Four Reasons & One Realization

When someone who is a writer hasn’t written in a while, there are quite possibly a number of reasons why:

  1. They are busy with life
  2. They have lost inspiration
  3. They’ve written, but decided it’s crap and won’t share it
  4. The ideas are bubbling in their head, but there are too many and not enough ambition or motivation to follow through

I am sure there are more reasons than that, but I have experienced all four of those in the last several months.

It’s not that I haven’t written. I’ve written. I just don’t think any of it is good or complete enough to share it with the rest of the world.

Winter strips me of my humanity. I am a walking, eating, sleeping shell, who wanders through her days, seeking only the comforts of alcohol, a warm blanket, or the vicarious vacation of watching others on television.

Sometimes, there is far too much going on inside my head, or emotionally, for me to even begin to comprehend how to put those thoughts to paper.

Yesterday was Friday. I had no plans. I also had no desire to make them. I was feeling eerily down for no reason, except possibly the effects of my birth control, this weather, or the general existential angst I’ve been feeling for quite some time. I chose to lie on the couch and eat garlic bread and pizza I had ordered. I never order food when I am alone; this was an exception.

Quite drastically, something clicked over in my brain. Sort of like when a record player shifts over the grooves to the next song. I decided that I was tired of being tired. For weeks now, I have been mulling over how, lately, I am the opposite of everything my blog stands for. I have been extremely mediocre—hating it with a passivity—but mediocre, nonetheless.

Part of the problem is that I’ve lost my goal. Somewhere in the past few months I have literally misplaced the part of me that has hope. It’s been a weird sort of depression I’ve never felt before. Usually, I’ll feel ambivalence or deep pain, but never without hopefulness.

In that moment of stark realization, I had been looking at one of those online coaching programs—the ones that, through virtual means, motivate you to strive for your health and weight goals. You know, like having a personal trainer, except not.

It’s been too bare and bleak outside for me to consider being alive again. I’ve dealt with this deadness by eating. In doing so, I’ve gained back the weight I’ve lost in the past few months. I am angry at myself, which makes it worse. So, yesterday, I decided to accept that life has these natural waves and to do something about it.

I joined this online coaching program for a free two-week trial. In the set-up, it asks me:

What are your deepest reasons for why you want to reach your goal?

After giving a brief answer, it prompts me again:

Is this the real reason, or is there more?

I wrote more.

This short, virtual prompting by a non-human was strangely so thoughtful and perfect. In those few moments, I was able to succinctly put into words a large quantity of what has been bothering me for months.

It was always in my head, but placing it on paper had a real impact.

I want to have hopefulness and strive for goals. Why? It asked me.

Because I don’t want to be depressed or have existential angst.

Is this the crux of it…?

I don’t feel like me. I miss the old me.

I have known this for a long time, but verbalizing it gave it power again.

What is the old me?

Well, a lot of things, but when I wrote that I was thinking about the old, physical me, for starters. A girl who was comfortable in her own skin and looked in the mirror every day and thought (mostly) that she was beautiful and radiant.

The old me also had dreams, hobbies, energy, and spirit.

She didn’t look forward to drinking as an escape from reality. She didn’t sit on the couch, watching television for hours so the aching she felt inside could be tamped down. She looked forward to full stretches of days alone, where she could practice guitar, write, do arts and crafts, go for walks in the woods, and feel the cosmic love of the universe pour down upon her in gentle, reminding waves of compassion.

I don’t feel any of that anymore. Literally, none of it. Today, is the first day in a very long time I have felt anything.

Knowing that every day was one I was sleepily rolling through, like a person in a crowd on an escalator, was making me mediocre. Mediocrity led to helplessness and uselessness. I do not like being alive just so I can eat snacks, watch a movie, or go to work. I like being alive because I know I have some purpose. If I am not contributing to this existence in any way, I don’t want to be here.

This is the existential angst I’ve been feeling.

My dreams have been filled with nightmares and destruction for weeks. I wonder if this was my body’s way of trying to cause motion again?

My problems are far from being resolved, and this is only day one of the first step, but I have at least identified and verbalized what is causing me such stagnation.

I have finally chosen to listen to myself.

Flipping the Switch

I have been lost in an endless sea; treading water in an unknown ocean. Three years ago, my soul mate walked out our apartment door–our home. It was the most selfless thing he’s ever done.

In his absence, I have learned to love myself and to embrace the things with which I feel impassioned. I started going outside more. I made new friends and reconnected with old. I played the guitar every day and improved my singing. I wrote incessantly like a madwoman, exorcising all of the years of latent agony which had caked up inside the walls of my heart and mind.

