It’s a little after midnight and my brain can’t sleep. My blankets, normally a warm cocoon, felt like they were stifling me in this stuffy heat and they’re now in a jumble on the floor. The fan is whirring away but mostly just pushing the hot air around my room, making it impossible to cool down. When I got up to walk to the bathroom to get a cold drink, my feet left humid prints on the hard wood floor. They said it would rain tonight and I keep tricking myself, thinking I hear thunder. Instead, the wheeze of the fan plays on and the chorus of nightly voices inside my beg to be heard.
I’d light a candle but the thought of adding even just one flickering flame to this hot room makes my hands start to sweat. It’s not easy to write with sticky palms. I ignore the sweat starting to build behind my knee and try to focus on a single thought.
Writing is a form of therapy for me. If I am overwhelmed, sad, stressed, turning to the next page in my journal or opening up a blank document is healing balm to my soul. The open page before me, the cursor blinking slowly, a comfortable reminder that some things, albeit just a few, are constant.
Being a woman is hard.
That’s not to discount that being a teenager is hard, being a dad is hard, being a fifty-year-old Irish woman is hard. We all have our own hard. But I am currently stuck in the middle of being a twenty-something woman, blindly trying to complete a degree and start my “career” (which is just a hilarious word. I am not a career type of girl).
I follow writer’s groups online and join in the “women’s biz” groups on facebook, hoping to gleam a little knowledge in this grown-up world I’m suddenly realizing I’m in for good. As a girl who still loves to talk to her pets in high-pitched voices and always has coloring books at the ready, it strikes me as odd that somehow I’ve been handed my life and get to make it into whatever I want. I have complete freedom as to what to make myself. Now, it would be pretty challenging to make a go at being a gymnast or mechanic (and I certainly don’t have the skills to be a football coach or interior decorator), but the road is wide before me and it’s my choice which turns I make.
I write that with a chuckle because ultimately God creates the road before me and He has a way of throwing U-turns and parking ramps into my journey when I’d rather have a freeway and a nice cold coffee. Actually, most days, I’d rather not be driving at all. An old-fashioned convertible with the top down, wind-blown hair, and a handy chauffeur sounds about right.
But most days, it feels like I’m peddling a wonky bicycle with one tire blown, trying to dodge the rain drops that keep hurtling out of the clouds (because I forgot my umbrella. Again). I’ll finally learn how to fix that busted tire and then the chain will come lose. The rain will become manageable and then the hail will start.
I feel like I’m a fake adult.
In equal hands, I’ve been given a beautiful life full of possibility and richness, as well as pain, anxiety, and pure grown-up fear. I know I’m not alone in being a woman somewhat terrified of being an adult. My best girls live lives that are part grown-up and part “remember when summer just meant popsicles and going to the zoo?”
Having conversations over coffee about Black Lives Matter and white privilege, skyping a missionary friend who is struggling with the burden of being away from family when tragedy strikes, sipping tea and discussing how on earth we will survive college and grad school and work and internships and still smile at the end of it all — there is a peace that comes from knowing that while I’m the only one
living attempting my grown-up life, so is each one of my friends. So, really, I’m not that alone, not truly figuring it all out by myself. I’m actually — and you’re actually — surrounded by a whole jumble of beautifully imperfect humans who are trying to figure life out, too.
The real thunder has finally come and the first few rain drops have brought a cool breeze, seeming to hush not only the talkative crickets but also this tired woman’s mind. I know once I roll out of bed tomorrow and stumble, half-blind, to the coffee pot, the day will begin and I’ll be on my way. Perhaps I’ll wear grown-up clothes and have grown-up meetings and organize my day like a grown-up. But if not, I’ll have the coloring books handy.