Tuesday, November 26, 2013

On the swell and the crash {Just Write}

There's grass weaving a pattern through the pavement. And there's wind carrying a scented cocktail of sea and blossoms. And there's me, running with mountains to my left, waves to my right, looking but not seeing. I left sub zero temps to escape to this paradise with my husband, and I have no business being anything less than euphoric as I run without hat and gloves for the first time in months.

But I'm not anything close to euphoric. At best, I'm content. At worst, I'm disappointed. And somewhere in the middle, I'm trying to talk myself into gratitude, willing myself to stay in the moment, loathing the way I can't seem to outrun the anxiety.

I want to believe that I'm easily pleased, that I'm mostly a happy person. But there are moments adding up to hours and days and even weeks when I'm close enough to the edge to lose my footing, when the sturdy trail narrows into inches, when I'm one footfall away from a faceplant.

I don't want you to see the ugliness. I don't want you to know how irritated I was with the rooster that kept waking me up at 3 am, or with the coffee maker that didn't have any filters, or with myself for leaving the camera charging cord at home, or with the way our plans were foiled by a road closure. Because for real. I'm in freaking Hawaii celebrating my wedding anniversary with my awesome husband. It's negative eleven degrees at home where my awesome children are being wonderfully cared for by my awesome parents. How the hell can I feel so crabby and disappointed with all that awesome floating around? What is WRONG with me?

Don't answer that.

Here's the thing. I know what's wrong. Imagine the ocean, the swell of the waves, the way they rise and fall. Imagine a mountain, the highest peak, the way it juts like the tip of a triangle into the horizon. I want to perch on that tip, that narrow, steep, impossible top. I want to float on that swell, that fleeting, porous, impossible top. But that's not how it works. How it works is that you crash into the sand. How it works is that you tumble down the mountain. (Jack and Jill will vouch for me on this). How it works is that the highs are never quite as high as we hope they'll be. And the lows are far too frequent.

I don't know what the answer is. Gratitude is a big part of it, I'm sure of that. Meditation and prayer. Hugging the awesome people in your life. Smiling more. Visualizing anxiety in the form of a person and then punching it in the face. These are all good ideas, but really, what do I know? I'm not the answer lady, not on this one.

But here's what I do know. It helps to know that we aren't alone. It helps to know that even people with picture perfect lives (guilty!) feel totally effed up at times. It helps to know that these valleys, these crashes, these crumbly-earthed trails, these are the rule, not the exception. No one gets to linger on that impossible top of the mountain. No one gets to float endlessly on the swells. I'm telling you this because I don't want to feel like something's wrong with me, and I don't want you to feel like something's wrong with you. If we must live mostly in the valley or in the climb or in the fall, let's at least give each other good, honest company along the way. Yes?

And speaking of good company, I'm just writing today, with Heather.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there, I see you. I hear you. And what you're feeling is not at all unusual. Give it a day or so. It takes time to decompress from normal life, it takes time to remember how to b-r-e-a-t-h-e. And Hawaii is grand place to do that kind of remembering. Buy another charger cord. Believe that your children are fine without you. Trust that you will find your way to delight. Just give yourself permission to settle in at your own pace. . . praying you'll find slices of joy along the way. (Beautifully written, by the way.)