Thursday, October 5, 2023

This Isn't Working

Hello Invisible Audience,


It’s been an absolutely beautiful fall here. Last Friday, I stopped at a short path beside the river and went for a walk in the sunshine. I was feeling overwhelmed, and walking through trees—listening to their leaves rattle and sway—always makes me relax a bit. I was overwhelmed because I’d overbooked myself with social events, hoping it would help to pull me out of the funk I was in. 


It wasn’t working. That night, I had yet another event planned, and although ultimately I was glad I went, at that moment, I was feeling pretty cranky and wiped out.


I don’t know when it happened. I was walking along, both enjoying the beautiful trail and also somewhat irritated that I could still hear the highway and the cars rushing by. When I get as overwhelmed as I was, every sound is like sandpaper on my skin. But anyway, suddenly it was there: not a new thought, but a new realization about that thought. Like my mind finally turned around and looked at my body, where she had been pounding on a glass door and screaming to be heard, and my mind realized she needed to unlock the door.


This isn’t working.


Just a simple sentence. Not even a new concept. Not the first time I’d ever felt it. But with it came a rush of…absence of angst.


This isn’t working.


Suddenly, it was no longer about whether I was strong enough to make it work, or brave enough. It was not about whether I was trying hard enough or if I’d done all the right things. It wasn’t about whether anyone believed me, or would give me permission to let go. It was as if my ego fell away and just a stark, honest truth lay before me.


This isn’t working.


I am profoundly unhappy. I love where I live and also feel isolated living here. I love my job but it does not pay me enough. I dedicate hours and thousands of dollars a year and thousands of miles of driving to my health every year, and it is driving me deeper and deeper into debt that I cannot fight my way out of because each month there is a new ailment or headache that requires the kind of treatment my insurance doesn’t cover. That, or the treatment doesn’t work and I have to dig deeper into my credit card and into other options to see if I can find something that will let me function just enough to get through the days.


This isn’t working.


I have been waiting for someone to tell me that I have suffered enough, even as I hide my suffering. I want the martyr award, but the first rule of the martyr award is you can’t tell anyone you’re a martyr.


This isn’t working.


I am exhausted. I walk around caring for myself like I would a demanding toddler: feeding her regularly, trying to have patience with her spates of sleeplessness, taking her out into the sunshine because they say it’s good for her. Taking her to all her doctor appointments, and yet secretly resenting each and every second that caring for her takes because it takes me away from the things that make me feel alive: things that I know exist, and yet feel profoundly out of reach from where I’m standing.


This isn’t working, Invisible Audience.


Something needs to change. It may actually be everything: I may need to find a new job, in a new town. I may need to throw all the chips in the air in the way I have before, and let myself revel in figuring out how to make them land in a way that feels good to a new, future me: the one who loves new adventures. I may need to let go of the business I built and start over.


When I think about what the future could look like, I feel immense relief. I feel interest in exploring options; at the idea of getting to know a new place.


I also feel some hesitation, because this is something that I’ve done several times before, and I wonder if I am running away.


But it’s not as simple as one or the other, Invisible Audience. Because when you run away, you simultaneously run toward something else. It can be true that I find it easier to start over because I enjoy the adventure, and that I appreciate the prospect of severing ties with an old me that otherwise feel hard to break.


I have no idea what the future will bring at this point. I have no idea what parts I will choose to allow to fall away and which I will decide to keep. But that’s ok—I’m not in any sort of hurry. For now, I can just sit here and know that I get to change. Because I finally realized that I need to in order to find my way back to me.


Love and not working kisses



P.S. I had a hard time keeping up with my blog lately, but what writing I have done over the summer has gone to my patrons on Patreon. You can check out my profile here. Pledge as little as $1.50 a month to get access to more of my ponderings and become one of my Semi-Invisible Patrons. When I can't find time to post both here and on Patreon, I prioritize posts on Patreon instead. 

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