I had a moment yesterday. It was an approximately 3-hour long moment – you know the ones. One thing didn’t go the way I thought it would and then I just sort of got lost. And the being-lost had nothing to do with the thing that didn’t go right – the thing that didn’t go right was not a Problem. The stuff that followed was.
Do you ever have those moments when you just spiral out and away into a very dark place within yourself? A place where all your insecurities are laid bare, where all your fears rise to the surface, where your sense of self-worth takes an absolute plunge, a swan-dive from the highest building in that brain of yours? I was stuck there for 3 hours yesterday. Honestly, I was lucky it was only 3 hours. I’m still smarting from it today, but the worst of it was over after those 3 hours. I’m grateful for that.
Yesterday I felt very not enough.
Yesterday I felt very alone.
Yesterday I felt unheard, and uncared about.
Yesterday I wondered why I am here. Whether there is a greater purpose to my life or if it’s just another life, not special, not treasured. I think what really happened yesterday is I came up against the reality so many of us meet from time to time that we are not special, our lives are not Great. We are utterly and inescapably ordinary and common. But most of us keep a veil down over that knowledge most of the time. Sometimes the veil gets lifted and we are face to face with it once more.
These are always times of great reckoning for me. They are depressing as hell, but they spur me onward – they encourage me to improve the ways I define myself so that next time the veil is lifted it will be just a little bit less scary. I’m okay with being ordinary, with being mundane – what makes our ordinary, mundane lives special has nothing to do with other people, with worldly achievements and great accomplishments and accolades. It has everything to do with the people we choose to love, the things we love to do, the small scraps of contentment we can find along our way. In the face of the Darkness, it’s easy to forget all this or to let it all fall away and to see, simply, nothing.
Yesterday night I was unraveling. Today I have started the slow work to knit the pieces back together once more. It never fails to amaze me how much damage can be done in 3 hours, or even 3 minutes – and then how long it takes to crawl out of that place that took zero time to fall into. I think maybe the reality is that it’s been slow-building, I’ve been slowly slipping and falling – those 3 hours were just the bottom 3 (I hope that was the bottom). But it sneaks up on you all the same.
But tonight I will see a dear friend for a half hour or so, I will go home and cuddle my cat. I will make dinner and prep food to feed my family for the next few days. I’ll try to go to bed early. These next few days I will be kind and gentle with myself – as kind and gentle as I can be with my unrelenting schedule and these trains of thought rumbling through my mind. But I am also beginning to look forward to a life less full or, rather, full in the right ways. First, I have to determine just what that means, for me. And then I actually have to act to make it so.
It for sure means more baths, more candles, more sleep, more & better food, more silence, more free time, more time alone, more journaling, more blogging & writing – in short, more and better self-care. But the problem is that it also means less of other things, the topmost of which being commitments and responsibilities. I feel like I’ve been not-making these tough choices for some time now and it’s finally coming to a point where I can’t live like this anymore.
If I were a doctor, prescribing myself medicine, I would prescribe: certainty, predictability, stability. I would prescribe Knowing, which is a tall order indeed. I would prescribe self-assuredness and commitment. But I would also be cautious and prescribe Being-Okay-With-Not-Knowing, just in case the Knowing didn’t take (because it almost never does).
I prescribe myself Peace.