I posted to Facebook today. I hadn't done that in weeks. I was bubbly and seemingly-confident. I posted because I'm trying to fill a retreat. I went for bubbly and seemingly-confident because people don't want to attend retreats with a facilitator who can't understand why their children love them so much, do they?
They want spunk. They want shiny. They want real, but not too real. Right?
I don't know how to play this game.
Finding the right mix of real and vulnerable and you've-got-this! and but-above-all-be-humble?
It's fucking exhausting. I don't know how to do it. I don't know what you want.
I have this friend who's an addict, too. She's been sober for a year longer than me and fuck if she doesn't read me - my face, my body language, how I eat motherfucking French fries - with an astonishingly clear sense of what it all means. She knows that silent French fry eating followed by stealthily handing the plate to the dish guys is a sure sign that something's up.
And she knows that if, like tonight, I sit at the bar drowning my still-present-silence into bite after bite of Lemon Trifle Dessert Thing, that she needs to hold eye contact with me for a second too long to make sure I'm good.
I am not good.
I mean, I'm good, you know, in the sense that I'm not in danger of drinking or smoking a cigarette or orphaning my children.
But I do not feel good. Not at all.
And yet here's the thing: I know I need to fucking feel this way. It's the trying-to-avoid-the-really-nasty-feeling-feelings that's made me circle back to this place over and over again.
I used to drink when these feelings of worthlessness and can't-I-just-become-a-hermit? popped up. I'd do some shots, go to sleep, wake up feeling like a piece of shit for not having any self control, and then avoid thinking about any of it until 4:00p, the magical hour when I'd start the cycle of you don't have a problem/avoid feeling feelings!/alcoholics only drink in the morning OH MY GOD STOP THE VOICE IN MY HEAD.
Then I got sober.
But enough with the fucking backstory. Those of you who've been around here for more than a year have heard it an embarrassing number of times. I need to stop mining my past for answers to my current questions.
The present looks like this: I can't thrive in the society we live in. Facebook fucks me up. Instant access to everything via my phone fucks me up. Being able to text someone by talking into a tiny microphone fucks me up. Living in my sheltered world of whiteness fucks me up. Thinking and believing that I deserve to have everything show up in my life tied up pretty with a fucking hot pink bow?
All of this shit - I don't thrive in these conditions.
And yet rarely do I stop and remind myself that I can fucking choose to get off the hamster wheel.
I think because these things are there - technology, blind privilege, the expectation of an unearned state of pleasant perfection - that I must consume them. I think that if I don't, I won't exist.
Are people even living real lives that matter if they're not talking about it online? That's a serious fucking question. Do we matter to anyone if they can't connect with us through clicks?
How in God's name did we get here.
The fact that I know what I'm here on this tiny little speck of a planet to talk about is maddening to me when I feel like this.
I'm here to talk about feelings, about emotion, about how essential it is to the survival of our civilization that we start to actually feel our feelings - not just the easily consumed ones - and, more importantly, how we hold space for others to do the same while in our presence.
I've read enough to know that the things this voice in my head is telling me - that I have nothing to offer, that I'm a pathetic attention whore, that I don't deserve to have close female friends, that I am unequivocally ruining my children's souls - are bullshit. I know that's just my mind, getting all uppity. I know that's not Me. I know that Me is, instead, something Universal and untouchable and fucking holy and golden and light-filled.
I KNOW THAT.
I know that like I know that gravity exists and that the flowers will come back once the snow melts.
I know it.
But I can not yet sustain feeling it for more than seconds at a time. When those seconds open themselves to me I can hardly believe how beautiful they are. The light around me amplifies. My mind gets quiet. As I realize it's happening it's almost over; I grieve its loss before it's fully gone.
I want those moments. I crave them. Often, they come while I'm washing the dishes.
You can find me here.
You can find me here and in my town and at my favorite coffee spots.
You can drive into my driveway and park your car and read your book on my porch.
We don't have to talk.
Only if we want to.
I"m gonna learn a new game.