Ode to a surreal day

Every day in this town has been strange and dark and wonderful.

I couldn’t believe this one in particular, the way that one person reached out to me after years. I didn’t understand why.

We weren’t just “close” once—we were in love goddammit. Or at least I was. We lived together for a year.

Don’t you remember that?

I can’t believe that you offered me a boat ride,

I couldn’t believe how angry you were, how I saw that side of you when you didn’t know I was there, how I felt compelled to leave during your date because even if I was there, I may have been invited in and that is not something I want anymore.

I can’t listen to it and I don’t want to be around it because it’s so far from me right now. It would have been so natural a while ago, and now it’s so foreign.

I can’t anymore, with you, a person that I felt so safe with once.

That scares me—not that you were angry, but that that part of me is missing.

I can’t believe that more than one of my free-floating wandering souls are in town at the same time as me, that I may actually get to see you both in the space of the same short time span.

I’m one of you now.

I can’t believe that I saw you tonight, that you braved the traffic to pick me up and treated me to all of that beautiful dinner. And I forgot to take the selfie…I never really initiate that. I want it so much, but I’m so shy at the same time. But it meant a ton, spending time together this night.

I can’t believe how much my throat hurts and my eyelids are heavy and I want to run away from my escape already but not for good…just a few days. Just a few days to recuperate but then there might not be any more days left at all so I’m torn between now and never.

I can’t believe how damn tired I am, how the writing doesn’t come and I fly and I train and I walk and I dream and I rest and don’t push myself but still feel so so so drained.

How will I ever shake it to find my focus again?

Squeezing out Crap & Letting in the Good.

sidewalk in the sun july 2014

I feel it happening, little by little, as each slightly embarrassing bead of sweat that leaks out of my skin and hits the yoga mat.

I’ve been doing hot yoga for two weeks now and sometimes when one of those little suckers hits the mat I still instinctively think…ew. But I already don’t think it as often as when I first started. I am trying to think of each little teeny plopping sound that is made as a marker of progress…like I’m letting go of little bit of of myself that I don’t need anymore.

Little salty tear-like drops of myself, just coming out.

Our bodies are strange and unpretty things.

With every little push then it just falls away. But the pushing part is work. It’s good work, but not always comfy.

That that is part of the growth process, after all. That it is why we are all in that steamy stinky intense room together.

Those little sweat droplets are the pathway into the new life that I am building. Middle-aged. Single. Insular. Footloose. Unsure.

Free free free.

Maybe too free.

You could call this a kind of detoxing—but that implies that it’s possible to get it all out in one go. It doesn’t come out in one go. It’s much more complicated than that. It takes time to actually transform.

Even to “lose” one pound (change our body) takes time.

Squeezing my body (fat) into pretzel-ish formations. Looking at it in the mirror. Not being happy about what I see, but doing the thing anyway. Trying anyway. Knowing that after each class I can feel it getting there. Such small steps.

Drip…drip…drip. 

The scariest thing about changing your body is that to do it for good you have to step away from the habits that are so deeply engrained. Sometimes that means friendships, family, other things that make you happy.

With every little bit of trying, with every little push into dropping that sweat, it gets easier. What gets easier is not the yoga, but the understanding that the loving (ourselves, another) is in the doing, not the seeing.

It is not easy to know when that is not what you’ve really known for the past 36 or so years. I’ve figured a bit of that out, but mostly what I know, deep down, is not that. It’s not engrained in my psyche that doing something active daily (and leaving out a ton of other stuff) is what will keep me the most solid and genuinely joyful in the long run. We are taught that an 8 hour work day is the priority and then if we’re lucky/determined we get an hour on a treadmill every other day and that that’s enough.

Except this is absolutely not enough!

And that makes me mad. Nothing to do with my particular upbringing, but with how deeply we are generally conditioned to just do what we are “supposed” to do—which generally does not leave much room for deeply caring for ourselves or our space or our planet.

How are we living like this? 

