Mindfulness amidst the Storm.

I suspect my computer is slowly dying. It has these weird spasms in the form of a glitchy white line across the top of the screen. Great. Just fucking great, I think to myself. A part of me believes that it’s all coming to a head. Job’s drying up; lease ends in February (which means I have to inform my landlord of my decision to renew or get the fuck outta there); I’ve been grinding my teeth mercilessly in my sleep (and even with the support of a splint, my teeth are starting to wear) … and now my fucking computer could be dying.

Just. Fucking. Great. What does a wiser soul do in these situations? Someone tell me. Please. Because every fiber of my being wants me to panic. Let loose, cut sick and go nuts – give up on recovery and pack up shop here in Melbourne and travel again. But not in some romantic, Jack Kerouac adventurist kind of way. More like a compulsive escape from reality and escape from adult responsibility kinda way. You know, put my life and the pursuit of meaningful work on hold? Go in to fantasy? Be anonymous and do anonymous things with anonymous people? Yeah… It feels relaxing just thinking about it. Be a vagabond just to forget the pain of my apparent transience.

But I know I can’t do that. I know that the best thing for me right now is to just…. Fucking sit with it. I say it with a sigh as I write it, and the word shit escapes my mouth. Fuck, too. Back stooped and irritated with this uncomfortable life juncture, I feel pissed awf. Because sitting with uncertainty is hard, don’t you know? And nobody ever fucking taught me to sit with feelings.

Feel-scared-get-yelled-at. Feel-angry-get-smacked. Feel-sad-what-are-you-crying-for. I’d say I got an ‘F’ in Emotional Literacy 101 when I was a wee lad, but that would imply that my parents actually enrolled me in the fucking class, which they didn’t. My father would have denied the relevance of learning about feelings with the same fervor as some dopey deep-South parent who refuses to let their goofy kid attend classes on the Theory of Evolution.

So now adrenaline pumps in to my stomach at the prospect of having to work another crappy job and live in another shitty share house as I lie in bed. My brain is scattered, but I can make out the message it’s sending to my body clearly: “Fucking run, you fool!”

But instead I just lie here. I try to focus on where I am and how I am experiencing this message in my body. Actually, my neck’s kinda tight. My stomach is in knots, which probably has something to do with the fact that I’m tensing it, huh? I consciously un-tense, and the pain of uncertainty slowly starts to fill the space instead. My back hurts. And my jaw feels locked. I oscillate between allowing myself to feel the physical discomfort of insecurity, and tightening. Meanwhile, my faithful fantasy-riddled mind schemes ways to avoid, avoid, avoid, damn you!

Instead, I notice the creamy white walls of my bedroom and the cracks in the ceiling. My wardrobe door is open, so I explore the contours and contrasts of black shadows and yellowy-white wooden doors that house the clothing of a 20-something drifter with a penchant for collecting books and not reading them in their entirety. I tell myself loving sweet nothings, tell myself it will be OK, no matter what happens.

And this is a hard act to swallow when you’re in a state of panic and when you believe, truly, that nothing is OK and that things might turn out like “last time” – some vague mish mash period of time half-remembered and half dreamed up, and that’s not been properly integrated in to my story of myself. Hard as it is, though, my current act is a more tiring one to maintain: running and avoiding and denying my feelings and myself. I’m done with that. So today I say “Fuck you, Fear!” and I make the decision to do nothing. In bed, between the rock and the hard place, I find that this takes up most of my energy, and for today I’m cool with that.

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