I know, I’m four days late with this post or, as those glass-half-full folk might say, I’m three days early. Either way, I sat down the other day, when I was only a day late or so, with what I thought was an interesting observation, and it wasn’t until I was about four paragraphs into it that I realized it was rubbish. My motivation signalled defeat as my mental outline deflated slowly before finally collapsing in on itself, creating a vacuum that threatened to take the rest of my brain with it. Interestingly, this happens most often when I approach my blog with a premeditated idea of what to write. In most other applications, foresight and anticipation are rewarded with a speedy, efficient performance and better results. For whatever reason, when it comes to blogging, I do my best when I take a second to listen to myself, and then just start typing.
So here we go.
A lot has been going on the past week, hence the late/early post. I’ve been doing full days at the shop regularly for some time now, and though I enjoy my time at work, things on the home front seem to fall slightly by the wayside – items that need to be mailed out sit on my dining table still; that pile of clean clothes in the corner of my room continues to migrate from the floor to my bed, where it waits to be folded and put away, only to be demoted back to the floor each evening; and though the overall level of tidiness is tolerable, it’s not quite where I’d like it to be. There are many things that could be done, but I’ve been quite happy to give myself the evening off – for the past two weeks.
Amidst all the business and busyness, there has also been a lot of action going on between my ears, or, as I jokingly told a customer who asked where the noise on her bike was coming from, just below the helmet. Until very recently, I’ve been hyper-aware of every thought pattern regarding the events of this past year. I’ve reverse-engineered everything that has brought me to this point in a bid to look at each one objectively and honestly. Aware of my own tendencies and perhaps selfish motives, I’ve outlined strategies to process things in a healthy way, to move onward and upward in a trajectory laced heavily with logic and pragmatism. I’ve second-guessed my second guesses, raising the level of introspection exponentially, and any parts of my brain that aren’t damaged are most surely burnt out by now. I don’t do this because I like it, I just want to be healthy and whole again. But with this war waging in my head, I was shooting myself in the foot.
You see, the past couple of weeks have been so busy, that I was unable to take the time I usually reserve for reflection and self-analysis. Introspection is not the sole purpose of this downtime, but that is what my mind wanders to when I relax and give my brain a rest, and it seems like a good practice. With this part of my routine effectively removed, however, I was doing something that I haven’t done for a nearly a decade, something that I’ve been longing to do – I was just living. And just living is what I need to get back to.
The ability to just live is exactly that, an ability. When people have traumatic experiences, they lose that ability and it feels impossible to get back to just living. You can’t un-see the things you’ve seen, you can’t un-know the things you know, and you can’t forget the things you remember, no matter how badly you’d like to. We all need to continue living, of course, but how do we get back to living life? First, we need to recognize that the act of moving on does not invalidate or belittle the trauma we’ve faced. Then we need to decide how much of that experience we take with us in our day-to-day life. Some may take up a cause, a project that can reconcile their experiences with the world around them. Others may simply learn to compartmentalize, tending to the things that need tending, then shelving them until they require further attention. For myself, I need to be a little less involved in my recovery. I have to trust myself, that the person I am and the way I am can take it from here. It turns out that I need to get out of my way, because all the analyzing, plotting, and planning I was doing to ensure healthy and steady growth simply got in the way of something more valuable – authentic, organic, and wholesome recovery.