This time of year is so all over the place for me- glorious things happen all month: my yearly I got sober day, my oldest’s birthday, Christmas- but I’m sort of an emotional wreck at this time of year just by the natural way my body works. I have noticed, since getting sober, that I have about three times a year when I get downer than just down and I have to work for normalcy.
This time of year just lends itself naturally to change- it seems like I learn big stuff around this time, so that November and most of December seem to be me pushing something big around and around until suddenly things start to fall into place and I feel lighter again.
I am wondering about yoga teacher training- still a solid five weeks away. I finished my writing class and feel so inspired to write but can’t seem to get it into my schedule with any regularity. I feel so fragile, and incapable- I’m trying to honor that instead of pushing myself. But then I’m just in my head all the time which sucks. It reminds me of all the years I spent trying to quit drinking: I wanted to be different but I was so scared to be different. The me that I am is still a comfort, even when I’ve outgrown myself.
I’ve been sick for three days, a sure sign that I need to do less. While I was lolling about in bed for those three days I came across an article about how people who are into controlling everything like to make lists about all the things they want to do, but then never actually get around to doing it. That is so me! I love to map out ideal schedules, regimented times for yoga and writing and running and book work and research. Then my life gets in the way and I abandon my ideal in that hopeless way I get when I just can’t get myself on track.
I have a huge problem with things being the way they “should” be. I did it when I was drinking- if I couldn’t quit on the first of the month well then, fuck it. The month was ruined. If I didn’t keep my New Year’s Resolution to quit then the whole year was ruined. Might as well drink. This carries over to my sober: if I can’t do an hour of yoga why bother? Unless I can write for a solid two hours I might as well just fritter away my time on the internet, or wandering around the house accusing myself. What good is a fifteen minute walk? I need to run, and for an hour.
I know, of course, that all of that is ridiculous. A few minutes of yoga is grand. A few minutes of anything is better than no minutes of it. I know, I know.
I’ve been thinking so much these past few weeks: thinking about my spirituality (have you read “Take This Bread”?) my habits, the way I wake up sort of mad and disappointed every day even though that’s not how I really feel. It’s so confusing to try to reconcile the person I feel like I am with the person I’m in the habit of being. It’s like I’m stuck in a rubber suit- it’s too small, I need to take it off, but I’m held fast by my inability to surrender.
It reminds me of the time I was running in the fall a few years ago. My therapist had given me a beautiful palm sized amber crystal-y rock. She told me to write down all the things I was trying to control and rubber band them to the rock. Then I had to carry it with me everywhere. So I was running, holding my rock- list of control things held tight by a big purple rubber band from the broccoli. I started crying. “What if I fall?” I wailed. “What if I catch you?” said a voice from inside of me. I cried harder and had to stop running.
There is not much faith in the world in me. I have always felt unsafe and on the look out. It’s like I’m on a tightrope- sometimes I’m ok, carefully picking my way along, and sometimes I’m flailing everywhere, but I never reach the end where I stand two feet solid on the ground. I’ve developed the habit of reminding myself that I am loved, that I am safe, but years of flapping are hard to undo. Even if I’m settled I still long for lopsided. It’s hard to feel the precariousness of my place in the world, it’s just as hard to trust my roots. Feelings are just hard all the way around sometimes.
I am not so good at being caught. I am good at pushing people away. I want to help everyone, but feel so uncomfortable accepting help for myself. While I was sick I made myself have help. It sucked. It felt awful and I felt useless but my husband took care of me- a job I reserve exclusively for myself because I am not accustomed to or comfortable being cared for. It feels….weird. Like I have to wait for the other shoe to drop- here’s your help, now here’s the price.
But here I am, wrenching my heart open anyway. Sometimes the work we do is not so obvious- it can’t be plotted on a bullet list or mushed into a clean neat schedule. It’s just me, and my heart, and the days and years it takes to heal from all the years that came before. I have these moments now- where I feel like myself, really like myself and I know it’s working. I know the tightrope walk is coming to an end- to a place where I can carefully place my feet on solid ground. Even if it’s only for a few minutes.