Yesterday I drove to Jackson, Mississippi with my parents. Road trips are one of the activities that spur on the unpacking of what was before and what was now. Because one thinks a lot as the sunlight streams into the car and the interstate goes by. I need to share some things that were good about this drive: sitting in the back of my father's car, neck pillow on, singing to his mix of Linda Ronstadt and the Eurythmics.
Everything is different now and that includes car rides. Arriving at my sister's house I felt the stiffness in my body, touches of anxiety too. Not about being there, because I was happy to be there, but because of the deep internal changes taking place I carry with me everywhere. And because I'm healing from many chronic conditions that cause extreme fatigue (for which I'm getting excellent medical care.)
In Jackson, I think about the times I stopped at their house on the way home to Birmingham, weary from a reporting trip. Or times I visited to see my nephew and then niece. I'd have a glass of wine or five and sit out on their porch. I was tired and broken.
A few years ago I'd driven back after an interview with a big New Orleans chef, and had to prep for a job interview the following day. It was for an editor-in-chief position in another state, and I wanted so badly to convince the interviewers that I was worthy. Back then, to shore up my worthiness I stayed up late reviewing notes and preparing answers about developing multi-platform content and leading teams of nimble nimble editors. I woke up exhausted and depleted, and hit the road again. I FaceTimed with them concerned that my face looked fat in the camera. Really? Yes, really.
The thing is -- the prep didn't prove my worth. Nor was it where my worth came or comes from.
I didn't get the job. Thank God.
I did find the source of my worth. (Spoiler alert: it's not in any title or in any performance. It's not from me.)
So, back in Jackson. Yesterday I spent the afternoon on my sister's porch, playing with my niece and nephew, staring at their trees. Being still. Being in my skin. Breathing, reading, not checking any list of to-dos. Doing nothing.