No reason why my first post shouldn’t be titled What The Fuck, when that’s how life feels 50% of the time, for me anyway. I don’t know what I’m doing half the damn time and end up mostly winging it. Today was no exception.
I’ve been a shut-in for quite a few months. Isolator. A recluse surrounded by people. Hmm.. I wonder if it’s been a few months or several years. Who’s to say? Tomato// ToMAHto. I’ve developed this weird fear of the outside world. Not so much agoraphobia, more like a fear of being seen, of being vulnerable- of being ‘out in the world’. I don’t know where the fuck it came from. Was I always like this? Did I just pretend otherwise? I don’t think so. In my early 20’s, when I was really fucked up and not having much of a clue about who I was, even though I swore I knew, I was very all encompassing. Living my life out loud. I had a lot to prove, mostly to myself. I was always competing with me. Trying to be better than my worst days and making a shit ton of awful mistakes along the way. And they were some glorious mistakes, oh youth…
I remember how loud my head used to be more often than not. So much cyclical thinking. Cyclical living. Repetition. Same guy, different penis. Work here, quit there, move, move again. Have a kid, break up, have another kid, break up. Tiring. I remember though, the duality of my life, like it was yesterday. Always hiding who I was because who I was and what I did didn’t match up with what was deemed “acceptable” at the time. The lack of technology in the 90’s was both a god-send and a bummer. How the fuck was I to know all I needed was a circle brush and a blow dryer and I wouldn’t have to make my bangs start at the back of my skull? And then again, no smart phones saved my ass a million times over.. How many people would’ve been snapchatting the drunk girl falling straight back on the dance floor at the club on her 21st birthday?
I don’t even really care about all that shit I just wrote. I mostly care that I’m trying real fucking hard to crawl out of this cocoon I’ve built around myself. My safety bubble. The one my parents barely have access to. I mean, I’m 40, come on.. Not like I need mommy and daddy to cosign any of my life choices anymore. But still, when I shut down, even they don’t have access. I keep it tight. Real tight, to where I’m almost suffocating, but with just enough air to breathe so that I don’t become a damn unabomber.
I keep it to my husband, my 3 daughters and maybe my son. But he moved out a few months back, so he’s rim-running as far as I’m concerned. Plus I haven’t been working. Shit, this is me, in a cocoon, happy and sad at the same time.
I’ve been reading a lot over the last handful of months. No fiction, mostly books by some zen masters and buddhists. That coupled with daily meditation. It’s keeping me from losing my damn mind. Anyway, I have an affinity for Trungpa, Thich, and Kobun. Last night I was reading about how I needed to be honest about my anger with my husband. So I was and I felt better. Trungpa talks a lot about warriorship and what that looks like. I like that as well. It reminds me that being brave doesn’t mean being fearless but going beyond fear.
So today I went back to physical therapy after taking a month off for no reason other than I didn’t want to see anyone outside of my immediate family. The idea of going to the bank to speak to a teller even has had me rolling my eyes and looking for ways to put it off. That’s just how I’ve become over the last 40 or so years I guess. And then I went to check out a swim instructor job I was interested in. And now I have an interview. It’s a good thing, but again it puts me back out into this world I’m uncertain of.
Things are different now. The energy in the world has shifted, veils and curtains have been pulled and there’s a lot of straight-forward ugliness running rampant. It’s always been there but since Nov 8th, it’s just bubbled to the surface and the unfiltered racism and sexism makes me recoil. Like a snake sensing danger, it doesn’t make me want to venture further out into the landscape. Instead, I’ve been staying close to the burrow. Watching. Listening. Crying sometimes.
My zen reading has been good for reminding me that the world has always been this way. Seeing reality has been a gift but the loss of ignorance comes with a price. It means I have to do something. That I don’t get to sit back and pretend that I don’t see it, not that I did, but I don’t get to wait for someone else to do something just because Bernie didn’t get the nom.
I have a responsibility to help other people. To fucking show up. Today our neighbor’s old border collie Sadie wandered onto our porch. She likes our house, not sure why. Maybe it’s because we get good sun and also because Nova, our mastiff, is such a nut job. At any rate, I walked her slowly back down to her house and she followed along on her old tired legs, plopping down to sun bathe when we got there. Before I could ring the doorbell, Jane answered. We laughed about Sadie and her mischievous love of my porch.
Jane is a real one. A few months back when things got hectic and crazy at our house she let me know they were pulling for me and my family. One of those genuine remarks that stay with you. The kind that endear someone to your heart. We chatted for a bit and she told me that her cancer had come back. I had noticed the hair loss and quick aging, but didn’t really think much of it. I came back home after we spoke and I’ve been sitting here, writing ever since.
This is the reality of life. The harder one. The one that hurts when you don’t want life to hurt. I want to know. I’ve been hiding out. But I want to know. I want to help. I don’t want to waste years or months hiding out from the sad or the happy. The greatest capacity I have been given in this life is my sensitivity to the pain of others. Empathy. It makes me a crier at movies. Things hit me hard.
After the election, I could barely stand being in the world because I just felt everyone’s vibrations. The pain and sadness. The anger. Palpable. But it’s like when you lay something over the grass on your lawn, an inflatable kiddie pool- after just one day without the sun, the process of photosynthesis suffers. The grass starts to wither. As humans we are built for community. To speak, to touch, to connect. Albeit, we should be weary of what we touch, who we connect with; the point is that when I started to deprive myself of this I started to wither. The petals started to crinkle, to fade, then fall.
And now it’s taken quite a bit of mustering for me to take the steps I have today to be brave. To go beyond my own fears and bring myself out of this cocoon. Not emerging like some butterfly that’s gone through a transformation, but to be the same caterpillar I was before. And knowing this, to gnaw my way out anyway.
I don’t need to blossom or bloom, “To spread wings I’ve never had before”. I have soared with the eagles many times. I have climbed mountains and screamed into canyons. I have pounded my chest and kissed the sky. And now… Well now, I just mostly want to partake. To breathe. To be here, now. To know what now is. To see reality and live in the realness of what reality is. To make food for sick neighbors, to apply for jobs that place me back in society. And to live here, freely, within and without fear.