The last few weeks I’ve struggled to be present. Anyone asking me to be with them here, and now, was on my shit list. Instead, I wanted to ball up and hide; or multi task; or sleep. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t anxious (well…. not more than any other day). I was just avoiding what felt like an approaching avalanche of feelings. And while I normally don’t shy away from feelings, I found myself thinking, “Oh god. Not again.”
That’s how it goes with me, sometimes. All is well until one day I look around and realize I’m only running on 50% and I don’t know why. I’m going through the motions but my heart isn’t in it. I pick my kids up on time but I just want them to entertain themselves (why are they so needy?) I look a co-worker in the eye as he speaks to me but in my mind I’m making a grocery list or thinking of the five things I need to do before I leave today. I encourage my husband to make lots of social plans so I can be alone. I long for a quiet house so I can just do nothing.
It’s not terrible, I think, I just want to have some peace and quiet. Except in this case, peace and quiet means hours of doing nothing but reading trashy books and sleeping.
It takes me a while to realize that this isn’t who I am.
It takes something outside of me: a passage from a good book, words from a wise friend, or the sun shining on my face at exactly the right moment to snap me out of my isolation. I now know that my mini-hibernations are productive, even necessary. I have to ball up and hide to dim the noise so that I can hear my spiritual wake up call when it comes.
And then, all at once, I feel a fissure in the exoskeleton I’ve tried so hard to forge between me and the world. I am cracked open and new again. I can breathe.
It’s then I realize that I had to hide so that I could ready myself for the growing. For when I’ve outgrown my shell, it falls away and I am new and soft and malleable.
I breathe deep, I say a prayer. I marvel at my shiny newness. I grieve those who will not, or can not, recognize me in my new form.
But I keep going.
Because I was never meant to stay “just okay”. Living at 50% will never again be enough; I am meant to be all of me. And it is a wondrous experience to be struck open and vulnerable for that growth to happen.
Your comments are better than a shiny new shell.
Please leave one!