Some journal posts are easy, some are hard. Most are provoked by a need: a need to to examine some masochistic weed-thought gnawing around in my head, a need to respond to something life threw at me without giving me a chance to adequately weigh in, a need to give my daughters something they might not understand right now. A few are inspired by a deeply hidden fear: fear that if, like a warrior, I don’t combat the tornado-like feelings swirling inside, I might not find my way out of a sinkhole. These are the hardest of the hard to write because they force me to bring to light fears of loneliness or inadequacy.

Grey is weighted; it sits on my shoulders, slowly weeping towards the edges of my world, enveloping all that is light. It slowly pushes everything I love to the sidelines, narrowing my view. If I’m not vigilant, if I am not careful, grey can block what really matters: hope, joy, life.

The problem:

This is me. This is what I see:


A week or two ago, my daughter’s assignment was to write a descriptive paragraph on a person. I don’t know why, but she chose me. To brainstorm, I instructed her to pay attention: to look for features she hadn’t really noticed before. Dear World, she said despairingly, This is my mother. She is perfectly ordinary.

Lay in a darkened, quiet room. Stare without moving at a darkened wall, scared to close the eyes, waiting for time to crawl, breathing slowly, feeling invisible, alone and, worse, numbed. In the midst of what’s become a nightly routine, a phrase whispered through my mind tonight.


I feel blah. Of course, yes, blah physically. Absolutely nothing about me stands out (except all the ways I am inadequate). Perfectly ignored and invisible. But, worse, blah on the inside, too.

[insert the sting of sudden, hot tears; think about deleting this entire post. But, no. Unsure of why, continue anyway]

Everything I do that isn’t self-defeating involves momentous energy; I use every trick I can think of on a daily basis to keep treading water. In the darkest of days, I wonder why. When the memories haunt and the grey is thick, a traitorous part of me whispers the deepest fear: no one cares.

But, the thing is, there is something greater than the weighty shackles of grey. There is something bigger than the doubts of an ordinary person’s fears of ineptness.

There is family.

Not the “family” of people who happen to share a surname, but those few you know are on the other side of Grey, waiting for you. There are memories, happy and sad, and knowing someone else shares the same ones. There are young girls for whom you’d willingly and happily fight monsters much bigger than feeling blah. There are promises made to them to be there–to be there. Not just physically but mentally and emotionally and spiritually be there. No Grey will prevent me from keeping that promise to those girls.

There is knowledge.

I survived because God. I also survived because I made a conscious decision to view life as a gift, no matter what. Life was either good or bad, it wasn’t grey. I decided it was good, and I decided this a long time ago, when it really, really didn’t feel good. To support that decision, I trained myself to consciously find the good in each day. No matter how small. No matter how stupid or frivolous it was. In so doing, I became a collector. A child’s laughter, a reader’s e-mail, a flower, rain, the smell of homemade bread baking, a pillow fight with two girls, a text from a child I teach, a blue Bic pen, butterflies, rainbows, a homeless man. Each of these things have been added to my collection, my treasure trove, of inspiration.

Perhaps that is why tonight the blah phrase was followed by this one: what is blah?



This one is the easiest. Breathe and Alight; two of the best reasons ever for joy. My sister helps me laugh. I am Titi Bear. My mother is a procurer of dreams; she is the reason I believed I could write. The written word; a deposit was made tonight for books I sold which is proof dreams come true.



If I dare to be honest, this one is the hardest. But, ultimately, God held my hand; He still does as every answered prayer proves. That is nothing if not love.



I speak in public about really hard things. I take care of my daughters as a single mother. I fail on a daily basis, but I always get back up. Perhaps most importantly, I choose to be grateful, regardless of the situation, and that puts me one step closer to the light.



I believe in people. I believe in the promise of tomorrow. I believe in this too shall pass. I believe in silliness and not only do I believe in the kindness of strangers, I expect it. Hope is that intangible thing I cling to when the scale screams ugly, when the nightmares taunt crazy, when the exhaustion demands defeat. Hope is the anchor.


Blah; b.l.a.h. Contradictory, complex definitions to sum up a life. One is full of flawed self-doubts, hurt and grey; the other, a legacy. Some days blah wins and I’ll stare at the darkened room, an amoeba enveloping grey. Yet, b.l.a.h will then rise to feel the sunlight, a butterfly emerging from its cocoon.

And joy soars.