I’m sitting at my desk, seven different windows open on my monitor, Petra snoozing on the floor behind me, airplane jut-jut-jutting through the sky overhead.
The phone rings. It’s one of my sisters calling from Portland.
She: I was reading your last blog post, and I... have a question.
Me: Sure. What’s on your mind?
She: I’m not sure how to say this, but… I’ve noticed that the way you’ve been writing about the past - you know, on the farm and stuff - has been changing.
Me: Oh? How so?
She: Okay, don’t take this the wrong way, but lately it sounds like you’re less… bitter. Not that you were bitter before, exactly. But maybe you’re feeling softer about things? Or more nostalgic or something.
She: Does that sound weird? I mean, somehow it just seems different lately, or maybe I’m reading too much into it.
Me: Well. I haven’t been aware of a difference, but: sometimes I do feel bitter, absolutely. Other times I feel grateful. And sometimes I feel a sense of tenderness for all the good moments.
She: I see.
Me: Sometimes I feel like my spirit is like a kaleidoscope. Depending on which way the light is hitting it and how shaken up it is, it reflects back different feelings. But it’s all there, all the time. Warm fuzzy feelings and the opposite.
She: Yeah, I get that.
Me: I guess I’m becoming more comfortable with the idea that I can feel a lot of different ways about something. And that each of those feelings is equally valid.
She: We’ve all dealt with our childhoods in different ways, haven’t we? You work things through by writing about them. I like to talk things through out loud. We’re all trying to make sense of it as best we can.
She: Like the more I talk through it, the more I tell my story, the more I feel like I understand it. I kind of have to talk about it. If I kept it inside, I wouldn’t be in a very good place. Maybe that’s how it is for you with the writing.
Me: Yeah. That’s exactly it.
She: Okay, that’s all I wanted to say. I have to go back to work now.
Me: Okay, me too. Bye.
(I love you, MJ. Hope we keep having these discussions for decades to come. XOX)
Photo Above: Sisters.