Updated: Jul 8, 2022
There are days that I wake up sad. Or it sinks in unexpectedly, out of nowhere, for reasons unknown. Everything weighted and bleak, all is far away.
In these in-between times, murky suspensions in which I’m waiting for my life to start, I question all of it.
Regret looms large and I can’t, for the life of me, pluck out even a single nugget of proof that I’ve grown, made progress . . . that I’m where I’m supposed to be and life is good.
I’m so behind. It’s never going to happen for me. I need to be more productive. I should be fitter by now. I should be successful by now. I can’t even stick to a morning routine! I’m never going to heal. I’ll always be sick. I’m tarnished. No one would wanna see this body naked. Why can’t I just . . .
I worried that I was too dysfunctional to handle the extraordinary success I’d always envisioned for my life, my writing. Too sensitive to handle inevitable criticism once my work went viral. Suspicious that it ever would, questioning my own belief that it would have global appeal, be popular, widely enjoyed and celebrated.
No one’s going to care about my undies being too tight. Who would stick around to read more about my inability to handle loud noises?
And then there was the insurmountable obstacle of “showing up.”
What did that even mean, anyway?!
Getting out of bed? Producing hoards of content to barely be seen on social media? Editing a book I was terrified to get a deal for because that would mean my tiny, hideout of a life would be blasted wide open?
I had to chuck the blanket mantras and make my own:
I am a truthteller that fearlessly speaks my heart.
My best did not seem nearly good enough to meet any societal standard.
Sure, I bathed regularly and had a knack for bohemian homemaking. My cat never went hungry (gawd knows I didn’t either). I’d written a book. I’d written quite a few things. And written. And written some more. I’d learned how to heal, to cook healthy food (although I didn’t always do it). I tended my yard and garden. And through all the years of being broke and trying to make it, I gave. My time and energies to friends and loved ones, spare change and cash to people on the streets. I composted, recycled and donated. I made the effort to minimize waste. I had some really good friends, a gang of angels by my side, deep connection with the universe.
When I laid in bed at night and talked to God, I could feel them there, on the other side of the veil, no separation — listening, feeling and knowing everything I did.
But I was still sad. Doubted everything. Felt incapable, a scared child terrified of being called on in class. No matter how many people had told me I was a good writer, I never felt smart enough, acutely and painfully aware of the level at which my brilliance capped, where it fell in relation to others. To me, it was almost always below, and I feared a life of never quite making it there.
These in-between times were the real and raw reality of living life within one’s skin. The unavoidable contradiction to the truth of who we are. They were sticky and zapping, sucky to weather time and time again. Maddening by all counts.
Necessary to the journey. Important in ways I might never understand or fully value. Sometimes I had peek-a-boo moments of ecstatic Joy that made the pervasive not-enoughness seem absolutely ludicrous and just, silly. A dose of perspective that illuminated endless possibility, the limitless, everchanging nature of all there is.
But then it was time to do laundry and the credit card bills kept growing. I found a new stretch mark or felt tired two hours after waking up. Nothing seemed fun. I didn’t want to do any of it. I was plunked right back into getting by and trying to make it.
The only peace I’d found in these in-between times, was the fact that they wouldn’t last forever, and they would come around again. They were fleeting, yet steadfast, one of life’s certainties. Not to be escaped or eagerly awaited, popping up from dense cavities of the soul in unexpected moments, building up the sadness to then be stripped away for Joy to rise.