Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Me of Here and Now

I have a heart arrhythmia that is induced by exercise. It bothers me less when I’m in better shape, but I always have to be careful that I don’t overdo it. If my heart starts racing – even if I get it to stop –- it is more likely to start racing again.
Although in many ways I’ve felt that this hinders me, in a lot of ways it helps me make sure I don’t overdo it: if I push myself too hard, I know that there’s a chance I won’t be able to go any further. In that sense, I don’t do things a lot of people do: I don’t try running a half marathon without training, I don’t go on long hikes unless I’ve been getting exercise on a regular basis. Sometimes I have to stop immediately if I feel it coming on – like when I recently did the Quetzales Trail with a friend and I plunked myself down 25 feet from a rest spot in the middle of the trail and refused to move until I was sure that my heartbeat wasn’t going to start racing up to 220 beats a minute.
I should add that more than one doctor and cardiologist has told that my arrhythmia will not hurt me. It is benign, they say: it is uncomfortable, it makes it hard to continue doing what I’m doing, it makes me light headed and dizzy and makes it hard to keep up with friends, but it will not hurt me.
My body is really good at telling me when I’m at the same point emotionally, but I’m not as good at listening. Apparently, it sometimes takes a feeling of dizziness in order to get me to slow down, but that’s exactly what I need to learn to do: know my limits, my pace, and stick to them.
I realized today that there’s a voice in my head that tells me that I am not strong enough. This voice – amongst many others – looks at an opportunity, a person or a situation, and when my body screams, “No, please don’t! It’s outside of my capacity; it’s asking too much!” this voice says, “You don’t want to do it because you are weak. If you were stronger, we could handle this and everything else. If you were stronger, this wouldn’t be a problem.”
Jesus H., invisible audience. No wonder I struggle so much. Can you imagine? Every time you cry out for rest, someone hands you a baton and tells you to keep running? Of course you probably can. This can’t be a problem just I have, and yet the same voice tells me that I alone don’t have the strength to do all and be all to everyone.
I wish I were a lot of things. I wish I were stronger; that I had more energy; that I were one of those people who could live on 5 hours of sleep, who could sit up one day and decide to run a half marathon without wondering if it would kill them. I wish I found it easier to make decisions based solely on what I want, without including all the other voices and people in my head.
I wish all these things, but they aren’t true yet. It doesn’t mean I won’t get there with some of them, but it does mean that I need to stop making decisions based on what I wish I was and start making them based on who I actually am.  
I have realized that I am at a point where I have been before. It’s the point where I have been slowly but surely working to realize my dream, then I break through into an extra layer of fear. This fear tells me that I’ll never make it; that there’s no money in what I’m trying to do; that I’m CRAZY for thinking my life could be different. When I have arrived at this point before, I changed the plan. I started writing cookbooks; I got part-time jobs. I told myself that I should still be able to write what I want to write while doing all these other things to; things that will lead to financial stability; that give me benefits, that feel safer to explain to others.
The truth is, when I made these decisions before, it never turned out well. It killed my creativity, and I didn’t have the capability to both create and work for someone else. Call me weak, call inefficient, call me whatever you want, invisible audience, but having done it more than once, I now know that I am at a crossroads, and it’s time to make a different decision. It’s time to let the fear wash over me, acknowledge it, and go forward, not with who I want to be or how I wish I was, with mountains of energy and creative genius aplenty, but with who I am: scared, hopeful, and knowing that I have to guard my time and energy as if it were all I had, because really, it is.
I don’t know how it’s going to work out. All I know is that I want something different, and to get it, I have to make different decisions than I’ve made in the past. I have to choose me: the me that’s here now, so that I can take the small daily steps to make me what I want to be.

Love and today’s me kisses

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