Lately, life has thrown it’s fair share of curveballs my way. For those who want the “dirty deets”, I’m sorry to say I will not be sharing them. I do however want to share my state of mind. When your house burns down it’s not the house itself that you cry over but what it represents and the sense of loss, helplessness and vulnerability. I will say however that my house did not technically burn down and no, no one died but I am grieving a part of my life. That said, let me preface all this by saying this isn’t anything new. I’ve been doing the two steps forward three steps back dance all my life. I was all but born with lemons up my “backside” and have made some damn tasty lemonade but for some reason I was caught of guard this time. I guess I had just finally allowed myself to get comfortable in the life I was living. I allowed myself to think I had finally arrived: I’d finally reached that point in my life where I could sit back and say “Yes. I’ve done it. I have the life I’ve always wanted.” I still had goals and plans and things to look forward to and to things yet accomplish but I felt like I had weathered the worst of the storms and was on to calmer seas. That was until, my God damn boat ran ashore and her hull was torn open. I wasn’t immediately sure if I should try and rebuild what I’d lost or use what was left of her to build shelter, get my bearings and eventually start from scratch. If you’re thinking I could have burned the rest to the ground hoping the smoke signals would somehow get me saved I fear we could never be real-life friends and I’m sorry to say that life just doesn’t work that way. So, before I digress too much, that’s what these last few months have felt like. P.s. I love analogies!
If anyone who wasn’t in my very inner circle were to ask me what was going on I suppose I would say that at the end of the day it’s nothing that can’t be fixed. Nothing that can’t be overcome. My optimistic self would say that it’s just an opportunity to take a step back, appreciate the things that are really important and rebuild stronger and better than before. A chance for growth. A push from destiny toward obtaining what I really need and want. And these two sides of me, this practical self and this “silver-lining” self wouldn’t be wrong. They aren’t wrong. I’m not wrong. But it doesn’t feel like that now. I feel like my house has just burnt down. I feel like I’ve worked so hard to get so far and somehow I’ve backslid and I don’t know if I have the energy to make that kind of progress again. So what do I do now?
It’s hard to make a plan for the future when you can’t even concentrate on the now. It’s hard to have the courage to make the tough choices and fight the uphill battle when you feel like a failure. It’s hard to just dust yourself off, and get back on the proverbial horse when you’ve fallen so many times and gotten up so many times that your scratches and bruises are now permanent scars and the dust seems caked on so thick you look more like a statue of yourself and can barely stand at all. As I’m writing moments from my kaleidoscopic past keep coming to mind. Moments of despair. Tragic heartache. Suffocatingly painful moments I thought I’d never get through…and somehow I did and with so mush less life experience and sense of self! So why does it feel like this latest “tough period” is so burdensome? Because it feels like failure. And I suppose failure has a sort of physical weight to it. It feels like gallons, endless gallons of tar being poured over your shoulders. It weighs you down and immobilizes you. When you go through traumatic experiences as a child or teen you can usually rightly put the blame on someone or something else but as you get older, grow, become an adult, a parent, a professional, a breadwinner, an independent, strong human being and contribution to society your failures, even small ones, seem to have a different weight and if you’ve struggled for your accomplishments you get tired of carrying that weight. It can be overwhelming. So what do you do?
You can’t give up. You mustn’t give up. You need to take baby steps.
I know what I’m going to do. Or at least the first step. I’m going to let myself be a little sad now. Let a little of that weight roll off so I can take get my footing because in my experience, holding on to negative feelings and keeping them all bottled up inside only adds to the weight. I’m going to talk to the people who love me that way I can share a little of that weight. They will lift me up like I’ve done for them so I can take a step forward. If I need to I might feel a little sad then too, let it out slowly until it’s all out. Then I’m going to take small steps. I’m going to acknowledge my small victories and let the weight fall away behind me. I’m going to look back on the moment and remember it as that time I got a flat tire along the path I was travelling and it was just what I needed to stop and see there was a fork coming up in the road. And I will try to acknowledge and be grateful for the fact that from a standstill you get a clearer vision of the path that lies ahead than you ever can while in motion.
So I guess it’s ashes to ashes, dust to dust and may the past be just that: the past and don’t forget to stop and take a look around every now and then or life might force you to. Baby steps my friends.