The “first day” mantra treated me well again this morning. I was lying in bed, staring at my sunrise lamp, waiting for the alarm to go off. I was making up excuses about why I couldn’t run, why it was okay to skip class, why I didn’t need to get up until it was time for work. But instead I said, “You don’t want to miss your first day of marathon training, do you?” That, and I promised myself a cigarette.
My aunt sent me a text today about keeping up the fight. How it’s hard for all of us sometimes, but we have to keep going. That’s the only option we really have. I needed that reminder and I got it.
I have been asked for patience.
All the gears squeal and fight against themselves. The flood. Anger and desperation and hopelessness. “Not right now,” has got to be the hardest thing for me to hear. I live entirely on split-second and often horrible decisions. I am made of nows and nevers. But I was asked for patience. And I understand why it’s needed, why it’s vital. I understand in waves. All the instances my friends, my partners have asked for something as simple as a little bit of time.
I’m launched back to the night I made Mason ask me for a divorce even though he wasn’t ready. To filing the paperwork neither of us was sure about. Standing in front of a judge still not convinced I was doing the right thing, but resting easy knowing at least I was doing something.
Always have to be doing something.
But this time I recognize it. This time I know it’s a trip-up. A weak point. This time I can teach myself to fall into the lull of waiting. Uncertainty is not a thing we have to embrace enthusiastically, but we must wrap our arms around it and carry it with us regardless. And I’m in a place where I can practice doing that. Where I can wait.
Today I am thankful for smoke breaks. Those quiet moments in between class and tasks at work. Where I take some time to just sit and be with myself. Where I finally let myself do nothing and just enjoy my company.
I am so fortunate to have found a therapist so perfectly suited for this point in my life. Today she asked me if I think I am deserving of self-compassion. When I couldn’t answer she asked me what I thought self-compassion meant. I took a deep breath, looked her right in the eyes, and said, “I guess it means always assuming I’m doing the best I can.” No one has ever asked me that question before. No one has ever asked me if I deserve it. I’m looking forward to learning how to believe I am.
We’re doing inventory at work right now. For those of you who don’t know, I work in a bead shop. This means we have hundreds of thousands of different beads and we are counting every single one of them. Every ear wire, ever bead cap, every card of silk. Everything. I am so happy that I work with people who are making this time amusing and enjoyable instead of the incredible stress heap it could be. I’m also insanely grateful for the scales we bought this year so we can count by weight instead of by hand.
“Promise me you gon’ shut the fuck up and recognize what you holdin’ ain’t really broken.”
I know I’m slipping when I start to point fingers. When I make up excuses. Tell myself life would be different if only this or that. Little structures are built up in my head and I cannot move around them. Can’t seem to move forward. Make progress. Focus my time and energy the way I want to. It’s just because work, relationships, sleep. There are hundreds of people, activities I can peg my shortcomings to, but eventually it has to come back to me.
So I take a step back and tell myself honestly what it is I’ve made important. And I ask myself if it’s the right things. The things I want to be a vital part of me. Priorities are so often created without any input from my logical self. Without any input from me at all. They seem to conjure themselves out of a few days of bad habits and a poor night’s sleep. Before I even started paying attention to what was happening I hadn’t been exercising regularly for close to a year. Hadn’t even gone grocery shopping this month. I found myself floating again. Living unintentionally.
There are few things as frustrating as realizing you haven’t been paying attention to your existence. Fell asleep on the couch and woke up with the upholstery imprinted on your face, drool down your cheek, and no idea what day is it. What happened to me? How is September over halfway over already? It’s almost Q4 and I haven’t made real progress toward anything. And it’s not because I’m heartbroken. And it’s not because I don’t have time. And it’s not because I’m tired and in love and devastated and vibrant all at once. It’s just because I failed to notice my life in front of me.
My life is not a disaster. I am not broken. This is not what treading water looks like. This is simply letting go of the steering wheel and seeing what will happen. We never accidentally turn into the people we want to be.
Stop pointing fingers. Stop blaming a lack of forward motion on anything or anybody but that person you haven’t been paying attention to in the mirror. She still wants the same things she did before and she’s really starting to wonder why the fuck you’re not listening.
Photo courtesy of Hannu-Pekka Peuranen.