I wrote a poem a long time ago about a bucket. I was having a pretty hard time and felt like I had broken into a million pieces. I felt like I was just spending my life picking up the pieces, all these tiny pieces of me. So I did. I picked them all up and carried them around. Some I put back together but most I realized I gave away because I thought to give them to the world was what I was supposed to do to make a better person. So, I gave and I struggled and I thought I was doing all right. I took stock of my bucket this week and realized that it was empty because somehow I have managed to give away everything I was and now I’m just spent. My husband and I don’t fight very often. We seem to have a healthy understanding of each other, how we work, what ticks the other off, and how to avoid such things. There is an immense amount of love and respect between us. When I can only give 20 percent, he gives 80 and vice versa. It is just how we work. I’ve been running on fumes lately and he feels it. So, this weekend when something happened that I should have just been able to deal with and I crumbled, his frustration came out. I wasn’t mad at him. I got it. I understood it. I was just as irritated with myself.
So, I went and had coffee with myself today. I’m getting back to my journal, to getting back to the girl in the corner who seemed to be able to figure stuff out. She may have preferred to hide from the world but she was certainly capable of taking care of herself. I thought about this fight we had this weekend, how horrible it made me feel, how tired I am of this battle within myself, and I realized my bucket was empty. Sure, I got rid of some stuff over the years that were harmful to me but I also managed to give away the things that made me strong. One of these things is my confidence and I’m not sure at what point I let that go. I have always been hesitant with certain parts of life, sure. I’ve never backed away as I have recently though. I go back to these moments of my life, picking apart the lessons that I learned, rearranging them to figure out how I came to my conclusions. I really believe that I gave these things away because the more I gave to people, the more people seemed to come to me. I made a mistake though because I gave too much away. And, now, when I look around when I need a hand, there’s nobody here. So, that morning when my husband looked at me, the way he looked at me, made me realize how fragile I had become and it’s just not me. I look in my bucket and understand I have to start over, to take back these things of myself I gave away and to stop giving my power to these things that don’t deserve it.
I would love to say that I’m going to wake up tomorrow morning and have my shit together but this is a marathon, not a sprint. I try to figure out why I started down this downhill slide but there’s no real reason. I think that over the last two years, I’ve had so many things change. While I’m good with change, I need a minute to digest. I can say it’s because of the hard times I was having with my kid or that she has grown up and moved on. I can say that it’s because the role of my husband and I changed where he is the breadwinner now and I’m in the backseat. I can say that it’s my job, the lack of reward there, the dull routine of it, the feeling that I’m 40 and feel like I’m still fighting the same demons I was when I was 20. While all of these things contribute, none of them are to blame. I don’t think I ever really gave myself a chance. I dived headfirst into not dealing, into berrading myself with do-betters and faking you-got-this mantras that I stunted myself. Now, here I am, with an empty bucket and an empty tank and no idea how to cut myself a break. Staring at this woman in the mirror, telling her to get her shit together. I am tired of being tired.
I realize that I am standing on a cliff right now. I understand that I need to make a choice to leap or to step back. I let my house fall apart, allowed myself to run dry, and gave my power away because it was exhausting trying to hold onto it. I know my blogs seem to have the same theme lately but I am just trying to find my pieces again, to put them back together so I can get back to me because I’m here. I just misplaced her for a minute. I didn’t like the way my husband looked at me, didn’t like the taste of the tears that ran down my cheek but maybe it was what I needed to wake up. I am a person who has a shit ton of anxieties, a person who is burdened by an immense amount of sadness, who lives in a world where I feel every single emotion that it throws at me and it’s a tiring cross to bear. I find people to be taxing and exhausting and bothersome. I prefer to keep you at a distance but here I sit, writing these words, parts of me all over this screen. Because inside I am also an incredibly kind, loving person who would love to let you in, who wants to help and to listen and to love. The thing is I don’t know how to do that without giving you too much. I look into this hypothetical empty bucket that I carry around and understand that I need to pick up my pieces again. This time, though, they need to be the right ones. And, once I have filled my bucket again, then I will get back to me.
