The sound of raindrops, spattering steady and rhythmic on the roof, woke me at 2 AM. I jumped from bed and ran to the window with a delightful squeal. My fingers fumbled on the latch as I hurried to get the window open. I leaned on the sill, pressed my nose against the screen and breathed in. Eyes closed, I listened to the sound of raindrops, their intensity waning and increasing like a heartbeat. After a very long time, I leaned away from the window, thinking I should probably go back to bed. A gust of wet wind blew across the sill onto my face. My cheeks were wet with raindrops of my own making.
I left the window open a crack, and got back into bed, even though I knew the room would be freezing when I woke up. For some reason, closing the window on the rain felt like cutting off a piece of my own soul. So, I left it open and woke to the smell of wet earth, wet air, and wet grass mingled with the scent of freshly opened cherry blossoms.
The scent of rain and the feel of the rain-damp air on my skin, lifted a latch on a door I had kept shut in my heart. Tears came again, surprising, unbidden. I missed the rain. I missed Washington.
Transition has never been easy for me, and neither has admitting my difficulty. I have never felt completely at home in this world. I am hesitant and slow to trust. I lean heavily into what is familiar, and into relationships I feel safe in. I am shy. This may come as a shock to some of you. If that’s the case, it’s because you’ve met coping Kat.
From a very early age I learned to pretend everything was ok, even if I didn’t feel that it was. I learned that acting tough got me praise, and that asking for what I needed got me criticism. When we made the giant move from Los Angeles to Portland when I was four I was a bundle of nerves and need, but I shoved it all down and forged ahead. I felt I was doing what my parents needed. I learned to put others needs before my own, and this became my habit. It’s surprising to find, after all these years and over a decade of coming to terms with unconscious self sabotaging patterns, that I find myself still engaged in this one.
Since I moved, I’ve been expecting myself to release my old life and expand into a new one without actually honoring my own feelings. Even though I know better, the old pattern of survival still has a greater gravity than my conscious mind. There’s a part of me still needing my attention in order for me to transition.
For the last few weeks I’ve been listening to the part of me I buried a long time ago, that I still bury in times of stress, in times when that part needs support the most.
There is a part of me that has always been anxious, I’ve just spent a lifetime cultivating behaviors to hide it. There’s a part that has never been able to say it, until now. I’m scared. I’m shy. I want to take things slow. I don’t want to draw attention to myself in order to feel worthy, in order to feel I belong. There’s no one I have to be tough for anymore, and nobody’s approval matters now more than my own.
So this transition is harder than the others because I’ve removed my old coping mechanisms like an old pair of clothes. They are so worn, they have holes in the knees and elbows. Almost everywhere else, the fabric is so thin I can see through it to my own skin. I’ve decided to continue unraveling the threads. I place the bundles in the branches of the budding trees for the birds to weave their nests.