do you know what I mean?

October 20, 2011

There is a head space I think we strive for. It’s a chance to get the hamster off the wheel or the monkeys out of the trees. To just shut it off and listen to the quiet. The unquiet mind is exhausting.

Do you know what I mean?

There is a pit of the stomach drop that I think we avoid. It’s the one that comes after trying and trying to get the baby to sleep and then a wail cuts through the silence. Drop. Or when you walk in a room and the people stop talking. Drop.

Do you know what I mean?

There is a flutter in the soul. It comes with light that refracts and shines off a perfectly still lake. It stares back up and causes that soul space to beam. Like if you could see inside yourself, you would glow for a moment. It is the zap of joy that comes from majesty.

Do you know what I mean?

There is that ache of sickness from the core, the one that nudges shame or rears its head at the sight of the broken or dying. The place that knows a helpless need.

Do you know what I mean?

There is that electric feeling, tingling all over, a giddy sort of thing. Right before you enter the haunted house and you just know they’re going to jump out, or when the surprise party moment has arrived and they’re here shhh they’re here shhh!

Do you know what I mean?

There is that gut void of loss. The break-up or the grieving kind. Intense vacancy. Ache. Pain in the center.

Do you know what I mean?

There is comfort. In the feel of the blankie or the hold of the hand. That softening of the edges, calming place. It is inside our homes with their own smells most of all, with the people or the things that we call ours.

Do you know what I mean?

All of this. It is how we are all the same. This is where our heads should go when we think we are not. When we think we are more or less or better or worse. We are all in the do you know what I mean. We are all underneath what we see or know.

The same.



Kathleen Basi October 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

This is just beautiful. But weirdly–because that’s where my brain is lately–what it reminded me of was the National Down Syndrome Congress’s campaign, “We’re More Alike Than Different.” It was the point I made to a group of med students when my little girl and I went to talk to them about Downs being more than a series of Scary Bad medical conditions. That no matter how “different” we seem to each other, we have much more in common than not.

Do you know what I mean?
Kathleen Basi recently posted..Baby Magic, volume 2

Michelle g October 20, 2011 at 8:57 am

“There is that gut void of loss. The break-up or the grieving kind. Intense vacancy. Ache. Pain in the center.”

Living here this week.

Our (only) Daughter has gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd and decided to leave home because she did not want to have rules. In her rush to out-do the others in the group I know she is only heaping pain onto herself with bad decisions…(either now or in the long run). Her siblings are full of questions and pain too. and i simply have very few answers.

Intense vacancy.

Sherry October 20, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Sorry to hear that, Michelle. I hope your daughter finds her way back the family that loves her dearly.

Kat October 20, 2011 at 9:15 am

You brought tears to my eyes – thank you for such a beautiful and thought provoking post.

Teresa October 20, 2011 at 9:25 am

Yes, yes, yes, YES! Beautifully written!

nicole October 20, 2011 at 9:26 am

Hmmm. Thinking.
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Varda (SquashedMom) October 20, 2011 at 9:41 am

This is just so damn beautiful. I want to write the long, thoughtful comment it deserves – but need to run off to take care of my mother. But know I’m thinking it, OK?
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Adventures In Babywearing October 20, 2011 at 10:51 am


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Elaine October 20, 2011 at 10:52 am

I’m in awe of your writing here. And yes, for the most part, I know exactly what you mean.
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Betty Anne Davidson October 20, 2011 at 10:55 am

Freakin amazing. Your writing is freakin amazing. Don’t stop. Ever. Kthxbai.
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Alexandra October 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

This post is why I come here.

Because I can finally sit still, and think.

Your posts remind me of why I miss poetry (which this post is to me) and makes me ask myself why I don’t make the time for it anymore. And why I don’t see the importance of it to me.

I need to.

It’s the mental chatter I can’t quiet.

It’s me that knows me, shouting louder every day: get back to that which feeds you.

So happy I found you.
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Becky October 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

YES! And thank you!!!!

Katie October 20, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Beautiful. I’m going to print this out, I think.

Lately it seems I’ve been right in those negative do-you-know-what-I-means, but when you list the positive ones I’m reminded that, yes, I know those too.

Thank you.

Becky (Princess Mikkimoto) October 20, 2011 at 1:49 pm

I loved and needed this post more than you know. I’m going to keep coming back to it. Or just print it out and put it in my journal. Yes. Really.
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Kim October 20, 2011 at 2:15 pm


Busy Bee Suz October 20, 2011 at 4:07 pm

I know EXACTLY what you mean.
Beautifully written!
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Galit Breen October 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm


This is stunning. Truly.

And yes, I know what you mean.

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Elizabeth @claritychaos October 20, 2011 at 10:58 pm

I love this so much, Heather. And the intense vacancy and ache got me. We never forget those feelings, no matter how long it’s been.
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Diane@BeStillaMinute October 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Wow! Just found your blog via Jacki from The Raven’s Spell.

This is by far one of the very best posts I have ever read.

I was nodding my head with every word because yes, I do know what you mean. On every single one. You have an amazing way with words! New follower. :)

Kim October 21, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I could relate to so many of these feelings/experiences. I too have had sleepless kids for the past four (!!) years. And that drop in the pit of my stomach – I know it well!
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Aubrey October 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

It’s easy to sit in judgement of others when they feel so very far removed from our lives. You made it human. You make us humble. You make everyone real, these emotions, experiences, truths. Thank you for the reminder…and for your phenomenal writing…inspired, as always.

Jamie October 22, 2011 at 9:44 pm

I know what you mean. Wow. You described each thing so perfectly…it was more than amazing imagery, it was making these feelings into something so concrete that I could just reach out and grab it…and these things that you think are so private are so common, but in a good way. You’re right…we could understand each other so much better if we just trusted that we know what we mean, deep down, where it matters. Beautiful. Inspiring. Awesome.
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Kate Coveny Hood October 23, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Poor little guy! And poor you! And poor person who is probably filled with guilt for something that could have happened to anyone. But more than anything – thank God Miles will be okay. It would have been tragic and what a sweet little soul he is for feeling protected.

Kate Coveny Hood October 23, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Meant “could” have of course. And I didn’t mean to hit submit so soon. I wasn’t on Twitter last night so I didn’t see this until now. Sending you all a lot of love!
Kate Coveny Hood recently posted..I Have Mommy Brain…or Some Kind of "Brain"

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