Well sonofabitch you guys. I’ve been feeling great.
Even though there have been some familiar and unfamiliar problems, I’ve still been rocking it.
I’m embarrassed to have just written that here because this blog holds my past up like a mirror. The exuberant spring, the broken summer and now this. I can’t keep up an impressions of adult success when my writing here looks like a looping time-lapse record of ups and downs.
I’m embarrassed because I had a different idea of what it would be like to be a grown up. I didn’t expect to need to learn and re-learn and re-re-learn the same things over and over and over again.
Things like: I need to slow down. Or like: I’m worth taking care of, just like everyone else is. Or this one: I can sometimes split into two people inside of myself, one who is trying to fix a problem and the other one who is freaked out, anxious, depressed, etc. And I can actually talk directly to the fixer person, the one who is saying things like “you’re descending into mental illness from which you will never emerge.” I can actually talk to her inside my own mind or with my out loud voice if I want and say, “Hey, it’s okay. I’m just feeling kind of depressed. Maybe you’re trying to help, but it’s actually making me feel worse. So please just relax, cause I just need to feel sad and worried and afraid right now.”
See, all of those three things, I’ve been learning and learning and forgetting them for 15 years now. And every time one of them is in my face, I have this whole love affair with the idea and the practice of it. I master the art of slowing down or talking to that inner voice or whatever. And then I find myself years and years later seeing a new therapist who talks in a different way about the inner voice and it sounds all new and I try it, and it works—I actually feel those two parts of myself come together, like I’m whole again, and then I remember. I’ve done this before. I knew this before.
Hello humble work of being human. I guess this is it. Just this circling around and back again where you spiral over and over to the things you know you need, and each time it feels new but you also remember.
It’s happening to me now with boundaries. I remember knowing this once. This feeling of holding, staying planted, and knowing that it might make other people uncomfortable. The thing I remember the most from before was how shocking and energizing it was to not be horrified by other people’s discomfort. This truth has circled back: I am actually allowed to make other people uncomfortable. I’m here again, able to do magical things like saying “Yes, I do” when a person asks me, “Do you think I’m sexist?” I feel the awkwardness in the room and the surprise of my clear and quick answer, and it’s okay. Nothing explodes. No one falls down and dies. We’re still just standing here like we were before.
Maybe it’s not embarrassing at all. Maybe there’s a wisdom to the whole learning and forgetting. Like a life cycle. A wave cresting and going under. A melon turned to compost. Maybe we all have to learn for a while and then forget so that when we remember, it goes deeper. And then when we forget again, it will still just be way down there. Waiting.