Sometimes a cycle can end with the folding. Even though it feels like the winds are pulling away the basting from the cloth, when the rains soak the pinned edges, all waiting for the moment when the sun comes out, the wind dries, and clean corner meets corner.
So much of self improvement, self awareness feels like washing the same parts of us that keep getting wrinkled, the sitting still creating creases, the running and falling scuffed into stains we scrub—then hang back on the line to dry into a better brighter self on a string of other selves. The trying, followed by accepting, the endless spin cycle of being better—then the pinning in the sun showing things we didn’t see before, back down to wash again. Rinse. Repeat.
It isn’t the parts of you with lines and stubborn stains that need to rest, it’s the one who keeps taking them all down to wash again.
It is enough to fold when dry. Maybe that looks like staying quiet when provoked to guilt, looking away when a wind twisted word turned you sideways, or letting the pins of control fall out of your cracked hands. End the cycle, and fold.
Will it be what I think about now, the echoing distance of people from my life as its lived ever forward? What about those coming in? —their fresh eyes not holding me to my past selves, no old hurts held in hands I couldn’t quite see. Will they end the same, different?
The newness of any day requires the ending of the last one, the things held and said and felt rested and resigned. The page turned on what happened, to look to the next good thing coming, not afraid of another ending, yet ever aware of its possibility.
In any room I walk into there may be someone who loves me, fears me, is irritated by me, and even at times hates me. But here’s what I didn’t always know; in that same room there is also me: who at times loves me, fears me, is irritated by me, and yes, hates me.
I have waged a war with others when all the while I could have made peace with myself. Isn’t that what we all are searching for when we want someone to think better of us? That we feel better toward ourselves, that we become convinced of our own goodness by consensus.
Isn’t that also why we might be so tired?
I bought a sweatshirt a year or two ago that said ‘I am not for everyone’, and life has helped me to believe this to be true. The world is full of endless flavors and I wanted everyone to choose mine, to find my own goodness in others thoughts of me—now I know it just doesn’t work that way.
The freedom to hate a flavor is allowed to anyone who needs it. That is grace. That is love. And at the end of my life I will remember that.