Swimming At Midnight, But Not In Self-Doubt
It was the middle of a beautiful star filled night in the middle of North Carolina country and my family was drinking, laughing, simply enjoying themselves on vacation like you are supposed to do. The vibe was laid back and chill. One would even call it picturesque. And off to the side there sat your lonesome sparkly poetic weirdo writer, in my jean capris sipping water wondering how to excuse myself quietly and not disturb the fun going on to go check on my mom.
Mom wanted to stay back at the cabin and my mind...well my mind replays every incident that we have ever encountered. The incidents where I found her unresponsive in her room, waking up to her screaming in pain because she didn't use her walker fell hard, or her wandering around confused because her toxins had raised in her body. To be clear, I am fully aware that I am high strung. I plan, organize and triple-check medications, creams, plan out possible outrageous scenarios-because we have lived them, and do not know how to deal with downtime. I feel uncomfortable and useless in the moment when I relax because I feel that I could be doing something more useful. I am working on it-promise, that is what therapy is for...thankfully.
Your vibe attracts your tribe.
Or so, it is painted on coffee cups with glittery letters or mass produced on tee-shirts meant to be given to your besties. Most days, I cannot even figure out who I am let alone what vibe I am sending out therefore I cannot articulate what vibe I am putting out there in the universe besides confusion.
Confusion is a vibe though. One that simply means we are still self-searching and learning. Let me just clarify, man oh man, am I still learning to accept that I need a tribe. And nowhere is it stipulated that said 'tribe' has to deem you perfect for them to accept you....just that they want you, jacked up as you are you,to be with them.
My family did nothing to me that would make me feel like I should not be part of the fun that was going on. The 'not wanting to have fun and let go' is in part due to my anxiety, in part to my depression, in part to due to my low low self-image, in part because I feel that I should not have fun and should do something 'productive' and whatever else I am feeling that day. Except...self-care and relaxing, is productive. Loving myself is productive. Being myself is productive. Allowing myself to be loved and accepted is productive.
My cousin's wife turned to me and said she wished that I would go swimming. It was day three on vacation, where the day time temps were reaching 110 and drowning us in humidity and night time was hovering in the 70s somewhere. In that moment, I realized, I had my tribe. I watched my cousin's beautiful children fish with my uncle, their grandpa. I listened to my aunt and cousin laughing about something nonsensical, I witnessed my cousin and my cousin's husband chewing the fat about goodness knows what, and realized I loved them for who they were...and they loved me for who I was, not my skin, not my hair, not the fat that hangs off these bones but they love and accept me, all of me, even the confused me.
My cousin did not offer, he just went to check on my mom taking away that worry, that obligation, from me.
I sat a little longer then quickly ran inside to take off my bra in the bathroom. I did not even bring a bathing suit on my trip because of how self-conscious I was. I came out and slid out of my capris leaving me in my black tank top, much to the shock of my family and got in the pool where everyone else (at least the ladies) jumped in swimming around in their underwear. We floated looking at the Big Dipper and played Marco Polo with the kids. We shut off the lights to the pool and the house and stared in awe at the beauty that is nature. We laughed so hard we cried at every little thing.
We just lived.
For one night, I lived with no doubt, no self-criticism, no worries...I just enjoyed the night with people who invited and accepted me as theirs and not a moment of it was planned, and it was perfect.