Oh hi… * sheepishly toes the ground *
I haven’t been writing… because… I’m happy! Isn’t that fucked up? Like I need to be sad about something to fuel my writing? Brace yourselves, because I’m out of practice and this is a brain dump.
So yes, happy. Joyful. Predominantly. Giddy, in love with Mr. Right Now, laughing all the time, having incredible sex (I mean, INCREDIBLE), learning to allow someone to care for me enough to ask tough questions, and also learning to practice BEING over DOING. Holy fuck, this is the hardest thing for me. I am dating someone who just wants to BE together, as in “be in the moment” and it has been a gift. It’s also been hella uncomfortable.
Things have come up, of course. Conflicts, uncomfortable truths about myself, realizations about the people that raised me, the people I’m raising and the kind of work I do for money, as well as how I spend that money. I’ve been doing therapy and coaching and using the tools to work through the pandy or the panini or whatever the cool kids call it these days, because we’re all tired of saying “the pandemic” and are ready for some “precedented times.” Except, are we?
I find it hard to believe that after all the massive social consciousness that’s emerged in the past 15 months, because we finally had enough quiet and stillness in our lives to listen to the pain of others, that any of us want to “go back to normal.” But we crave what we know, and as such, even though we might dread the idea of spending oodles of time commuting to some place just to do the same work we did without leaving our living rooms, many folks will also comply because it gives them a sense of “normalcy.”
Our brains are giant computers, just with souls and meat suits, and much like a computer, we dutifully “turn on” and upload our cache. What programs were last open? What were we searching? We save all the IRL equivalent of this data, bring it forth as our reality and each day we create more of the same, limiting our possibilities. It’s easier this way. The devil you know, and all that.
I get it. For much of human existence we’ve been in survival mode. Anything we can autopilot saves our brains energy. And in the way WAY past, when we might be walking for 20+ kilometres in a day, not knowing when our next protein meal was coming or where we might sleep, saving energy was important.
Conserving your energy is still important, but now that many of our lives are fairly secure (ah the current privilege of the West), we can also mindfully prioritize where we’re going to put our energy. Changing yourself, your life and breaking out of “more of the same” takes a lot of work. I keep coming across the same patterns of thinking. The same being horrible to myself through a nasty inner voice that questions whether I’m actually good at anything at all.
2021 has in some ways been harder than 2020. But I’ve been using current circumstances to observe when and why I get tripped up and go to the bad place in my brain. I’ve had two pretty major “anger sessions” with my dad this year that were then mirrored by a very senior person I work for. I learned that someone’s disappointment in something I’ve done (or not done) takes me to, “Dad’s mad” and then I go into all sorts of pre-determined thought loops on autopilot. And wow, when your triggers are activated in a cluster, they can either break you or break you open.
There is a simple answer to the question, “Why is this upsetting me?” or “Why do I want to scream and run away?” Of the Fight, Flight or Freeze responses, Flight is often my go-to. Sometimes quite literally. Like my Subconscious sorta does a, “I’m hating my current circumstances! Let me avoid them by booking a trip and then procrastinating on everything by researching the heck out of it!”
But Flight can also look like, “Wow I’m really uncomfortable in this situation, let me physically be here but mentally go someplace else.” Or, “Let me pop open a new tab and research sandals for hours, because then it won’t feel like an impulse buy. I have spent HOURS researching!”
Flight can look like, “Oh Mr. Right Now and I have had a conflict! I should break up with him because clearly this is never going to work, just like all my other relationships! And I definitely need to end this rather than speaking what I need out loud, because maybe he’s going to end it first and I want to be first.”
So the simple answer is that I, like many of you, am subconsciously living in the past. Because my brain likes to boot up with very little effort, I THINK in the past, rather than observing the present for data and creating a more desirable future with my thoughts. Now, I have coaching, so I do know that if I get up and write down new thoughts each day and connect with them energetically, I will eventually see the fruits of those new thoughts and they will become the ones my body craves, rather than the old crappy thoughts that keep me stuck.
While I know this to be true, it’s been tough for me to be consistent. Heck, if it was easy, we’d all be doing it. After a particularly tense June, where I worked very hard on my jobs, I was feeling very burnt out. I realized this week that I take myself to a place I call “Beast Mode” and from that place of white knuckling to get stuff done on time, I shut off my creativity, I close off my openness, until I’m basically back in a cycle of abuse. Except what I’ve learned this year is that I am the abuser.
Yes I have someone in my life who may, in fact, be a work bully. Yes, I have a father who doesn’t know how to speak to humans with kindness due to his own unresolved trauma and neurodiversity. Yes, I’m dating someone amazing, who makes me feel loved and secure, but who cannot tell his religious parents about me lest they find out he’s dating a lapsed Christian, tattooed, 40-something mom of two, bringing all their fears, traumas and conditioning into our otherwise wonderful relationship. But I can consciously decide what these people mean to me and about me, what I’m willing to tolerate and what I desire to accept. I am not a victim unless I decide to be.
As I approach my birthday, edging closer to fifty each year, I’ve decided to spend the rest of my year practicing the radical acceptance of my past experiences, working to bring awareness to them and understanding where and how they show up. But more so, I am committing to the practice of embodying a better me, a future me, one that is more authentic and kinder and creates new realities for herself with her powerful mind, free spirit and wondrous body in harmony.
So no “back to normal” for me, thanks. I don’t want to create “more of the same” unless it feels really fucking very much like what I want my life to be. It’s going to take more work than I’ve done in the past, and a showing up for myself even more, but now that I’m waking up to how I’ve been living, I have no choice. Living in the past is a punishment I’ve been doling out to myself, because it’s what I know. I want to rejoice in my aliveness and see what’s possible for me. I’m so fucking curious.
And don’t worry, I’ll write more about Mr. Right Now soon. He’s a complicated figure and also he’s the best.