Simply, I began to live again.

In my beautiful rediscovery of self, I couldn’t help but get lost in a new lover’s strikingly breath-taking eyes. The intensity of passion I felt when staring at him was something I had not experienced in so long that I had completely forgotten what it felt like to burn with vivacity at that level. I became addicted.

Then, I lost myself.

For over two years, on and off, I talked about him. Breathed him. Dreamed him. My biggest concern was his happiness. I wanted nothing more than to look into those eyes forever. I fell in love.

Falling in love and losing yourself is like swimming out to the middle of a vast, open body of water. It’s overwhelmingly astonishing until you realize that you have no idea how to get home. You can’t even tell in which direction you should start swimming.

Eventually, you get tired and sink.

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I have been really unhappy for a long time. You can be an unhappy person but still have moments of happiness. That’s how I would describe myself for the last two and a half years: As someone who was devastatingly incomplete but found happiness where she could.

Six months ago, a kindred spirit began to help me mend. He allowed me to express my deepest fears and the whole of my pain without trying to win my romantic love. This was a first for me. During this time, I began to examine myself in a new light. Instead of burying my pain or accepting my fate, I implored and urged my issues, anxieties, and fears to bravely surface and reveal themselves.

Finally, I began to heal.

It was probably two months after I started to recover that I reconnected with a friend I had met in late 2013. Now, when people use the term “drop-dead gorgeous” to describe a person, this is him. Sure, I was always attracted to him; I was very aware of the instant connection we formed the night we met, which grew over time. I was just so deeply submersed in cloudy, murky water I couldn’t see beyond that which was immediately present.

Very shortly after we reconnected, a dear friend of mine suddenly passed away. He, to me, was the embodiment of what it means to accept others and love unconditionally. I don’t think I ever heard him speak a negative word. About anyone. About anything. I am inspired with increasing intensity since his passing to spread love’s message with my actions and words. My handsome and compassionate friend proved himself to be much more than that during this stressful, painful time with his supporting words and the way he carefully handled my heart and my emotions.

I didn’t want to have feelings for someone new, nor was I totally ready for it. However, I had realized something in the time that passed since we reconnected: I had faith. I felt healthier. Maybe everything happens for a reason, and I was meant to form this bond now, because, now, I am finally able to see and appreciate the beauty of someone who doesn’t want to take advantage of me and actually cares about my happiness.

Little by little, I felt the pain of the past disengage like rotting driftwood and leave me.

However, this is not a love story. At least, not the kind you might be thinking.

I no longer believe it is healthy or okay to put all of yourself into someone else’s life, love, and happiness. In doing so for years, I completely forgot self-love and care. What about my goals and aspirations? I had none to speak of for a long time.

My kindred spirit friend asked me awhile back to write a list of goals, both personal and what I wanted in a partner. I did this exercise and began to see that this amazing man with whom I had reconnected fulfilled my “partner” list. Great. But what about my personal goals? One of my major goals is creating a plan. A life plan. I have always loved writing and want nothing more than to make somewhat of a career out of it.

As the days went by, I felt depressed. Stagnant.

Then, one day in late May I came across an article that was written for an online journal, which I have been reading for years. Their focus is on mindful living, whether it be through spirituality, loving the environment, pursuing wellness and healthy relationships, or practicing yoga. They believe in and promote anything that encourages and brings forth a better you and a better community. At the bottom of the article, there it was: a link to an online journaling/editing/writing apprenticeship. The deadline was the next day.

Without a second thought, I filled out the application.

Within the week, I received an email response congratulating me on my acceptance into the three-month-long program. I am a week and a half in, and I feel like a switch has been flipped.

In accordance with the Universe, I feel aligned. I feel happy.

Finally having a purpose again, especially one that is my biggest passion, I am excited every day to wake up. I don’t miss the man I don’t get to see often with quite the intensity and desperation as I have in the past months, because I am loving the time I am spending with myself.

This is the first step in my plan. I am doing it. I made it happen.

I single-handedly created my own destiny and my own happiness. No one else did it for me. No one else ever could.

All it took was the nudging from a kindred spirit, the inspiration of a passionate, tender man, and my own desire to be happy again.

I have not felt this way in years. I never want to swim in the ocean again. Burying my toes in the grainy shores of gratitude, rootedness, and self-fulfilling pleasure, I am writing my own story in the sand.