My friend asked me the other day what I wanted to do. I was working and I’ll be honest I’m in this weird place right now where I can’t quite pinpoint my direction. I mean I know what I wanted to do but being an adult with responsibilities doesn’t quite allow me to just do what I want to do. If I didn’t have such a drive, who knows? Maybe I would be that person who could just do whatever I wanted. I’m not though. I’ve never been because I don’t know how to how to balance life and myself very well. It’s you or me and, more often than not, I’ll do you before I even think about me but here’s the thing. The older I seem to get, I’m starting to understand how little pay off there has been to how giving my life has been and now I’m stuck. I’m stuck in this quicksand and some days it feels like too much to pull myself out. The question “what’s the point?” rings too often and far too loudly these days. I drive myself bananas. I like to control but I hate plans. I love routine but I hate how bored it makes me feel. I really hate being bored. There, my friends lie at the root of some of my current issues. And because of this boredom, my over-analyzing brain has decided to clean out some closets.
I think in my younger years I purposely overdid stuff, put too much on my plate because I didn’t like feeling stagnant. I hated that feeling of not having enough to do. And if I did stop for a second, well then, I was going to have to deal with things I’d rather not. So I raised this kid and I worked so very hard at whatever job I was working and I said, “Hey, world, I’m a go-getter.” Then I met this beautiful human being of a man who was the first person to ever make me feel like it was OK to not be everything all the time. He made me feel like it was fine to sit down for a minute, to not work myself to the bone, to not do so much for everyone and to learn how to breathe. So, I did. I sat down and it felt great. My body thanked me. My brain, though, sat down at the kitchen table and, like Sonny, took out its box of tools. And now? Now I’m having coffee with old ghosts that I put away a long time ago because, in my younger years, I was not strong enough to deal with. Am I now? I don’t know but I do know that I’m tired of carrying them around. My life is more than half over, that is the reality. I’m not being morbid. I’m being realistic and it’s fine. I’m not afraid of my time but I am afraid of living the rest of my life in the cage that I created.
So what do I do? How do I get to the place where I can just do what I want without sacrificing other parts of my life? I don’t know. I sit down in my newly created studio and I honestly want to scream because I don’t have the answers. I got very angry at a Bare Naked Ladies song this morning. Go ahead and laugh at that sentence. I got nothing but love for those Canadians! So, for me to get mad at this song, made me laugh. It was this dumb song about how you never had to work a day in retail or mow lawns or do a job you hate. I was like, “Bullshit, BNL!” Because I’m sorry unless you’re extremely lucky or born into a life of leisure, you can’t just sing songs about pre-wrapped sausages (but listen I love you, guys!). While I love the sentiment of the song and maybe found it humorous when I was younger, the very exhausted adult in me did not appreciate this message. And that’s the thing. It’s not that I’m just bored, I’m so very tired. I am so tired of putting my energies in things that just don’t matter. I’m tired of being triggered by things that have no real meaning. I’m so over this world that just feels so sad and lost and unsure of itself. I have worked retail and in restaurants and low-level jobs that break your spirit and I’m crispy, guys. Until I figure out what the hell I’m doing, it’s not going to get much better.
About an hour after the BNL song made me so mad, George Harrison came on in my playlist. It’s a song I’ve never heard before. I like him but you know not the first artist I go for. There was a line in this song that I thought was fitting for my current state of mind, “And if you don’t know where you’re going. Any road will take you there.” I thought, all right, let’s just go. Let’s just pick a road and see where it goes because I’ve lost any sense of direction at this point. I like to know what kind of people I am dealing with but you know what? At the end of the day, I’m over dealing with people. I can’t balance you and me. I will always choose you so I’m going to take you out of the equation for the moment and I’m just going to do me. In the last two years, I think it’s been about me giving myself permission to go back to that corner where I used to sit and say, OK me, let’s do this. Let’s clean out those closets, these dark corners where hid and let’s stop blaming ourselves for things, for all these things. Let’s set these ghosts free one by one and eventually we’ll get down to me. I’m tired but I’m trying. What do I want to do? I want to do whatever I want. While I don’t know exactly what that means right now, I do know that change is imminent. Whatever road I take, it will get me there.
