On Change: It’s Never Not Weird and This is Not the Time for Restraint


My baby just turned 7.
A month later, she finished first grade and her time in the Lower School.
Ev-er-y-one asked her if she was excited about summer and 2nd grade.
She was not.
She loved first grade. She was suddenly starting 4 weeks of camp, a bunch of travel,
and a lot of unclear non-plans before going to the Upper School.

It was a lot to process.
Nerves were frayed. Anxiety was running high.

With a shaky voice she said,
“Mama, I’m having all these weird feelings in my body I’ve never felt in my whole life.
I never thought I would feel this way. I don’t know what it’s called and I can’t explain it.”

I held back my own tears.
“Oh Baby, you are going through a whole lotta transitions.
Things are ending, other things are beginning. It’s scary and exciting and strange.
So I totally understand you feeling weird. It’s expected.
Feel it all. None of it is wrong.
But I should tell you, it never gets any easier.
Grownups also have weird feelings they can’t explain when things change.
Does that make any sense?”

She put her hand on my heart as she does when she needs to feel it beating.
“Yes. But it doesn’t make it any easier.”

“I know baby, I know.”

I really really know.

Whether you’re willingly unzipping and stepping out of what you’re done with,
or being forced to, it’s usually not the most comfortable situation.
I imagine a hermit crab outgrowing its shell.
Or a peeling sunburn.

It’s a death. Of the familiar, the known.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an old boyfriend, an old habit, an old job or first grade.

Shifting into unknown territory, no matter how positive, freeing or necessary,
can make you feel awkward in your own skin.
It can be dizzying and ungrounding like you stepped into a room of funhouse mirrors.
It may even be painful.
I have willingly gone though transitions (that I previously avoided)
that tore me apart and ripped me open.
The burning off of fears and old stories, well, burns.

Sometimes it aches. As in stomachaches. Headaches. A literal pain in the neck.
Trust me. My massage table has bore witness to countless emotional releases.

Don’t let it change your mind. Don’t let it stifle you.

But also, don’t disengage from the ick.

Don’t just go to your happy place. Feel all the feels. Mourn what you’re shedding.
Cry on the cold tile bathroom floor.
Scream, dive into ecstatic dance, punch your pillow, fill a journal, jump into a bath or a pool,
breathe big breaths. Have a full on tantrum if you need to. Take a crazy long nap.
Hell, drink some wine and eat some cookie dough if the spirit moves you.

It doesn’t have to be pretty and tranquil. This is not the time for restraint.

But then be grateful for it. Try to unravel what your fears are. Let it make you feel alive.
It’s metafreakinmorphosis baby.
It is an opportunity to learn about yourself. To reach down and pull out your fierceness.
But also your grace and light.
To step into your power.

Give yourself permission.

Say Yes to Yourself.

There is some juicy energy there and once you freak a bit, channel it.
Put that storm of electricity into what’s to come, how you want to shape it,
what you want it to look like. Visualize.

Of course you won’t know what it’s like ’til you’re in it.
There’s a lot of What If’s.
But. What If It’s Amazing?

Yes your situation will be different. But so will you. And that is a beautiful thing.
You get to change. You get to be shiny and new.

There are many cycles of life while we’re here.
Deaths and rebirths fill a life.

It’s never not weird.
And also never not magical.

I love my Little for articulating her feelings so beautifully and vulnerably through her confusion.
I hope she’ll let me guide her through her transitions for a while, even while navigating my own.

let’s rock this thing.