I used to do most things because I thought I should and feared some outside consequence if I didn’t (or did) — gymnastics, school, first jobs out of college, my initial attempts at marriage and motherhood. The outside consequence included what others might think of me, depending on what I did or said. I heard “worker harder” and “just do it,” so I tried to work harder and just do everything.
To do what I thought was right and that I should — I pushed. And I moved forward, for a while, until I didn’t.
Now in a ditch — tired, depressed, a hot mess — I was unsure which way to go. Pushing because I should was what I knew best.
As I began to read up on some personal development stuff and pondered what I might like to do (and while scary to consider what I might like rather than what I thought I should do, it somehow felt better), I began trying again doing some different stuff, some stuff that I was finding kind of fun — chef work, health coaching-related efforts, writing. And in the midst I came across messages about procrastination and resistance, working through the grind, and putting the effort in. I took this to meant that pushing was still required to do what I thought I wanted to do and move forward to make progress when I wasn’t feeling it. So, I pushed.
It was kind of a surprise to find myself petering out still. I mean, come on — I was doing more of what I was finding I liked to do. I’d read that resistance would come up and I just needed to push through it. And yet somehow I couldn’t push anymore; I couldn’t bring myself to get up and get going and keep moving forward towards the so important progress. Nope, my pusher mechanism seemed to have broken.
The feelings I’d been holding at bay all throughout, that I’d starting letting in a little more though still kept mostly back by pushing and doing — they started to seep through the cracks at an alarming speed. And I couldn’t push them away anymore.
Resting was helpful, so I began to take more naps, though I couldn’t quite rest enough to shed the malaise and fatigue. Even the old standby of eating wasn’t helping. In the moment, yes — it would take the edge off and perk me up, but then the insidious feelings would reappear quickly through the fog, lapping at my ankles and scaring the shit out of me. Was I going down again? What to do now?
Yet, somehow the murky water beckoned. It was odd. I could almost hear it whisper: You can keep running, doing, trying to push — eventually the place you’ll have to go is the depths. And really go there and bathe. Not like when you crashed before. That was a different drowning — you fought going down and thus were dragged elsewhere. This time, let go of the fight and let yourself be immersed. Let go and feel it sweep over and through you.
I didn’t want to, but without my pusher intact, it was much harder to fight. And so I reluctantly let the water in. Sometimes I still fought, though I could tell fighting was more and more futile. Something was on the other side of the depths. And I wouldn’t know what it was until I went in and through. That was the way.
Today’s photo is courtesy of my son. He has two loose teeth, loves trains and trucks, and sometimes will make off with my phone to take videos and photos.