Saturday, February 1, 2014

Progress that doesn't feel like progress

A lot of negative, negative, negative pulsing through me this week, and it's decided to carry it's way into my weekend.

I will say, before I continue, that I did just watch this, which helped wrestle me from my stewing pot of Ick:

FEEL GOOD times 10, am I right?? (Also, go Seahawks)

This trending negativity came back to hang out with me last night after a nearly-2 hour conversation with my friend Michelle (who I love so much I can't even tell you), and it was back when I woke up today.

Michelle, my phone date from last night, is wise beyond her years. Last night we were talking, and I was telling her that I feel guilty/behind/pathetic/etc. for not writing enough/ever/for a big enough audience. I told her that I came home from work on a Friday and managed to write something - something fiction, something I have no idea what to do with, but something - and I expressed my frustration of feeling like others in the writing rat race are getting ahead of me. I try to correct my thinking every day to adhere to my belief that I am not in charge of my life's timeline, but even so I of course fall victim to my own negativity and failure-fueled thoughts over and over.

As I was telling Michelle about my sort-of-pride for doing some writing on a Friday night but mostly my annoyance with still feeling like it doesn't matter, Michelle said something. To which I said, "I'm writing that down," and I did:

"It's not a failure. It's just a slow success that's not here yet," she said.

She's 23. People aren't supposed to get that kind of wisdom until 75.*

*I actually don't believe that. I see wisdom in people of all ages all the time. So lucky to call many of those people Friend.

Michelle continually astounds me in her ability to really take care of me, though I am five crotchety years her senior. I don't quickly take my tears to my non-family friends, but I hesitate not at all to take them to Michelle. Hours we spend on the phone, thousands of miles between us, and she brings healing and comfort into my life. She cheers me on and acknowledges my feelings as real, valid, and fair.

After I got off the phone with my Shelbot, I cracked open yet another book (someone stop me, please. I have no self control. I crack open books the way a rich celebrity could rifle through $1,000 items of clothing, one after another). This book is fourth in a series I started reading last year, by author Jan Karon. On the dedication page of "Out to Canaan," a verse from Joel is listed.

"I will restore unto you the days the locusts have eaten..." - Joel 2:25

I thought, "Wow. I've never seen that."

I am a horrible Bible reader, in that I rarely do it, I don't understand most of it, and I zone out as I attempt to read it. But in the same breath I find it to be the most hauntingly poetic thing I've ever read. I usually find the poetry in snippets ("O Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are but a small Judean village, yet you will be the birthplace of my King who is alive from everlasting ages past!" - Micah 5:2), which makes sense as I will probably never be one to view things in "the big picture." I would say I believe - or try to believe, or hope to believe - in the big picture message of the Bible, but I find that I am most rocked, most soothed, and most carried forward by the small pieces here and there that don't necessarily make full sense to me. They just stir my guts, make my eyes and cheeks moist, and convince me of their deep, ancient truth in that way.

I read the verse from Joel last night, and though I tossed and turned as I later lay in the dark, as I saw that passage about the locusts I was whacked aside the heart once again and re-awoken.

All these sh*tty days, of no writing, or crap writing, of thinking I am too busy, not busy enough, directionless, head constantly churning - I'm gonna get those days back! The days the locusts have eaten! I'm not focused on cashing in on those days, like some tickets spewing out of an arcade game that I can someday go and use as I wish, writing perfectly and wonderfully - on the porch of a cabin in sight of a river, with a sexy man who will bring me bon-bons as I grow faint from writing flourishing sentences that will inspire the masses... But I'm taking comfort in that those bad days, though they will happen, though I will continue to wrestle with just who I am and what I am offering to people, the point is the locusts aren't winning. The negativity won't win.

I guess what I'm saying is that the locusts have eaten my days, and they will eat more of them, but they don't get to feast on all of them. There is still grass left (though I don't see much of it here, literally, in Los Angeles. We're more of a dust and sand region).

I don't view every past action of mine as progress. There are plenty of them I can hardly think about; I rush past them when my memory tries to surface them; I'm terrified to talk to anyone about them. I got a deep tissue massage on my injured foot this week and thought, "I'd rather endure this than talk about certain things with a therapist."

But my past is past. It will be repeated, much of it. I will have racing thoughts, I will be anxious, I will get lonely on the weekends, I will feel sorry for myself, I will not give enough love to my friends when they sometimes need it.

All I can do is move forward, trusting that the locust days will be restored to me.

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