This hard thing
You walk this thin line when you’re going through an emotionally dark time. On one side you’ve got an abyss of fear, and on the other is a pit of despair. You have to let go of things that throw off your balance. If you hold on to a thing that crowds your brain with bleakness, you tip toward the pit; if your imagination does the giddyup, you totter toward the abyss.
Most of the things I’ve let go of are energy sucks. I ask myself daily, how much energy does this [fear/resentment/thought] cost?
Resentments–woo, out the window, baby. Ain’t got time to have hurt feelings. Only room enough for one car on the pain train.
Worrying about what other people think–this really took the stuffing out of me this summer. I worried that I was too emotional, not emotional enough, too preoccupied, not preoccupied enough. I worried about how spiritual, thoughtful, loving, pretty, available, etc., I was. To my brain and my heart, I say, “I’m sorry. It’s enough to be upright.” This stuff’s scattering like the fall leaves I wish we had here in the desert. My version of the fall season, I guess. heh
I’ve been aware of the tightrope, of course, all summer long. I just didn’t realize what was making my balance so precarious until I let a cool writing opportunity pass me by recently. I could have written an essay about how I teach, but I could not bring myself to do it, and when the due date passed I was disappointed in myself. No, worse than that. I shamed myself. Something so easy, and I balked because I was afraid that 1) I would find out that I do actually suck, and 2) now people would know I sucked.
It took me some noodling to get to the root of my resistance, but when I found it I also understood that this was something interfering with my skittery tightrope walk. It has to go.
At the same time I was working through this, I came across a news video about the bombing in Aleppo. A small child is pulled from the rubble and set on a seat at the back of an ambulance. His face is covered in dirt and blood, and you can tell he’s barely waking up and is not processing anything. He must feel the weight of something on his temple, because he reaches his hand up to touch his head, and when he feels the wetness he pulls his hand back and looks at it briefly. Then he sees that it’s messy and his first thought must be to wipe it clean; he rubs his hand on the seat.
No one is there with him; he sits alone because rescuers are busy digging through the rubble for more survivors. He sits quietly, and his eyes are blank.
I can walk this damn path. It may feel like a tightrope, but it really isn’t. It’s just a hard thing. And what now propels me to write is something I feel self-conscious about, but I’m sharing anyway: Writing brings income, and I want to spend it helping children like that little one in Aleppo. (I want to add qualifiers (writing potentially brings income) but I will not. Will not.)
I’ll be writing more about the writing process, but will also post any updates about my missing son when I have them. Right now, all I know is that he’s gone, and his body has not been found. I am mostly trusting that he is alive. Some days, you know….
The two videos below resonate with me today.