So this is sort of a metaphor of all that most of us have to spend time unlearning in order to find the spaces where the real joy comes through. Exercise is just a facet of this, an example of the kind of thing that most of us just aren’t offered or taught or brought up with.

So with this as an example, what I didn’t quite know before is that the belief in self—in change—comes with the action of grounding down, of something that feels like pain but is actually just feeling.

There are so many bits and pieces to unlearn and let go of, each facet of life affecting the next. Each piece of crap that’s let go of affects the others. We have ourselves so deeply convinced that a specific thing is “good” that we don’t even know that it’s crap. Or maybe we know that it’s crap but we don’t understand how that one thing deeply affects the rest of our lives and the lives of others.

For instance: insisting on buying the cheap soap at Wal Mart because it’s on sale. It’s just one thing but over and over again it’s so much more.  Or not keeping an extra bag in your purse. It’s just one thing but it’s a habit that in the grand scheme of things is about so much more.

It’s freaking hard to unlearn the crap.

But it’s the only way we can let in the good.

For  me, a part of this was was releasing my hold on most of my possessions about seven months ago with the long term intention of not having much stuff. But with an influx of money and time that came with moving to a new city, that meant more money and time to buy stuff.

And holy crap is it amazing when I invest in something quality that I know I’ll use regularly for years to come.

But there is still lots of crap to be sorted through and dropped off.

So this is a lifelong thing, this getting lighter. But I’m doing it. It’s not a smooth road. I fell off the path a couple of times but I’m back (still) on it.

I know that the people that do and have and will love(d) me for real don’t care about the new creases on my face or the growing patches of cellulite on my body. Maybe I can change those too sometime. Maybe not.

That’s not really important in the long run but it’s a part of a bigger picture that is scary: aging.

Change is scary. I’ve read and felt that a thousand times in small ways. But actually figuring out what the crap is that you have to drop and admitting that it’s crap is the scary part.

With every real thing dropped I’m lighter and freer to actually live right, to do this life thing in the best way I possibly can.

That’s where I’m at.

Onwards.

Daily prompt: outside of the comfort zone

Today’s Daily Prompt: Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

Since two major themes in my life of late have been boldness and practising radical (self-) honesty, I mostly am thinking about the third part of this statement.

The image below sums it up nicely (I originally saw this on an episode of Girls and thought it was brilliant.)

Image

Most of the time when I step outside of my comfort zone, magic does happen….or at least, whatever happens is a valuable experience, even if it ends up seeming less-than-magical.

I think the things that matter are actually the small day-to-day things, or, things that might not seem like a big deal to most.  I’m an introvert, so sometimes just starting or continuing a conversation with a stranger is a big deal for me.  Or sometimes when I have a particularly bold moment in front of friends (friends who know me as quiet), I think it surprises them.  Or having a really chatty day at work, and find something new out about someone.  Or telling someone that I like them and facing the fear of rejection.  Or going out alone.

Some more specific things:

  • When I was 20 I travelled to Europe by myself.  It was supposed to be some spiritual- independent-woman-journey.  I remember almost everyone I told looking a bit shocked, or saying something about me going alone.  Seeing that shock value on  people’s faces was half the fun: how will little quiet nice Renee manage on such a trip?  I think I wanted them to know that I am brave and independent   Really mostly what I did was drink and goof around, but hey, you could say it was a spiritual journey of sorts.
  • During a personal training session in the fall, I started to actually view myself as an exercise-type, a fitness person, which is completely the opposite of how I’ve always thought of myself.  It was strange and awesome (I wrote more about that here).
  • When my old boss was ending his Chairship (chairdom? lol), I rewrote the words to Space Oddity and we did a few silly songs for him at a party at work.  It was the first time I ever really sang on stage.  I am pretty sure we sounded mediocre at best, but in the end it was fun, and my boss really appreciated the work and creativity!  

You don’t have to jump out of a plane to challenge yourself or step outside of your normal zone.  Sometimes all it takes is a small change: a different dialogue, a directional shift, a fresh face, a new view.

How have you been bold lately?