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  • Writer's picturemaggiehsmith07

Dear Shaniqua

Dear Shaniqua*, Is it okay if I call you Shan? I know we’ve only recently met. I want to thank you for programming the coffee pot last night. The smell of the freshly brewed coffee is what got me out of bed after a long weekend. I’m glad we had time to talk this weekend - in between the crush of company and preparing and serving meals. I'm sorry that you're feeling lousy too. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and ordinarily, I'd write about gratitude. It's what everyone expects but instead, I'm going to talk about feeling anxious and down in the dumps. Which is common - - not only during the "holiday season" which, ready or not, we've entered, but year round. Perhaps even more so this time of year, but it's seldom discussed regardless of the time of year. You seldom see a Facebook post where people proclaim, "I feel kinda shitty." Recently, I began to feel the pull of anxiety at my toes as I stood at the shore of all that there was to do. The swirling ocean of competing priorities. I tried to fight it but the water just rose and the tsunami of anxiety overtook me. Now I’m paddling to hold my own, which means that I need to let go of a few things. Not you. I’m happy you’re here. We’ve got this. Freeing ones self from a tsunami of anxiety, much of it self made, is exhausting. My head surfaces and I gasp, momentarily catching my breath and scanning frantically for the shore only to be walloped by another crushing wave of anxiety. They say that you cannot pour from an empty cup and that’s true. I need to be mindful of where I’m pouring these days so I’m just pouring in the areas that will take this anxiety away. Which boils down to home & self care. Ever notice how sometimes, you pour from that cup of self, filling others up and you don’t get so much as a “how do you do?” in return? You give and the receiver greedily takes, takes, takes. Leaving you with sodden dregs. The balance of give and take tipped heavily to the receiver with the weight of the taking. I need some time to use those dregs to compost some more energy for myself. Some “give a shit”. 35 days left in 2017. I know it sounds dramatic but I’ve kinda had a “meh” attitude overshadowing the year. 2016 ended with the specter of the election over it which obviously carried into 2017. I switched jobs and miss the people with whom I’d used to work - people whom I’d adopted as surrogate family. Throughout the year, I wore a charm on my wrist that read “TRUST”. And I really wanted to - I wanted to trust the democratic process and trust that people wanted equal rights and treatment for all beings but as the year wanes, I’m uncertain but I do know that there are people out there doing good things - I need to look for the helpers, as Mr. Rogers would say. That single word, trust, reminds me to trust the timing of the universe and to trust that people want to give too, not just receive and take, but that maybe they don’t know how? Trust that goodness lies in all of us - which is very difficult when I stop to consider Roy Moore. But I need to trust that people are good and mean well. I need to trust my instincts. Listen to that little voice. This is a double-edged sword because the voice doesn't always speak the truth. Fear is a liar.

I'm retreating to sanctuary, which, for this week is a Fairfield Inn in Ohio. That’s okay - sanctuary is within us. So, that’s where I’ll be. Cocooned inside myself, restoring. Thinking about how I won’t let 2018 swallow me up. Thinking about what intention to set to guide me through 2018. Thinking about how I’d answer if asked, “How do you do?” Working towards shifting my response to that question. How do you do, Shan? We’ll be alright, you and me.


* Any resemblance to Shaniqua is a complete and utter figment of my imagination. However, the name Shaniqua means "God is Good" which can only be described as synchronicity.

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