I sat outside my therapist’s office today and for the first time I realized that the brown shapes and figures on the wall were not construction on the building but were mountains. Light brown mountains with a silhouette of tan and then a final layer of dark brown mountains. I sat breathing and thinking about the mountains and why I had come to Colorado. I came for the gorgeous outdoors. I came for my spirituality and to further my career. I didn’t expect to walk away from higher education and move to be a play therapist in a tiny town called Pagosa. But here I am with mountains on the wall, mountains outside, and mountains in my heart.
I think about my life right now—in construction. I’m framing out my neck, trunk, arms, legs, head, heart, and soul to become able to withstand the weight of the trauma and shitstorm that will always come. There will always be a mountain to climb. I can’t stop the storm that may happen on the mountain but I can stop aligning with the weather. I can stop running into an open field or climbing higher and higher when I see lightening. But right now, things are exposed to the elements. There’s a cold breeze in my heart from all the times I’ve loved and lost. From grief and death. Suicide. There’s a dark storm of my thoughts beating down from the pain I create in my borderline states. The waves of my insults to myself and others come crashing down the minute I cannot self-regulate.
I order a heart monitor thingy online suggested in my therapy session that measures my heartbeat as I move through different states. Eventually, when the cat pukes on the floor or my lover threatens to hurt me because my crazy shit provoked anger, I just remember that pleasant green light I created with my calm heartbeat and exactly how I got there. I’ve gotten there before—in yoga, in pilates, in the mountains, on the trails. These things aren’t just my hobbies–they are my screwdriver, saw, drill, hammer, level, square, wrench. I came to Colorado to access more tools, bigger tools, the mountains, the trails, the community of people who know how to use the metaphorical hammer of the outdoors.
And so here I am building the a-frame of Jen. Something I have always wanted to do—build an a-frame. And now I am the carpenter of my own life. I can assemble the tools and materials with help from all those who already accept the shitty trailer house of my heart going on faith that I want to get better. The rafters of calm and contentment in equal measure will be set at angles of 60 degrees to one another. Leaning on each other and the foundation of safety I have created from my core being. I can then frame the doors and windows to let others see my home, see my heart, and let others enter here. It will no longer be a place filled with sorrow and sadness. Those things no longer have a place in the a-frame of my being.
I can see my home now. Tucked away in southwest Colorado built on the dreams of play therapy and healing. You will know it’s my home because it will shine in the night and beckon in the day. The light of the peace and contentment that I cultivate will draw in wild animals, good weather, help to grow a garden, nourish my domestic animals, keep the stove warm. You will see flowers growing all around for medicine, water flowing for healing. In that home will be me full of love and light breathing through any more pain that comes up. I will know that this home is strong, sturdy, and that I built this serene space with my own two hands and with my own one heart.
Whatever good things we build end up building us.