“I’ve never seen any life transformation that didn’t begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
I am tired of my own bullshit. In fact, I have been tired of my own bullshit for as long as I have lived. If my enemies wanted to hurt me, they needn’t do anything – just leave me alone in a room up to my own devices, and return within a few days to find me wilting in a heap, half melted into the ground from disgust at my own nonsense. I am my own worst enemy, and no matter how true I know this to be, it doesn’t change one iota of the fact that this truth will keep continuing to creep up on me.
Some people can set hard lines in the sand and then stand by it. One day I smoke, the next day I don’t sort of thing. I, on the other hand, dabble in the art form called the back and forth – for me and my kin the line is not representative of a hard divide. Instead, it is rather like a fence, something to be jumped across again and again. Yes, some days I choose to be good, but that normally follows other days where I let loose and am really really bad. This revolving hamster wheel of a life keeps me running, either forwards towards the next high or backwards, to hide from a new low. I’m sure there have been signs for the exit I may have seen many times, but I’m moving so much I’ve always just gone right past. Around and around, continuously getting somewhere and nowhere at the same time.
When the challenges you face are cyclical, it is the absolute truth what they say when they say resistance is a battle needing to be won every. single. day. It is absolutely exhausting. When you’re living an emotional tour de force, flipping between feeling the smug accomplishment of a frat boy at a sorority party one day, to waking up to the crushing realization of your own willful failings as a human being the next, your mind and body are sure to take a beating.
Who you are starts to lose its meaning, and you become no longer the sum but rather the consequences of your parts – looking like superwoman, #girlboss, or plain female domination on the good days, to a downtrodden, homeless teenager shuffling aimlessly across busy freeways on the bad ones. You begin to lose the whole you, the purpose and the bigger picture, to a you that’s defined in fragments divided by the good days and the bad.
I want something more than that. A peace of mind, a solid middle ground. Somewhere I can be inspired and compassionate with myself. It isn’t easy; learning how to temper the good days – the productive and successful days – with the allowance that if things don’t continue to stay this way I will be alright. Then learning on the bad days – the ones where things don’t get done and nothing (mostly due to myself) goes my way – that the seasons change, the clouds uplift and this too shall end. And even here, again, I will be okay. I am learning patience, the kind that wants you to trust in the process, to believe that when all is said and done it will all have been worth it in the end. And when the final painting is revealed, all the harsh lines drawn between when things were easy or were hard will be blended in, so expertly smooth as to expose no distinction between the two states at all. All sides, all parts of the journey, joined together as one.
I do believe Liz Gilbert is right – there certainly is a threshold within each of us that, once crossed, has enough energy to propel us forward into that promised land of ‘finally getting our shit together’. But I also believe – and am learning to believe over and over again – that you don’t always reach that bottom line just once. Sometimes, you keep falling back into it, even if mere days before you may have been on the opposite end, on top of the world.
And there is nothing wrong with that – it doesn’t reflect your self worth, or your ability to progress. After all a journey doesn’t end when you take a detour to get there, it only ends when you quit. No matter how far you stray from the original path, as long as you keep wanting to get there in the end, there will always be a part of you which cheers you on, rallying for you to achieve. When you find yourself in doubt, look for that voice. Listen to its message and believe it. It is talking straight to you, and it is telling you the truth.
We don’t always do what we should, and we don’t always make ourselves proud. But as long as you keep the door wide open for another opportunity to try, you will still be fighting the good fight.
Some words that inspired me this week:
“Writing is about getting happy. Story is the only thing that connects us. Forget about the conventions, forget about the style and the rules. Touch people, connect people with your words but what you want to convey is your spirit, the spirit of those who’s light you are shining across that page. Writing is opening a window to the soul, allowing a pass for others, one other, to enter into you and be you. It is so much power and so much beauty. Don’t get caught up in the bare bones of it. Feel, then allow another to feel with you. It is your duty to share the human experience. Drink the nectar, then share it. Unleash the soul, it demands it.” – Stephen King
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