It’s been a few days of total awareness.
It started with a walk and hearing my anxiety gain an audible pulse. It started with the remembering of our date night shifting and the attachment that it must mean something. (Please read the actual text: shifting, not what my brain said: not happening). Then it shifted to the beratement of me not just being satisfied and able to walk and enjoy the weather. Then it settled into fear, and sadness – where I have found that it always stems from anyway.
Once I realized where I was, I cried. I realized I’ve been working so hard and waiting for congratulations. I realized I’ve been so vulnerable in opening myself so publicly and waiting for validation. I realized I’ve been seeking approval and not getting it from the person closest to me, but instead of from social platforms that don’t really know me. And then I realized, I am the person closest to me, and the only one I need approval from.
I cried some more. I spoke out loud and told myself that I was doing a great fucking job with my life, because I am. I work so hard physically, spiritually and emotionally. I am so diligent every day in how I show up in my life. I am so diligent every day in working on myself and doing my best.
It’s not my fault that I want a lot and expect a lot. It’s not my fault that I am sensitive and direct, sometimes both interchangeably and sometimes both at the same time. It’s not my fault that I want people to verbally praise me and validate me and tell me they love me, and that they’re proud of me. It’s not my fault that I am tired, or that I keep myself up at night thinking. It’s not my fault that I have such a deep well that sometimes I forget doesn’t need to be filled, and certainly not right now.
It’s not my fault I’m stressed and overwhelmed. It’s 2020; is anyone not? It’s not my fault that although my problems pale and could hardly be considered problems, I still feel them, and I still let them wreak temporary havoc on me emotionally. And then the domino falls, and it wreaks havoc physically – less sleep, rushed thoughts, reactive behavior, less thoughtfulness and regard for both myself and others. Flaking out on plans, overscheduling commitments.
And so I notice. I notice that this has been a big year. I notice that I broke my leg, COVID hit, and the world spun on its head. Oh, and I published my story and started being interviewed on podcasts and as a salesperson, I am still only at 50% of my yearly budget with only 2 months to go. I also notice that the man I live with has undertaken his own set of huge things for himself, and that our two years together have been amazing, and not easy! Individually we have run the gamut. And individually we have shown up, and together we are really strong.
I am grateful. Sometimes it takes getting really tired, and really fried, and really spun out emotionally. Sometimes it takes seeing myself behave in a way that no longer serves me. I almost pretend that I have shit wrong to get attention, and guess what? No such attention arrives! Nor does it make me feel better – ever. I used to sulk, stomp, create and verbalize stories and get something out of it. But now? That shit no longer flies. And when I catch myself trying it on for size again, it feels gross. At least eventually.
Nearly 17 years ago I started practicing noticing, being aware, and pausing long enough to be willing to change. It’s taken every day, sometimes every minute, of those 17 years to get here: to a place of neutrality most of the time. Not all of the time, but most of the time. Because time stands for things I must earn. Time represents opportunities to practice. Time reveals undercurrents of emotional disturbances that always point back to me and reveal room for growth – always. Time shows me who I am, and where I am. Time brings me back to myself and thank God the time it takes to get back to me is getting shorter and shorter in duration.
But not obsolete. It still takes a little bit of pain to recognize myself sometimes. It still takes a little bit of resistance to realize I’m not practicing these principles that uplift my life and my spirit. It still takes a little bit of wrestling with the people I love the most to realize I’d much rather be happy, than right.
Because I used to always want to be right – no matter what. It didn’t even matter if I was right or had a stake. I just had to be on top, even if the top was actually the bottom. I just couldn’t see it.
Until I could. And 17 years later, I still need to put my glasses on sometimes.