Why I Won’t Wear Green

I can remember as a kid growing up the hullabaloo that circulated around St. Patrick’s Day. Folks pinching each other when they saw others were not wearing green. Or drawing shamrocks on their hands with marker to avoid the inevitable pinch. And it took me a while to realize it, but I align with the “I won’t wear green on the 17th” mentality. I’m not anti-holiday or anti-celebration. But I’ve come to learn that deeper meaning is important to me in my decisions and actions. So though I won’t wear green, you can find me proudly sporting orange each March 17th.

St. Patrick, a Catholic Saint (other traditions also claim him), is associated with Ireland though I do not believe that was his original country of origin. It’s disputed where in Roman Britain he was actually born. His association with Ireland brings about his association with the color green. In the Irish flag; the green, the white, and the orange all represent different things. 🇮🇪 Below you can see a picture from Wikipedia.

Thus, as one who is of the Protestant faith, I will wear orange. It may not make sense to everyone. It may mean that people still try and pinch me (they will get pinched back). But it’s something to me that holds deeper meaning than just following what everyone else does.

Green wall, Orange jacket.

Too Much to Lift

I’ve put off writing this blog. There is so much going on right now, and so much of it feels very heavy. But thoughts have been swimming around my head and I think maybe the best way to calm them is to write them down, and here we are. So just go into this knowing there are a lot of moving parts, most of which are pretty deep. But I’m navigating and handling it pretty well.

The world feels like a very scary and unsure place right now. Whether warranted or not, we are living in a sense of fear, scarcity, and unknown. To say my anxiety is heightened feels like an understatement. Thankfully I’ve been able to limit my contact with others in large groups. This provides its own struggle as I am someone who gains energy from being around others. I’ve been lucky to talk to some of my closest friends via phone and text and know that they are safe and taking precautions in terms of their health and wellness.

On top of what feels like the biggest health crisis I’ve witnessed (feels like, I am not claiming accuracy to this statement) this week is one that bears its own weight annually. About a week out, my body sensed it before my mind. Then last night she was in my dreams. And my day was clouded in a bittersweet haze. Thankfully I have friends checking in on me, willing to listen and support me as I need (even when I don’t know what it is I need, they ask and comply when I can finally formulate words). It’s anniversary number three but it’s still a lot to handle.

At coffee with a friend last week we discussed dating and relationships and things we are looking for in life. It was nice exchanging notes and encouraging one another. It put my butt in gear thinking about dating and the weird world of dating apps and the like. I swear it’s the most counterintuitive process. I’m old school maybe. So who wants to set me up on a blind date? With the social distancing that people have been promoting, dating seems unrealistic and even dangerous in a way. Funny how the time when I feel pushed back into that realm, the world almost laughs in my face.

In trying to connect virtually with people I love over the last few days, I had the opportunity to chat on the phone with one of my best/longest friends. Along with catching up on life, sharing info about our families, and reminiscing about mom, she shared some exciting news with me. So much joy, but I had to quickly walk to my car before breaking down. When thinking of the joy of others, sometimes it reminds me of all I will not and cannot have Mom physically be a part of-and that at times is paralyzing. She won’t be at my wedding. She won’t hold her grandkids. Those were the two biggies that hit deeply.

So I did what I’ve learned is best: I forced myself to be active. I went to the gym and tried to run it out, to beat my feet against the treadmill track and hope that some of the bottled up, weighty emotion would ooze out of my body. I’m not fully convinced it worked. Even though I told myself it did, a little, that’s not how emotions work. You can’t just command them to go away and have that be successful. But moving my body is something I can do to try and keep my mind and body in check and healthy. And so I will force myself to do it, even when I’d rather wallow and stew on the couch.

There is a lot going on, but through it all I’m reminded of the awesome community around me. People from my cohort who sense something is up and reach out, people who promise to call, people who are direct in asking what I need, people who show up in a myriad of ways unannounced and unasked because they are the best and know I can’t or don’t always ask, people who are present, people who make me laugh, people who don’t get it but let me blab and freak out. To me it’s all about the people: that’s what keeps my anxiety and grief in check. And even when people can’t be physically present, I am ever grateful for the role technology plays in keeping me connected. It may be too much to lift, but carrying the load together makes it more manageable.

Say for Me, Love

There isn’t anything in this world but mad love. Not in this world. No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love. And, of course, no reasonable love. Also there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving. But who wants easier?

“March” by Mary Oliver