this month's collab for Journeys: reflection.
What happens when you feel stale, burned out, or stuck? What feelings does this experience bring up for you? What areas of your life are you most likely to be burned out or stuck - what aspects of your living, do you tend to feel stale in, the soonest?
Ground Down by the Millstone
my days do not hum with satisfaction lately. i feel untethered, battered, vulnerable. there are too many changes going on. the changes are nothing unusual: i am single again, unsure of where my job is going, tentative about friendships and not clear where i am welcomed. i have learned more than anyone should have to about our legal system. things are changing in ways both good and bad for my friends and my family, and i struggle to redefine how we all fit together, or if, in fact, we fit at all. the accumulation of all this presses down on me.
the word i use the most these days is grind. the job is grinding me down. getting thru the days is a grind. even when i'm doing something interesting, the word creeps in. the concerts lately have been grindingly loud and assertive.
i want to feel strong and happy and centered. i try to draw strength, from myself, from my beliefs. i make the conscious choice to set aside my worries and bathe in the warm sun, noticing the blooming trees and the riot of flowers. i set gentle goals for each day, and tell myself that there's no point in beating myself up if i don't meet them. but more and more, i draw inside.
i pull away from everyone. i have made choices that one way or another put me here, alone. even the cats are unwelcome company. they haven't done anything but offer affection, and still it feels wrong.
i procrastinate. i get away with as little as possible. i motor thru my days on autopilot. i sleep. i find endless mindless amusements, and give them priority over the task of living. i kick myself for not meeting the expectations of others, and draw even further inward.
the job of living becomes a heavy burden. the need to buy cat food and toilet paper crushes the breath out of me. it all seems like too much work for one person, alone. i take solace in the simple pleasure of a clean bed, burrowing into the covers deeper and deeper. i ignore the alarm clock. only the pain of my ovaries, beating against my ribcage in loud, violent cramps rouses me from sleep. sleep is, in any event, a fitful exercise at best. my dreams are unwelcome visitors these days.
i feel desperately alone these days. alone is different than lonely. i'm not lonely - there are people that i see and talk to, people who call, people to be with. but in every interaction, i make my choices alone. i long, in a deep wrenching way, for someone to be there who will hold their arms open and catch me as i fall. i am desperate for someone with whom i can share my life. i need someone to balance me. it would be such a gift, such a treasure, to know that i could be there, watching someone's back while they in turn watch mine.
each day, i wonder where i am. i feel as if i'm a child all over again. and i restrain the urge to pack my knapsack and run away from home. i want to pick up, leave, start over again, wipe the slate clean. when i was young, i didn't know that you could walk away from things. the frustrations were huge, immovable objects, facts of life. their inertia made them all the more threatening. we moved when i was in middle school, and it was sort of like starting over. but it felt more like being dumped into another purgatory. the choices weren't mine, the outcome wasn't controllable. when i went off to college, i had chosen to go, where to go. and it was a stunning revelation. i could choose to pick up and go somewhere, and start from scratch. the freedom was a gift and a threat, all bundled together.
and now i struggle. there is value and power in building a network of friends and neighbors. it gives you a place to be from. but when you've been in a place long enough to have people you'd rather avoid, places you don't want to go because the memories are too painful, the urge for flight builds. the tempting promise of a brighter place beckons like a siren. and every day i wonder - will this be the day that i give in? or will it be the day that i marshall the stength to face the life i have created?