Just Write {76}

March 11, 2013

These sesame rice crackers taste different today. Yesterday I thought they were the best thing I’d ever tasted. Today they just kind of taste weird. Same crackers.

I chew ice, the kind that’s all blasted apart by an in-the-freezer ice maker. I don’t know how it makes ice and then you can push a button and it makes loud noises to give you bite-sized pieces, but I love it.

Chewing ice is a sign of anemia, did you know that? I mean, if you chew it addictively, like me. I’m anemic. Again. You’d think I would just keep taking the iron supplements all the time forever and ever amen, but I don’t. I stop. Then I want to go back in time to be more responsible about my diet and taking iron so I don’t have a hemoglobin count thingy of 9. But I can’t go back in time, obviously. That happens in books and movies, not here. Miles asks me why this is the case and I don’t really know. I suppose it’s because we already have so many choices, too many, and so adding “do you want to go back and do that again. yes or no” would only confuse us even more.

I talked to two different friends on the phone about this today. If given the chance, it’s not like we’d go back There or There, to fix this or do that over or start on a different path. To do that would mean erasing the now and no way. And yet, it’s hard to look back, sometimes, at that girl with no clue what she was doing and I want to hug her and tell her the right way to go and remind her that she is worth choosing the peaceful way; worthy of listening to her heart-gut and then doing the next right thing.

She had no idea.

My friend said that yes, we can let go because we look around at our lives and our loved ones and we would never wish them away, and no matter what was the original path laid out that we ignored a time or seven, it didn’t lead to here. Or maybe it did. Here came after a long detour. So now we are here and it is what it is and we are what we are and embrace it.

It is much easier for me to embrace these loves of my life than it is to embrace myself and to be okay with leaving behind the past that I should not have left behind. Some of it was not meant to be left behind.

This is hard to freely write because I can’t shake the feeling that it’s coming out wrong. I have no idea what I’m really even saying. It’s just on my mind lately. I keep having dreams of my past. These dreams haunt me. Real and vivid dreams that I wake from feeling like they really happened and then I’m not sure why my subconscious is so hell-bent on exhausting the same seasons of my life.

Reminds me of some Sara Groves lyrics. What I thought I wanted, and what I got instead leaves me broken and….grateful. 

Sometimes I’m very content and surrendered and peaceful and all that, and sometimes I feel a shadow following me. A Back Then shadow. It is not about wanting a different life or different people in my life. It’s about lives lived before that I grieve for reasons I’m not sure I understand. Chapters and seasons and doors and all of that. Closed. Done. Grieved.

You can be happy in your life, overall, and still grieve what has ended. There are parts of you back there, broken off and left on the ground with them, or him or him or her or them.

If they bent down to hold on to you, after you left, and they tucked that piece of you in their hearts, you grieve because you did the same and you both know it.

Miles is home from school now, out on the back patio with a rubber mallet. He’s breaking up the ice that’s all over the cement. He wanted to do this more than eating a snack or having screen time. It’s a mission he’s on, to break up all the ice everywhere. This is a mission that makes no sense to me, but he lifts the mallet over and over and slams it to the ground. It looks exhausting. And it hits me, that this is what my mind is trying to do while I sleep. Working through all of it, trying to clear the way. It leaves me with vivid dreams and memories. It leaves me looking at the missing pieces of me. I think I’m supposed to forgive myself for leaving them behind. For the most part, they’re in good hands (and hearts) anyway.


This is the 76th installment of Just Write, an exercise in free writing your ordinary and extraordinary moments. {Please see the details here.} I would love to read your freely written words so join me and link up below. You can add the url of your post at any time. Just be sure it’s a link to your Just Write post, not to your main page, and please don’t link to posts that are not freely written in the spirit of capturing moments–you know, don’t link to how-to lists or sponsored posts. Also, please link back to this post in your post so people know where to go if they’d like to join in.

Please take a moment to visit someone else who has linked up! It’s a really good way to meet new writers and get inspired by the meaning behind their moments. Word? Thank you!



Shelly Miller March 11, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I’ve been thinking about this a lot too. That in-between what was and what is and wrestling with contentment. Have you read Brain Rules? It talks about what you said at the end, how we do most of our working through things over and over again while we sleep. You are right.

Ami March 11, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I love this post. The last paragraph, in particular, strikes a strong chord.
Ami recently posted..Not your average football player.

laura @ hollywood housewife March 11, 2013 at 11:03 pm

Your Just Write posts are some of my very favorites. I’m anemic, too, and I know what a roller coaster it is, even when it seems like it should be this simple thing.
laura @ hollywood housewife recently posted..nudie art in the house

Heather March 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm

thank you, Laura.

Yes. Roller coaster. I get all pant-y and exhausted and I’m all “WHAT is wrong with me?!” and then I remember that my hemoglobin prefers to hover around 7-9 if not being doused with iron. Bodies are crazy.

Also. YOU are some of MY favorites :)

Tiffany March 12, 2013 at 5:55 am

I just love your blog. I’m not always good about commenting or joining in…but I love it. I can really relate to all of this…especially the dreams.

Heather March 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Thank you, Tiffany. The dreams, they seem to want to keep me stuck. It makes me feel better to know other people live this same thing. A bit haunted and sad sometimes, but grateful.

