I woke up with a feeling of heaviness. Somewhere in a shadowy place I might have dreamed of elephants. Was this the heaviness? Random images barreled through my thoughts like a runaway freight train. I remembered my friend from sixth grade--sitting in the limbs of the tree in her backyard. I dreaded that I had a lot to do. I looked at the book on my bedside table. I read a few chapters before I went to bed, but for the life of me I couldn't remember what I'd read. I had guests. I needed to get up. I felt tired. Before I placed my feet on the hardwood floor, I was decimated with too many thoughts. And most of them were negative.
"Let me get dressed," I said to myself. My friend and I planned on going to the beach, so I dug through my mound of shoes on the closet floor and found a colorful pair of flip flops. I hardly ever wear flip flops. I couldn't find any shorts I felt looked good on me, so I opted for a favorite pair of black pants. I painted my nails with a new shade--clear polish with sparkles of glitter. I switched out my professional purse to a lime-green crossover bag. I felt like I looked good enough for the beach anyway.
But then it rained. My friend and I decided to walk downtown and eat seafood somewhere. My friend has this uncanny ability to look stylish in a black t-shirt and ecru-colored shorts. No make up, pearl earrings and a bit of lip gloss finish off the look, and she is gorgeous. I felt frumpy in my flip flops and hips wider than I'd like. My hair goes flat in the heat and my eye make up had melted off. I put on my new sun glasses. That helped some. But then we got downtown and it seemed every person that walked by looked hip and cool and put together. I felt self-conscious about my glittery nails.
Thankfully, I shouted to my brain, "Stop!" I was self-absorbed and comparing myself to others, telling myself grueling and negative thoughts. I knew I needed to get into the moment. Sometimes when I get tangled in the negativity, I visualize opening my palms and surrendering to the reality of that place in time. I force my mind to turn toward what is happening in the here and now and start to notice all that is good and positive around me. I noted that because it had rained, the air was cooler and it was pleasant to walk amongst all the beautiful people, my friend included. I appreciated that Charlestonians like to dress up, and observed the pastel dresses the woman wore, so lovely against their smooth, tanned skin. I reflected on the elegant curves of the iron work in this city replete with gates. I enjoyed the fresh seafood served to me in the light-filled restaurant, the din of happy laughter all around me as my friend and I held an intimate conversation. I forgot that I wore flip flops, and I could even see some beauty in my sparkling nails glinting in the sunlight.
The heaviness and anxiety of the morning lessened, my thoughts now soldered to the moment. There would never be this time again with my friend. As I looked into the sea of her blue eyes, I could embrace the imperfection of my own life, and it was good. Very good. Beautiful even.