They called me a gifted child.

Can we just take moment to acknowledge how brave I am for posting this picture?

I’m not sure exactly what that means. At the time, it just meant that I was lucky enough to get pulled out of the boring regular classroom to participate in a small group “extra” learning environment.

I’m pretty sure gifted curriculum has come a long way since then.

I sure hope so.

In fourth grade, one of the weirder projects our little gifted class did was a unit study on holes.

Yep. You heard me right.


I’m not even kidding.

I guess if you really think about it, you can come up with all kinds of things relative to the subject of holes that have application to our lives.

But who’s going to think about it?

Well, us for one.

As part of our unit, our teacher asked us to create something with a holes theme: a story, a poem, a painting… an original creation about the ever-elusive hole.

Although I roll my eyes HARD at the thought of this now, the truth is that as a fourth-grader I was pretty gung-ho with this assignment. Truly inspired. My observations (as well as my thoughts) on holes were deep, and I decided there was only one way I could really capture the essence of the hole.

I would write a song.

When I sang my song for the class on presentation day, the teacher got so excited about it that she convinced the music teacher to write accompaniment so that the school’s entire fourth grade could perform this song on parents’ night. Percussion sticks, xylophones, and triangles were added as orchestration so that the performance was pretty much just a confused cacophony of sound.

I doubt anyone could even really hear the lyrics, which is too bad because they were deep (I was gifted) and meant to just barely touch on the more complex characteristics of a hole.

Have you ever heard about holes?

Have you ever heard about them?

They may be tall.

They may be small.

They may be long.

They may be long.

Have you ever heard about holes?

Have you ever heard about them?

Nailed it.

My teacher was maybe able to see something metaphoric in my complex lyrics, but c’mon… I was nine years old. Gifted or not, to me holes were simply that.


But now I see that holes are as complex as my teacher thought they were.

In my fifty years of living, I have been an asshole, stuck in a hole, a round peg in a square hole, living in a hellhole, a mouse with only one hole, in the hole, and out of the hole.

I have a whole lot of experience with holes. #smirk

This last week my therapist and I had an impromptu discussion over the proverbial hole and my experiences with it. She had noticed and pointed my attention to how much I’d grown in a particular area we’ve been working on for FOREVER, when I inadvertently (as I think I am prone to do) said something snarky about the depth of the hole in which I had plummeted.

Now, in conversation with most people, I can get away with these little jabs at myself. They’re usually pretty subtle and meant to ease my discomfort with whatever praise has been bestowed upon me. I often don’t even recognize I’m doing it until it’s out of my mouth and way too late to take back.

And that usually happens at the exact same time that Melissa calls me out on it.

She’s quick to the draw, that one.

This is both my favorite and my least favorite thing about her.

And even though I’m not likely to admit it to her face, it’s probably the reason I continue to submit myself to therapy with her.

When I responded to her compliment with a subtly self-deprecating remark about the immense depth of the hole I have been in, she asked me to consider whether or not I think this negates the better mental and emotional health I am experiencing now.

These are the moments when I have to work just real hard not to set my jaw, clinch my fists, and stomp my feet in frustration in response to this woman’s ability to know things about me I do not know about myself.

Because she’s right.

I feel like my journey is tainted because it has more holes in it than a slice of Swiss cheese… because it has been fraught with #allthethings.

I don’t know that there’s a way to avoid grief over time spent in the hole. I don’t think that I’ll ever again write songs in celebration of the hole. But I can stand on the edge of the hole, look down, and experience immense gratitude because I’m no longer in there.

The moments in time that stand out to me as the darkest and most fragile – the time I have spent in the scariest metaphorical holes – the rescues, support and triage it has taken to get me out… these moments do not diminish this journey to wholeness I am on.

One thought on “Holes

  1. Paradigm shift. Reminds me of Steinbeck’s writing style where the last paragraph rips you a new rearend. “The Grapes of Wrath” is the book I’m referring to, which is a true story of Mark Steele’s childhood pastor’s parents traveling in the great depression dust bowl of Oklahoma to California. Although Ron Willhite’s parents weren’t mentioned by name they were there. So interesting the circle of life. Touching read I enjoyed it very much.

    Liked by 1 person

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