I’ve been feeling small the last few days. Fragile. Young. Sensitive.

I want to be held, snuggled, tended.

And I’m tired. And weepy.

I’m fighting off a skin infection and I’ve had a busy couple months—that must be it.

Why must I always search for a reasonable explanation for feeling under par?

I’m disappointed to see how hard it still is for me to truly rest. Without anxiety or guilt.

To mother myself, with warm blankets, food that strengthens, loving words.

Apparently I still do not trust that my body knows what it’s doing and what it needs. That letting go of a week’s responsibilities will not make me into a lazy slob who will never do anything responsible ever again.

I know it’s ridiculous. We all have ups and downs—in a month, in a week, in a day—but somehow those times of feeling small, sensitive and fragile still seem shameful, illegitimate (unless, of course, I can find a “legitimate reason” for them).

Ok, in this culture we are addicted to productivity and strength–I know that. And we don’t respect our bodies, that’s true. Or mothers and mothering. Or our own cycles, or the cycles of nature. But something else is niggling at me.

A memory from last week flashes into mind: during an intuitive painting retreat a little girl emerged from within me, eager to paint, full of play, tantrums and great love. In fact, she embarrassed me by tearfully telling everyone there how much she loved them, that they were beautiful. And she insisted on painting big bubblegum-pink hearts on the canvas, decorating them with paint and glitter, declaring defiantly with pigment how strong those pink hearts were.

Declaring defiantly that love and delight are important, that SHE is important. That she should be respected! That she is enough!

I saw then that I haven’t always respected her, that I often keep her sweetest parts hidden, that I’m embarrassed and shy about her energy and tenderness, unsure how to integrate her rushing emotion with my “helpful facilitator” adult self (ironic as that is).

And if I’m uncomfortable with her joy, then I’m even more uncomfortable with her pain. When she needs me to take care of her.

Like this week.

Oh sweetheart…

I hear her frustration: “aren’t you ever going to get this? I need you now!”

I’m here. I’ll try to listen better. Let me hold you.

When we feel better, maybe we’ll make valentines.