What the hell, man? This absolutely is hard here. That moment when you sit down to write and you’re like, what the fuck shall I write about?
It’s completely crazy to me that most days I have these waves of random inspirations. I think about a whole topic I want to indulge in, and how I will use this or that metaphor to bring home the point, envisioning how I see the tone, humor and flow of the piece I want to write out… And it’s amazing. In my head, that is. And then when I take time to sit and actually attempt to recall those moments of great inspiration, or review my notes I made while in one of those moments of inspiration, I fall flat, empty, and grasping at the air to pull cohesive words together on a page. But I am all in today. I am committing to writing consistently at least 250 words a day for a while – regardless of whether they are life-altering or just some random attempts of shit thoughts strung together in hopes of cohesion. Rock on, Anyway, right?
What happens to us in those moments? It often irks me. I see myself as someone completely different than I actually am if I am honest. For example… I see myself writing for hours on end on a Saturday morning. I see myself next to a wonderful artistic little lamp, with a perfectly piping hot cup of coffee (fuck tea) with it’s steam rising while I am seated at my gorgeous mahogany wooden desk (that I don’t own yet) in a study (that I don’t actually have) surrounded by books I have read or am reading, and artworks I’ve painted (that I actually like because I FINALLY have captured the perfect essence of what I was trying to convey – yeah, that hasn’t happened yet either), while I am engrossed in my words and thought processes, writing in this beautiful flow. I see myself writing blog post after blog post (12 in a day!) – and writing that book. Ohh, that god damned book that I want to write (that I don’t know what it will be about yet) – I see myself actually starting it, toiling and pining over it, wrestling with the words and crafting them, re-organizing them on the pages of my laptop… and doing the actual thing… Oh, the glory! But instead, I remain on my bed, halfway under the covers at 2pm, disheveled, barely with enough energy to have my laptop in hand, not showered, and wondering… Fuck? What shall I write about?
Now, Let’s take my health as our next example…
Oh, I can see it all so clearly in my mind… I can see myself going on that 5 mile run and lifting those heavy weights, putting in hard work of transforming my body into this gorgeous she-beast, day after day. I imagine I am finally able to see those toned, petite, sexy abs that lie underneath the current blanket of flub on my tummy. I can envision the layers of muscles in my upper thighs finally on full display, longing to be admired, for all the world to see (or maybe just my guy). I can see the perfect contour of my abs leading to my pelvic bones and my refreshed, strong arms showing off my favorite tattoo… Oh, the grandiose thoughts, like, “Finally, my mind will match my body!” (as I actually sit on the couch ordering healthy Amazon Fresh items (fuck the grocery store) with full intention of eating healthy and being my “best self” – Only to throw the rotten food stuffs in the garbage 2 weeks later.) I literally imagine turning certain foods away when offered at work or at outings (with an unflattering degree of pride and focus on my exciting new body mission). I can picture the healthy meals I’ll eat and experience the actual true cravings of those healthy food choices…
Oh, wait, there’s more…
I imagine friends and family looking at me, going, “My god, what are you doing? You look amazing!!” (that’s the one we definitely all want to hear) and proceeding to ask me for the secret that I uncovered for my transformation (as if I fucking did anything other than just getting in there and doing the work). And my personal favorite fantasy? I imagine my guy totally enamored with my upgraded body. The hottest sex and bedroom fun we’ve ever had in our lives… He’s unable to keep his hands off me and now has a complete loss of temptation for any other woman (because that really happens)… I imagine his hints of jealousy when I start wearing my cute clothes again and he notices just how many other men are looking (well, might actually happen). And the best? The fantasy of him actually experiencing fear of losing me because now, finally, he sees it. He actually realizes what he has in mind, body and heart in his girl (a girl could hope, right?)… Oh, the glory…
And I keep this all on repeat… Well, I have for the last year or so, anyway.
