Blurry Lines and the Squirrel Family / by padhia hutton

Looking through catalogs at families using their new camping equipment or appliances, one thing always jumps out at me. The clarity of the situation. There are no strange undercurrents, nothing that feels funny but you’re not sure why- nothing that is in reality the total opposite of what it seems on the surface. There is no mom covering you with a blanket to sleep in the hatchback of the car while she goes out to bars, and you feel loved because she cared that you were scared of being left home alone. Love is just love, and everyone is behaving based on standard definitions. When you are small and love is given to you in ways that make your heart and head have to disconnect, lines become blurry. You develop the confusing ability to love yet somewhere you don’t actually even LIKE. And then your adult life becomes one situation after another where things feel really off in ways that echo endlessly deeper into the recesses of your infinitely cavernous interior. Logic swoops in and attempts to silence the echoes. Except it never really does, and so the harmony within your own self becomes based on your ability to believe your own lies.

I spent most of my life without a clear idea of what was right or wrong for me. Just a big jelly fish of strange feelings that lived inside of me and would light up in different colors and sometimes it felt squished and then I would have to wiggle around in my life and make room for it in strange ways. Sometimes the colors go dark and I have to adjust things to get it to light up again. Mostly I’m grateful for this blur, it has made life more interesting- when lines are all a blur you are definitely more open minded to experiences that the people in Sears catalog world would not even entertain.

So there I was… I had spent enough time alone to hope that I had grown beyond all of that , 3 years to be exact. Three years of figuring out what I liked about myself and strengthening those things. Three years of building my own center of gravity so that I would not be caught in someone else’s orbit. Three years of figuring out how to build the things in my life that I had never been given. Dissolving aspects of myself that only served to feed some kind of strange addiction to pain. But I found myself in my brand new life recreating the same type of situation. My heart quietly said no, but really gave no valid reasons and so my head loudly discounted it. I was so disappointed to find myself trapped in this again, that I felt sick. My upper back muscles felt like they were vomiting and it made all of the nerves in my arms sore which made skin sore to the touch. But something was different this time; I realized there was no need to keep spiraling, drowning in disappointment. In the past I would’ve continued that inner conflict infinitely, but I now saw this was an opportunity to make a different choice. And that’s as perfect as life will ever get- when you realize there are no such thing as mistakes, just opportunities to evaluate if whatever you are doing is giving you the experience you intended to seek. One of the most awkward, uncomfortable feelings is that of shedding an old skin. Especially when you’re not shedding it for a new one, you’ve just decided that you don’t give a fuck if you have to stand there naked for a while.

That’s what I did. Cut all ties. Made space for the things that just somehow seem to happen when you stand trembling in that void. And they are never what you expect. .. which is the magic of life.

And so a couple days later I randomly came across a picture of a couple of squirrels sleeping in a pile. They were intertwined, holding little parts of each other in their little squirrel paws, little floppy bodies so relaxed there were no clear boundaries where one squirrel suit ended and another began. In that moment that sad kid who lives in my chest and looks out the window at all the other kids having fun out in the world clawed its way out and demanded to be heard. I suddenly saw all the lines in my lifetime that were blurred beyond recognition. Nurturing and destructive, comfort and safety, attraction and pain.

I felt some kind of internal shift in that moment, like when the Wheel of Fortune is slowing down and the last click lands on the prize. I wanted to find out what it feels like in that nest. Surrounded by those whose intentions and energy is in unison with mine. Terrifically close but not invaded. Intertwined for a greater reason. Safe enough to finally rest.