I am a baby deer. Timid steps and quick to spook. Sober for 309 days and still not sure if I know how to do anything new. We get so set in our habits, so sure that things are the way they are. The way they have been. The way they will be. I start to plan accordingly even when I have no evidence of everything crashing around me. I never learned how to embrace stability, how to trust love, how to build something without constantly questioning my foundation or worthiness.
But I’d like to.
So I start to pull back the covers. Stop trying to point fingers at all sorts of made up problems and finally lean into the idea that I’m just terrified of not facing a great tragedy. Absolutely petrified by the idea that maybe the things around me are solid. That I can count on them and that it’s okay to act accordingly. It’s okay to relax. To stop digging around in the dirt for a molehill to make a mountain out of. You can breathe now, kid. It’s okay.
This is a whole new idea. This notion that not everything has to be a fight. That some things can be left on the stove to simmer and will only get better without my constant attention. Without always trying to improve on or fix them. It opens up my headspace. Empties out the old drawers and dusts off the a collection of ideas long left to yellow and curl on the edges. Ideas about how to become comfortable spending time in my own thoughts. Ideas about what I’d like to do in the future. Ideas that make the idea of even having a future not seem so ridiculous. Those beliefs that I’ve been terrified to give in to. The ones that tell me I can make it through the winter, through the spring. That I don’t have to run away from this city. The ones that refuse to believe that it’s only a matter of time before I relapse or my before my depression finally takes me. Ideas that say it’s okay to breathe. To be soft around the edges.
That’s the really scary thing. Getting used to the idea that maybe there isn’t anything inherently wrong with me. That maybe there are things I’d like to work on and goals I’d like to achieve, but that none of those are marks of being broken. In fact, those sound more like strengths than anything. The fierce passion to always be improving can be embraced and I can learn to let go of the volatile tendency to think that a desire to improve means there is something damaged about me.
We’re growing because we want to. Because, as Helen Hayes said, “If you rest, you rust.” Not because we need fixing. We’re evolving and changing and getting better and better at all of this because we know we’re worth it. Because we’re tired of the idea that the way it’s been is the way it always will be.