway. I am not a smoker today, but I did have a phase..for seven years! I won't lie and say that I didn't think, "wow, that sounds great right now." In fact, my flesh was all giddy, like, "ooooooh free cigarettes for me!" (Aren't those like over $10/pack now!? I'M RICH!) But, I AM a different person now. For the most part, I've learned to deal with my emotions in healthy ways. (I'll admit, I still fall to chocolate quite frequently!)
It's like I tell my little girl when she is upset, "Zion, take a deep breath." So tonight (along with lots of prayer), that is what I will do, deep breath in, deep breath out.