Pearls of Joy
Posted on 17th November 2020 at 14:24
I am noticing a mood in my household. We are all experiencing it, a pull to dropping shoulders, slacking jawline and using grunts instead of words.
We are all seemingly retreating to an adolescent state of being, a phase where our internal world and its circuit of confusion versus a need for assertion is incredibly loud.
I watch my teenage boys with keen interest; my nearly 16-year-old man child has recently gone through a huge transformation and thanks to recent world lockdown experiences, I have had the privilege of being with him. I cannot tell you what came first - his deepening voice reaching new decibels, or his shoulders broadening. It truly has been as if I have watched him plot a journey to take up more space.
As he does so, he is developing a keen interest in his role in the household. He often offers to run me a bath in the evening, to cook breakfast at the weekends and is more often than not quite keen to “do the kitchen” on his own. I watch on as his physical body taking up space meets his external need to take on more of an adult role in our home.
His younger brother is almost 14 and is more entrenched in the state that his brother was in 2 years ago. And I have to say, my experience of self at the moment - more closely resembles this wonder child.
His limbs hang long, hands dangling at the end of branches which do not yet have the trunk to support them. His voice, not having yet transitioned - is constantly having to fight against the volume of adults and so he either is sullenly quiet or erratically full of verbal “stuff”. He struggles to do anything quickly, which is a huge change from the “keen to please” child he once was. Dressing takes ages and choices have become more complicated than ever.......and yet – in the midst of all that is seemingly so difficult right now, lies a growing need to share his opinion. He will argue the peeling off an orange, and I am often told how wrong I am.
Like a hermit crab in search of a larger shell, his body cannot yet sustain the space his voice wants to take up and I watch that frustration and meet it by paying close attention to giving him compassion and understanding when he shares his thoughts.
I watch these two beings that were once babies in my arms and I look at myself and many of the people I come into contact with. We have been asked in 2020 to reduce the space we occupy, to limit the ears our voice comes into contact with, my body hangs limply at the edge of our sofa and I grow irritated at the voice on the television and argue with a face that cannot respond.
Two weeks ago, and just before a second lock down, my voice demanded a break. Having had our pre-planned trip to Wales cancelled, I called forth an immediate evacuation to my soul home in Cornwall.
We were met with storm Evert, a windy wet bear who raged against our warm home by night, throwing the sea against the shore and demanding that bones rise from the ocean beds and be distributed accross the shoreline.
I managed 3 morning strolls during our time there, and consciously chose to work on my posture whilst collecting tiny fragments of oyster shells. As each shiny opalescent glow of pink or orange or gold was discovered – I filled myself up with the experience of joy. Having gathered a good array, I bought them home where once again I allowed my full body to experience these shiny nuggets of possibility by buffering them with baby oil and a soft cloth. It reminded me somewhat of the days when my babies were small, how their skin had needed attending to just like my joy now does.
Two weeks later and my arms are hanging limply again, it is so difficult to hold onto joy amongst all this difficult news! So, I return to my role as the oyster keeper. I take down my little jar of shells and turn them over in my hand and I wonder – what could I do to better this tiny portion of my internal world? What role can I play within myself?
I remember YouTube videos of people cracking open oysters and selling pearls at knock down prices, and I wonder how this is possible. 10 minutes of searching on eBay, and I have ordered 25 freshwater oyster shells which arrive 3 days later.
Each shell is sealed in a little packet and I am too excited to wait until a quiet moment. I flex my arms, and notice how that little spark of joy has been rediscovered.
A quick snap of a brittle membrane and I am inside – a spongey, gooey slightly nauseating flesh is stuck to each half, and there, resting quite purposefully – a pale pink pearl.
My teenager’s role within themselves right now is to continue to find their voice, to argue, to discuss, to flex their muscles and to become all of who they can be.
My role right now, for myself, is gaining clarity; I must challenge the part of me which wishes to give in to the grit which has been forced upon me this year, and instead – like the oyster – I must be in pursuit of moments of joy.
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