bsecure: a story about a blanket

Named NaNa from the start for some unknown reason, the blanket was a gift from my grandmother who regretted it almost immediately. The blanket and I were inseparable. My mother took to the desperate solution of slicing NaNa in half so she could wash one at a time while not leaving me without my loyal wool companion. (P.S. In fairness to my well-meaning but misguided mother, I was riddled with chronic allergies and asthma which necessitated a regular blanket washing. Because I am not fully evolved/work in progress, I have yet to forgive her for that vicious maiming.)

NaNa served as a turban in dress-up, a cape for our dog Missy, a shield from seeing the terrifying flying monkeys in Wizard of Oz, a prop in a neighborhood play, a tissue when my grandfather and then father died, a foot warmer, and so so so much more. Not one complaint from her when asked to report to duty.

One whimper and my devoted sister rushed to wrap me in NaNa. Only two years older, my sister never underestimated the healing power of the blanket to ease any injustice. Scratching the stitches holding the now long gone satin binding, I worked out the troubles of the world. As I scraped feverishly, it was as if each swipe over the thread unearthed a bit more of the buried solution.

NaNa was always there and always without judgment.

The ritual itself quieted me.

From surviving my occasionally mean big brother, tempering tragic teenage angst, enduring the splattering aftermath of my first college drinking experience, and calming the nerves on the night before my wedding, NaNa was always there and always without judgment.

The chosen few who have been offered NaNa in their times of distress understand the intimacy and depth of the gesture. A mere memory of her former self, NaNa still serves. Only yesterday I gingerly and lovingly tucked her into my son’s bed to ease his teenage trials. I get dismissive eye rolls sometimes but recipients greedily receive her and never question the sincerity or the sacrifice. It is love, now in the humbled form of a shrunken, shredded, grey rag. I do not share lightly.

In fact, I hesitated to share NaNa with you. For good reason. How silly for a middle-aged woman to sleep with a baby blanket. How…well, unprofessional and maybe even unnerving for those who rely on my expertise to help them navigate life’s vicissitudes!

Then I remember the fierce, transformative power of transparency. I am willing to take the hit if it means just one person feels validated or liberated. Exposing our vulnerability gives others permission to do the same. I share this tale hoping it might inform yours. NaNa is a true story about a sensitive little girl learning how to soothe herself.

So few of us learn how to comfort ourselves, instead choosing to numb ourselves through alcohol, busyness, food, screen time, shopping, clutter, and so much more. Instead of awakening, we tend to run. Rather than inhabit the pain, try to scratch through it. It is the human condition to avoid and it is a growth opportunity.

The bottom line is we need to do what we need to do as long as it does not harm us and others. Softening our rough edges is not only a worthwhile pursuit but a responsibility. Left untamed, we bring fractured and compromised versions of ourselves to a world that desperately needs us at our best.

Normal is overrated anyway.

Katie