It’s been a hot minute since I have had time to sit down and do a blog. This holiday season was bananas and not really in a good way. For the last two years, Christmas has not been a good time. While we were in a better place this year and I enjoyed the time with my husband, the other part of my life was hard. I honestly don’t know what happened this year. I mean people are nuts when the holidays come around anyway but it just seemed everybody got ticked off as soon as the turkey was cut. I am not exaggerating that I dealt with some truly miserable situations and it left a bad taste in my mouth for Christmas moving forward. I have a hard time dealing with humans but, man oh man, I was tested. So, obviously, my desire to interact with the world even on this level was pretty low. The holidays are over and I am back because this dream isn’t going to fly itself. My desire to just do this as a living grows by the day. No, that’s not right. My need to work for myself by myself becomes more of a necessity as the days go by. I’m not going through a mid-life crisis. I am just finally waking up and understanding that I need to make some changes for my own mental health.
I did not make any resolutions. I don’t believe in them. They are just a new way to put extra pressure on ourselves, another thing we fail at. Let’s be honest. Anything we really want is not instant anymore. I want to lose weight. January 1st doesn’t mean I will. I want to be a professional artist/ writer who does this for a living but I didn’t wake up New Year’s Day and it was here. No, I was the same grumpy, depressed, ridiculous person I was the night before because this life takes work. I’m going to fail a few more times until I don’t and it’s going to piss me off. I will sit down and eat a whole bag of chips even though I know I shouldn’t. I’m going to stare at the white and angrily draw squiggles when inspiration doesn’t hit. I may, in fact, do both of these things all year and it’s all right. Nothing is easy and this world doesn’t owe me anything. I know I’m the type to struggle. My life has taught me nothing if not that. I was never the girl that life just worked out for. Sure, it made me a pretty angry person for a long time. It was hard seeing the person next to me who did nothing win that lottery over and over again but I am tired of looking at them. I am tired of comparing myself and beating myself up over all these things I am not. Someday I will be more.
I have not been at the top of my game lately. There’s been a lot of negative thoughts swirling inside of me. And god knows I try to squash them but I’m on a struggle bus. It was another reason I didn’t want to set myself up with all these false things I was going to start doing. I know me well enough that the pressure I put on myself is ten thousand what you put on me. I just have to let myself be for a minute. I realized that I get angry so easily these days at everything around me and it is exhausting. When I sit down, I realize that maybe I need to shut the world out for a little while, to tuck myself in a corner and allow myself some time to reset, to reboot, to not allow things in. It’s been hard trying to figure out what I’m supposed to feel I guess. I was a hard-ass for so long. You couldn’t get me to flinch at you. And, then I didn’t have to be so hard anymore and I let the world in, people. I let people in and you know what? I was let down and I got hurt and now what? I find myself retreating once again, a form of self-protection that I thought I wouldn’t use again but I’m giving myself permission to step back. Because this year, while I do not have any resolutions, I am giving myself permission to heal, to grow, to let go, and to move on.
We all heal in our own ways. Some people need other people. Some people need to be alone. I realize in order for me to heal the way I need to, I need to do this on my own. I need to work through the feelings, the sadness, the anger the way I’ve always worked through these feelings. I don’t want to talk about it unless you are going to hear me but so often words fall onto deaf ears. Not because they don’t care but because they don’t understand and it’s not their fault. It’s not your fault. It is what it is. Here’s the thing. I want to work through this, to feel this, to understand it so when life becomes too much again (because it will), I know how to move beyond it. I’m full of a thousand insecurities, bloated with anxieties that I’ve picked up along my life, and I will always carry this bucket of sadness with me. I understand that. I own that. Those are the things that inspire how I write, the way I draw, the way I see this life. Without my chaos, there is none of my joy. I am not broken. I’m just rearranging my pieces again. And honestly whatever beautiful version of me comes from this? Well, I’m pretty excited to meet.