A CHANGE IN DENSITY
By: Lauren Anderson
About a week ago, it occurred to me that it had been 3 months since I’d seen one of my closest friends. Months! How does that happen? Well I s’pose, life, school, work, being and adult, etc etc. All that boring stuff that gets in the way of having fun… sigh.
After a few texts and some calendar checks, we managed to rectify it ASAP, and finally got together this weekend.
You know there are those people in your life that just leave you feeling restored, recharged and full of love? That’s how I feel about my buddy Andy. After a great afternoon of not doing much but talking about everything, I came clean about the deep transitional phase of my life that I seem to have landed in.
I told them I feel different. That I feel lighter, looser, more open. And definitely a little raw.
And because often our closest friends have the best beat on us, I asked them if they could tell? Cause surely the fact that I feel so different inside right now must mean that it’s showing on the outside? I must be shooting laser beams of change and growth out of my eye sockets right?
Andy took the question seriously (which is just one example of why we’re great friends) and said, “When you first walked into the house, you didn’t seem different, but you did seem to have a new… density.”
And I sat back in the front seat of the car, and said, “Yes. That’s it. It’s a new density.”
Cause that’s exactly how I feel right now.
And as we said our goodbyes after a great afternoon, I couldn’t help marinating on the word density. The change in my density was so clear, that I wanted to get all the way into this idea. (Cause even though I feel different, my relationship with words and their meanings remains a love for the ages.)
DENSITY. A science word. Mass per unit of volume.
It also gets used a lot when talking about electricity. As in, current density, which is basically the amount of electricity occurring at one point in space. (Boom! Take that 8th grade science class! You thought you could ruin me? Hahahaha!)
Kidding aside, I have been feeling kind of electric lately! Because at the risk of sounding hippy dippy, it feels like I’m walking through this world in a whole new “vibration”. I feel calmer and more open. I feel like I’m listening better and I have more room to really see people. This new openness is making me feel wildly connected. And that connectedness is well, ELECTRIC.
But the word DENSITY also has so many other meanings! It can mean “dense, or closely compacted, crowded”. And man, was I feeling that before. I think I have described in this blog how I discovered some unresolved feelings that I had shoved way down deep.
I compacted my hard feelings into the smallest deepest part of me, and piled everything else on top of it. Working out at Solcana and learning to love my body and appreciate it, and become friends with it, allowed me to clear out some of the detritus, so I could get to the feelings I buried. Therapy and EMDR seem to be shaking loose the dense compacted feelings that remain.
But density can also mean “stupidity, slow-wittedness, obtuse.” And I have to admit, looking back, I’ve been pretty obtuse about certain aspects of myself for years.
This is a hard definition of the word to admit to, because I think I like to pride myself on the fact that I KNOW myself sooooooo well. I don’t lead an unexamined life. I mean, if you read this blog on the regular, hopefully that comes across. BUT–and I did that in all caps because it’s a BIG BUT— there have been huge pockets of understanding that I have left unexplored. Sometimes because they are hard. But sometimes because I was too obtuse to see that the pocket even existed!
Either because it was a block, and I didn’t even know that pocket was there, or because it was too hard and I wasn’t ready. Admitting that things are hard, and I’m not ready is also, well, HARD. So the pockets remained.
Looking back, it’s weird to think I was so dense about what I needed to work on within myself. And it’s easy to beat myself up about that too. For wasting time, for not being braver, for letting the poorer version of Lauren roam the earth when a newer better model could be achieved.
Yikes. That’s a lot huh?
But that’s where I gotta take a deep breath and remember that “time takes the time it takes”. (Shoutout to last week’s blog! Haha) And I was too dense to see where I was dense ya know? It was all part of the process of growing. And I can’t rush the work, if I don’t even know what the work is.
Which brings me to another definition of the word Density. Overcrowded population. The number of inhabitants in a unit of measurement. This one makes me laugh, because it sounds like I’m about to admit that I have multiple people living inside me! But maybe that’s not so far off….
For years I think the Lauren that told me NO, was louder than the Lauren that said YES. The me that was filled with doubt, beat out the one that was filled with hope. The Anderson that was scared had gagged the Anderson that wanted to prove it’s courage.
Recently, it feels like some of those asshole versions of me that loved to bully the others around, have picked up and moved on. And I gotta say, the neighborhood is a lot more habitable.
I am the same. The houses and shops and streets that make up “Andersonville” remain the same. But the density is different. The houses aren’t so over-crowded and run down. The versions of me that live here now seem to be getting along a lot better. The dickheads that lived in some of those houses are gone, and kinder “people” moved in.
And before I run this metaphor right into the ground, one more for good measure:
What once felt like the “wrong side of the tracks” now is a booming family-friendly neighborhood.
Which leads me to my last, and possibly favorite definition of the word. It goes like this,
“The degree of opacity of a substance, medium etc. that transmits light.”
That one I had to look up, and boy am I glad I did. Because I never though about density this way before. And I think you all can see where I’m going with this but, I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT MYSELF THIS WAY BEFORE EITHER.
I don’t want to speak for anyone else, but maybe it’s safe to say that most of us want to be a person that transmits light into the world? I want to make things better for the planet and the people that live here. I want to leave this place better not worse. I want to be a force for good.
But it never really occurred to me that the amount of good or kindness or “light” that I am able to give out could grow. I kinda thought what I had was all there was, and I should just work with that.
Which kinda seems silly as I type it out. I mean, there’s always more right? That’s the mindset of abundance that we crave. That’s the real secret isn’t it? Just when you think that’s all there is, you turn the corner or dig a little deeper and suddenly THERE IS MORE.
And now that I am taking some time to concentrate and work on the parts of myself that were hurting– starting with my body at Solcana, and now moving inside with therapy– I feel like I am able to transmit more light. Because I feel lighter.
When I first started working out, every week I would marvel at the changes in my body. The new muscles I could feel and sometimes see. The new lessons I would learn.
My volume changed a little, because I did (and do) gain and lose literal pounds of my body.
But the more remarkable change is my mass per volume changed a lot! Density baby!
Enough so that my body feels entirely different than it did before. What once were only my shoulders, now have some powerful deltoids as well. The house is the same, but the inhabitants are different.
I never thought that my body could be a safe space, or a positive example, or a point of pride. And yet, here I am feeling those things on a semi-regular basis. (Not always, cause we’re all a work in progress… but more times than I thought were possible.)
I never thought I would be able to reach into the blind spots of my psyche and repair the unseen damage that lives there. And yet, every week I go in, and try to “metabolize” that pain and release it.
My therapist gave me that word, “Metabolize”. And I love it. It implies that some of the pain is useful. Because I think that is true. Some of the pain I was holding has shaped me into the person I am. And now it’s time to “burn off” the other stuff that keeps me locked up and loaded down.
When I’m able to metabolize that stuff, I feel lighter. And I feel closer to the newer, more powerful version of me. The 2.0, or the Anderson 5000 that I’m gunning to become.
I never thought that I could heal enough to transmit more light.
And I am elated to discover that I can. I am the same, but my density is changing.
I think I’m beginning to discover that no matter what we are faced with, we can heal, metabolize the darkness, and transmit more even light than we ever thought possible.
I swear when I typed that just now, cartoon birds landed on my deltoid-laden shoulders and gave me a thumbs up.
And goddammit, I think I’m ready to fall in love with the human race all over again.