Ilonka loves.

Spoiler alert re: Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things. Skip the second paragraph. There is also profanity in this post. Be advised. 

Moving is no joke. Even when you land somewhere as beautiful as Florida, it is monumental. It is beyond draining. It is hard.

ocean sky

Two kids each with their own issues, and the near constant advocacy required to keep it all going in new schools(one with a teacher who is well meaning and doing her best but with absolutely no ASD training). A commute that has me in the car between 3-4 hours a day in crazy traffic. The “clean” diet the kids require to keep them functioning at their potential. Supplement schedules, new doctors, dentists, specialists of every variety. And the good news/bad news looming knowledge we’ll be moving again locally when our lease is up in August, in an effort to nix the aforementioned commute. Riley has flown through her specialized program this year and will be ready for high school next year. Seth will be in a different school as well, starting middle school.

I have not written. I have not blogged. I have not visited Pinterest. I have not been on Twitter (not that I was ever much of a tweeter). Worse still, I have only read one non-yoga related book in months. Elizabeth Gilbert’s newest. Seriously, great book, but poor Alma. Will someone please have sex with her?

Did I mention I became a yoga teacher? I did. Smartest decision I made and I didn’t even plan it that way, but hello instant community of the most wonderful sort. I adore these people and loved every minute of the training. I’m hoping to help autism moms with self-care. Yes, yes, we teach what we need to learn.

Before moving, I let go of so many material things. Things I didn’t need. Things that didn’t serve me or my family.

Since here, I’ve also been letting go of behaviors. The kind where I don’t speak up and I tolerate things that are hurting my feelings. The kind where I self-sacrifice and co-dependently give to the point of my own detriment. The kind where I take on other peoples’ stuff, often without them even asking, and bear it for them, because I can’t tolerate seeing them in pain. The move just pushed me to the point of such exhaustion, I couldn’t. Could not. Could no longer do it. I was flat on the ground, thyroid/hormones/adrenals out of whack, last nerve raw, empty…not a brain cell or heart cell left to offer.

And then I spent some time kicking myself for not being more spiritual than that. More evolved. Move giving. More loving.

And maybe a better person could handle things differently than me, but turns out I’m not a “better” person. I’m just me. And there is some relief in that.

And some strength in it too. But boundaries come with sadness and loss.

I’m cracked open. Limited. 45 years old. 13 years into this intense uber parenting gig, and I’m fucking tired. Moving is said to be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. Right up there with death and divorce. Moving with my kids? And doing it again in a few months?

The “perfect” mother friend wife sister is gone. None of you were fooled anyway, right?

So I’ve been doing tons of yoga, obviously, and it’s done its thing, filling me up with oxygen. Toning my muscles. Busting open my heart. Quite literally, a sternum injury the likes of which my teacher had never seen in 20 + years. It is better now, thank Goodness. My body seems to be re-knitting itself. Yesterday some weird thing happened and released in my legs. I could never touch my heels to the ground in down dog, and then boom…there they were, suddenly with no warning. On the floor. Grounded.

And I’ve been meditating religiously, just to stay afloat. To stay just barely on top of what could crush me. And I have the most beautiful man who adores me and for some reason finds me hilarious. And I have two pure hearted angels for children, and we four are so close. And my Hot Toddy reminds me I fostered that. I created this good family. And he reminds me I am good. And he gets fierce about anyone who says I am not. Even me. He’ll not have it. I say something bad about myself, he says, “That’s a lie.”

And I talk to God. I’ve always been good at meditating, and listening, but not so much at asking, and I’m asking God more and more, WTF? I’m so sick of working on myself.

And I breathe.

And I visit the ocean.

And the other day while walking on the beach with my family, I had a tiny glimpsy feeling that maybe I’d like to write something, a fleeting spark of me, coming back to myself, but then thought, no probably not.

But here I am and I did write. And I don’t know if I have it in me to do it again any time soon, but please know the kids are doing well. The weather agrees with Seth and his health is good. Riley is becoming more savvy and poised each day. Truly a young woman. Hot Toddy is sturdy and stable as ever. The dogs are fine, though it is a tad too hot for Jingle’s liking and her walks aren’t as long most days because of it.

And me? I am, as always, for good or bad, a truth teller, ever becoming. Older. Grayer. Hopefully wiser. Ten pounds lighter.

Speaking of truth tellers, the other day, Riley told me I have more wrinkles than I used to.

“Almost every one of them has your name on it,” I replied.

And we laughed! We are at the point where we can have that kind of exchange and laugh. She understands sarcasm.

She’s not so delicate. And I don’t need to be so measured.

I surrender to my own imperfections and limits.

And, I love.

“Ilonka loves.” That was my nickname at yoga teacher training. I’ve been using my first name, Ilonka, in Florida. Michelle is my middle name, in case you didn’t know that. And my teacher gave all of us Sanskrit names at our graduation, and mine was Anahata Devi (open hearted Goddess).