Elizabeth W. Marshall March 12, 2013 at 9:29 am

I think I know this too well. So it stirs me up. This reconciling places, grieving them. Closing chapters and not going back and cracking them open for a re-read. There are a select few things I have a faint longing for a do-over. But if i did it over, I’d likely do it wrong. But He has righted and re-written. The Redeemer. And to that I say, peace. I love your words here Heather. Truly.
Elizabeth W. Marshall recently posted..Encouragement – A Letter In The Sky

Heather March 12, 2013 at 1:46 pm

righted and re-written. Yes. I forget this all too often as well. Sometimes I really would prefer erased over re-written, but then I guess I wouldn’t be me.

Thekitchwitch March 12, 2013 at 11:48 am

I get so upset with myself sometimes because I still re-live those old moments and regrets. I mean, it’s done! It’s over! You were 20 then–let it go!

Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone. I do it all the time.
Thekitchwitch recently posted..Weirdness: A Study of 7 Days

Heather March 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm

This is one of my favorite things about you. You tell me I’m not alone and I’m less lonely.


Jennifer March 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

I love this post, Heather. Your words describe what I feel in my heart most all the time. How we live life in chapters, and when one ends and another starts, there is a part of us that grieves what was finished. I love how you write. Thank you for sharing this glimpse into your thoughts and your heart.
Jennifer recently posted..Books for a rainy day

Heather March 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Thank you, Jennifer. Your words are a “me too” and I need that.


eric siewert March 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm

this is beautiful…the way the ice motif starts and ends it and all the wonderful mess of thoughts in the middle and it is just beautiful.
eric siewert recently posted..a march snowfall

Heather March 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm

Thank you, Eric. Means a lot coming from a writer such as yourself. Thank you.

shine March 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm

this makes so much sense to me as i too like to revisit the girl i used to be, and i often wonder if i needed that rock bottom to get myself to where i am now…and while i believe that, yes, i had to fall apart into a million pieces, because really, how else would i have thrown my hands up and said, “take over God! I’m done!”…but truthfully, i wish that i had screamed out for help before making poor choices, because even though God forgives me…forgiving myself is a lot like taking a mallet to the ice. I just keep pounding and pounding until all is shattered.

Leslie March 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I loved this post. Especially:
“You can be happy in your life, overall, and still grieve what has ended. There are parts of you back there, broken off and left on the ground with them, or him or him or her or them.
If they bent down to hold on to you, after you left, and they tucked that piece of you in their hearts, you grieve because you did the same and you both know it.”
So true, so normal, and yet not something we talk about a lot.
I’ve been lurking here for your Just Writes for the last couple of months. Finally got the courage to link today. Thanks for being my encouragement!
Leslie recently posted..Just Write. Words.

Stephanie Precourt March 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

I am hovering around here a lot lately, too, that same place, kind of in between, ghostly, unwell. Suddenly I feel really old and feel like I’m looking old and literally “feeling” old in my bones. I thought I’d handle it much better than I am. It’s messing with my mind, past and present. When you quoted that song lyric I instantly thought of Dave Matthews Band (LOL?) – “What I want is what I’ve not got, but what I need is all around me.”

I want to say more but I’m going to just email.

Stephanie Precourt recently posted..And this is what we did.

Amber March 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm

Heather, this is beautiful and familiar, in this elusive sort of way that I can’t quite put my finger on, but I feel it, like a fog wrapping around me. You are certainly not alone, and I love the way you voice these things, whether or not you think they will come out “right.”
Amber recently posted..When stories cry out

Kristen March 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

I love your writing style and the topics you choose to write about, but this post especially resonated. I’ve had the same thoughts that, sure, I’ve made some bad decisions, but if I had done life differently I wouldn’t have wound up with the life I have now…more importantly, the same beautiful children I love more than anything.

Love how you want to tell your younger self that she’s worth choosing the peaceful way. I find I look back at all my past selves that way…I needed to hear the part about choosing the peaceful way because I’m still not sure I do that as much as I could.

Thanks for another great post :)
Kristen recently posted..In like a lion

Elizabeth March 13, 2013 at 11:30 am

I get this. I think it’s our age or phase of life that makes this such a universal. But I do still feel that Shadow and I am also seeing it’s not exactly a shadow of my past… feeling like my present or near-past is the shadow that’s going to be the Shadow of my Past that I have to reckon with in the future. (If that makes any sense.)

Big sigh.

I did some “just writing” this weekend so I think I’m going to link it up with you now. I found it in my drafts (actually, from months ago) the night I wrote freely on my blog and came to the realization that I’m done blogging. At least at that space, at least for now. We’ll see what comes next.

Anyway, I’m ‘just writing’ here in your comment box, so I’ll sign off now. xo Thanks for sharing this one. It was good to read today. It really, really resonated with me.
Elizabeth recently posted..Not where I thought this was going….

Misty March 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm

I just love you. You write and you leave huge pieces of yourself here and you are a friend to me and you don’t even know it! So thank you.
P.S. I never got back to comment on your three years sober post, but Happy Three Years Sober. It had me nodding along vigorously and crying happy tears. Celebrating with you.

Julia March 16, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Oh, love. I can not even come up with a good comment but to tell you that I love this, every bit of it, and you are pulling my heart strings. xoxo
Julia recently posted..The Noise of Silence

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