the work

“Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look.” Pema Chödrön

i’ve had no real pull to write.

i’ve been full of, “I should be writing.” but since a lot of my work these days is to weed out the shoulds from my life to really weed through the things i think i should do to find out what i actually want to do i’ve been tasked by sampson to not do the things i think i should do and see how i feel about it.

i took almost two months off from the shoulds of my life. i’ve only gone to the gym when i felt like i really wanted to which equaled 3x a month as opposed to my regular drive to go 3x a week. i’ve only been to bikram 2x a month. regular yoga 2x or so but i did manage to do lots of yoga on my own in both Yachats, OR and Kauai,HI. I tried to fight my should of going into work at 7AM and tried sleeping in (failed horribly, these things take practice I guess). i ate whatever i wanted with no guilt whatsoever. i haven’t cracked one anatomy text book. i’m now one of the throngs with an iphone and i’ve laid around watching tv shows and checking facebook on the thing while a stack of books have been laying around waiting to be read. while the sun shone outside and called me to come frolic ii unabashedly have laid in the poof chair for hours and let myself be taken away by mindless drivel.

it’s amazing how relieved you feel when you finally give yourself permission to do all the things you want to do. at first it’s difficult. it’s amazing how hard it was for me to let myself eat as many grilled cheeses in one day as i wanted. (i praise whomever invented daiya) i’ve come to realize that the voice in my head that is constantly mean to myself is the voice of a disapproving parent looking down on me and judging me harshly. it’s the voice that polices me. the voice that keeps me out of trouble. the one that tells me to eat my salad and shut up. do your cardio because you’re a fat fuck. work a 12 hour day because if you don’t you’ll lose your job. don’t do this. don’t do that. you can’t do it because you’re not good enough. you can’t wear that because you’re not skinny enough. you should go outside and not waste your time. these people don’t like you. you’re not like them. you need to listen to me if you want to ever become the better person you imagine in your head. the one you thought you’d be if you just lost more weight, read more books, went to more shows, traveled more, etc.

i’ve come to the obvious conclusion that i am constantly exhausted because i’m spending so much time trying to live up to an impossible standard i have set for myself.i’ve had great moments of enlightenment in the past couple of years and have slowly but surely gained more self-confidence and some ‘i don’t give a fuck’ attitude but things come together like that and then they fall apart again. these feelings are always in flux.

so as i let myself off the hook for a couple of months to do whatever i wanted to do and ignore any statement that started with ‘i should’ i wallowed in guilt for a bit. i worried. i was anxious. BUT IF I DON’T GO TO THE GYM I’M GOING TO GAIN WEIGHT.

god. the fear. all these things that i should do were fueled by fear.

and since a majority of my life is filled with shoulds it means that a majority of my life is filled with fear.

this was a big revelation to me.

i am scared of things. lots of things. i thought i had your basic fear of heights and falling down things, a normal fear of horror movies and wet condiments but it seems to go deeper than that. fear has been hardwired into my way of living. why i white knuckle it as i ride my bike on a street with cars. why my chest starts to tighten when i think about major life changes. why i have epic breakdowns when i evaluate anything in my life that will take away my current happiness.

i’ve spent my entire life believing that these feelings are my own and that somehow everyone else has their shit together. it’s just me trying to muddle my way through this. like i was born with this handicap that made my life harder than everyone else’s and i had to work harder to achieve what looks like normal.

all signs point to:

THIS IS CRAZY TALK.

none of it is true. we’re all doing the best we can and we are all struggling in our own way.

the stupid voice that wants me to believe i’m damaged wants me to believe that i need it because without it i’d be a fat, lazy, jobless, useless human being.

it’s never been just ok to be whoever it is i am. there’s always this feeling that if i don’t work hard to be this idea of myself i want to be then there is no point for me to be here. because boiling everything away, all the layers upon layers of things i’ve piled on top of me to define me, my work, the way i dress, the people i know, the things i own, the choices i make – take all of that away, the person underneath all of that isn’t worthy…of anything.

OMG THIS IS CRAZY TALK.

but it’s… it’s what i’ve been thinking about and what i’ve been realizing as i try to find ways to really be as authentic as i can be. i’ve burfied all this bad stuff, all this awful self-esteem stuff because i naturally thought that i could ignore it and work harder and it would naturally just go away.

it’s coming to light that i need to really touch upon the ugly things i’ve squirreled away and deal with them now if i want to move forward.

a lot of this has been hovering quietly in my brain as i move through the normalcy of everyday life and it speaks up loudly when i find myself saying:

“I should go to the gym tonight.”

“I should set my alarm earlier because i need to catch up on some stuff at work.”

“i should go to yoga.”

“i shouldn’t eat this.”

the counter voice i’m building is starting to ask “what’s the worst thing that will happen if you don’t do this?”

all of this is exhausting. trying to break down the person i think i am to figure out who’s really underneath all this crap is work.

so i’ve been especially quiet as i put my head down and work my way through this diligently, slowly letting go of all these bad thoughts i have about myself knowing that they can come back at any moment but i’ll be better prepared to handle them when they do make their way back into my brain.
it’s always been easy to make a laundry list of the things i think are wrong with me because i am my own worst enemy. it’s easy to identify what i don’t like about myself. it’s hard to identify why i feel this way about myself. the origins of these feelings are usually dark places we don’t like to go to and places we don’t want to acknowledge exist.

somedays are great. somedays are just ok and somedays it really really sucks.

just like real life.

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1 Response to “the work”


  1. 1 Rory January 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    amazing journey… you inspire


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