Ilonka loves.

More and more, even her own messy self.

And that ocean.

She rocks me like a baby.

sunrise 1

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18 Responses to Ilonka loves.

  1. Courtney says:

    I love this part: “he gets fierce about anyone who says I am not. Even me”

  2. Meg says:

    Oh, it’s all so messy and imperfect and sometimes so fucking hard. And yet. And yet. There you are, finding new parts of yourself right smack dab in the middle of it. Birthing and rebirthing. They call it “labor” – right? Miss you so much!

  3. Kim G. says:

    Love you truth-teller. Been thinking about you and wondering how things are going. Let me know if you ever want to talk “Thyroid” – been on my own 3 year journey with that one. So glad that even in the hard times you are finding the joy and love in your family that you have worked so hard for. Go easy on yourself friend. Hugs from the west coast! – K

  4. Jennifer Margulis says:

    Sending hugs and love your way. This post made me cry.

  5. Kathy Sullivan says:

    And with your imperfect and messy life you inspire inspire inspire. Please keep being imperfect. And please please keep writing about it.
    Love you and miss you Ilonka Michelle!

  6. kario says:

    Just when I was lamenting the loss of your words, here you are. I love your honesty and willingness to just keep pushing ahead. It is hard, but so much better when you can find and appreciate the things that help soothe you. I love that you are teaching yoga and I love that you are near the sea. I send warm, pillowy thoughts your way for your next move and I hope that this one finds you in a place that eases your life even more.


  7. Heather says:

    Love, love, love this piece. Thank you…

  8. Laurel says:

    Gosh!!! Beautiful post/story! If you’re gonna make us wait–well, it was worth it! LOVE this post. Love your honesty, your down to earth sharing, your human and spiritual spirit! Loved relating to a lot of what you wrote!

  9. Mega Meg says:

    Beautiful piece, Ilonka! So grateful you came into my life, through our training which changed us both –changed us all — and reawakened things in us, rebirthing ourselves into something fresh and new. Or wrinkly and new.
    Leslie chose the best, most appropriate possible name for you, my open-hearted friend!
    Meg loves Ilonka Loves!

  10. Carrie Link says:

    I love you and everything about you. YAMH. I have missed your blog posts so much, and am reminded why. Because of the you-rock-ness factor. You are an open-hearted goddess, to be sure, and you do love, period. We all need an HT in our lives, someone that can’t get enough of us, finds us hilarious, and always has our back. He rocks, too.

  11. alexis yael says:

    Remembering our own move(s) with this truthful piece: yes. It is difficult and wonderful and all of it all at once. After our move, I dove deeper into photography (and blogging), but yoga teacher training also sounds like a wonderful immersion.

    I love reading your journey, but understand the space needed.


  12. *m* says:

    So glad for this update — I have thought of you and yours often. And as is so often the case, your post hits me where I live. Your ability to both accept and challenge yourself, and your constant evolution and self-awareness, are always inspiring to me. Wishing you continued growth and joy with your wonderful family!

  13. Julie says:

    Hello from Michigan! What a JOY is is to open your page and see new words! I check once in a while (not to put you under pressure) but because I want to send you good energy and love and light–to send good wishes that you all are well and it’s so good to hear that you are. Your post brought a message to me from the universe that yes yoga and meditation are a good idea–perhaps you could try them again Julie? 🙂
    I also just have to say that I can check your blog in the middle of the day because today is a SNOW DAY here –do you remember those?!? getting an early morning call…turning off your children’s alarm clocks…sleeping in and having a pajama day? From our snowy blizzard to your sunny skies–wishing you a good day!
    Julie A

  14. Kim says:

    Oh how I loved opening this up and reading through it! I have missed your words, the slices of your life. I am so glad things are going well, even though it’s hard to do such a big-time move (I know this.) Just so happy to read you.

  15. Chris V. says:

    So honest my sweet friend.. and it’s so refreshing… You are missed. You inspire me always.

  16. Elspeth says:

    Your post found me knee deep in boxes and piled furniture, stripping the carpet off of the floors and bubbling with stress. So, so happy that you and yours are doing well. Thankful that you chose to write now, it made my day.

    All the best!

  17. Dee Ready says:

    Dear Ilonka, the wise one, the open-hearted one–open to herself as well as others, the Goddess, I am so happy for you. The journey we take through life can be dark or light or both. What is important is walking, running, stumbling through and on the journey. And what is also important is learning from each part of it–from the dark and the light. And the going inward to that deep center of yourself where Oneness dwells is where the peace comes that is now enlightening all your world and all of those you love. Oh, I’m just so happy for you. Peace.

  18. Nina says:

    The idea of filling yourself and your time with the things that inspire you rather than those that don’t inspires ME (and everyone here I’m sure).

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