But, I have been there – at least I’ve been close to that gorgeous she-beast (not so much the writing yet). And perhaps that is why my mind does flit to those places of who I think I am versus who I am actually being in the moment. Societal Wisdom (Ha! That’s a fucking oxymoron) would tell me that I am doing all the things right. I am thinking positively, and creating a vision in my head and meditating on that vision of who I want to be and it’s only a matter of time. But the problem is, that’s not working. It hasn’t been for the last year plus. So, what gives?
Well, I certainly don’t purport to have the answers, that’s for fucking sure. But I do know that I speak a lot on permission to be where you’re at, when you’re there. And with that, I have to take into consideration the many other variables at play here. I am fat. Well, not crazy fat, but definitely fatter than I should be. And why am I fat? Well, the short and skinny of it (pun intended) is that I am not eating well and working my fat ass out like I know I really do love to do. Ok, so why am I not? And that is where it all gets interesting.
My sister is a personal trainer. She’s beautiful and so health focused, sometimes it makes me a little angry (that’s my own issue). However, she also has gone through a tough two years recently, and she packed on some definite unwanted pounds as a result. She’s already back to shedding them, but sadly, in a way, it was so validating for me to witness this. I think that is why many of us secretly LOVE it when someone who was so perfect looking, starts to get fat. It’s like, finally… they too aren’t perfect. They too are human. They are like us, prone to fall. And while it’s awful that we take comfort in this, it’s also is a great thing too, in my opinion. Not that I condone thinking ill of others, I absolutely do not. But what it does, is reminds me, it’s okay, Ash. You are ok. You’re dealing with some hard shit and it’s knocked you off your game. And you’re allowed to be here. You’re allowed to be fat right now. You’re allowed to have a season where you just can’t get your shit together and need to take time to figure it out. Because we all go through this. Even the greats are allowed hard seasons. This helps me have great compassion for others (such as my sister) when she was going through her hard phase. It doesn’t make me rejoice in her state at all, but rather go, huh, yeah, we all are gonna go through those times when it is just hard all around.
Do I want to stay this way? Of course not. Hell to the mother-fucking no. This isn’t a post about loving your body the way it is… I don’t know a soul in the world who really enjoys being fat. And those that say they do, I call bullshit (now, let me make a distinction that there are some beautiful heavier people out there, like powerlifters, that are strong and healthy and have extra weight – you’re not who I am referring to at all. I’m talking to the unhealthy, not strong, fat peeps like me – holla!). Because being fat doesn’t feel good. Not only are you at the social judgement of literally everyone you meet (especially if you’ve been in great shape before), but you also feel tired. You don’t sleep as well. You get tired way too fast during sex. Your vagina isn’t as tight (Just me? Maybe just me – I definitely notice a difference, but I never claimed this to be a scientifically grounded theory). You don’t want to do physical activities, get in a bathing suit or even hang out with your gorgeous friends (God, even Carol makes you feel a little insecure). You don’t like shopping for this body you’re ashamed of, and you just don’t feel like you. You actually feel down a lot of the time. So why do we get here? What is going on?
Well for me personally, I have come to learn recently that my personal mental state directly correlates to my physical state. My job is currently pressure that I am not enjoying right now. It’s very challenging emotionally and mentally and I am not feeling like I fit in. It takes quite a bit most days to get up and focus the energy I know I need to focus on it. And while I do it, I feel like I lose a little of myself every day because, well, bills. And this is so very depressing to me. Every day seems like a race to get back to bed. My soul is in deep conflict. I want to write, paint, create and have more freedom. I want to have a different life. And so, my mental conversations about where I should be and where I am at, are not kind. My heart is seeking something more, and I can’t quite figure out what it’s trying to get me to do next, and even still, I wrestle with the fact that I can’t have it now anyway (damn the microwave generation). So, I feel lost. I feel sad. I feel insignificant many days. But I keep asking “why, what and how” of myself even when it feels like it’s a constant loop of non-answers. I am struggling to keep up and struggling to get back to myself. The self that feels joy, confidence and significance. But, sometimes, we just get caught in a depressed state, to which I have been for the last year or so… And when we are there, I believe we should allow ourselves to be there, feel it all, and allow ourselves to work through it. All things are impermanent and this too shall pass (unless you think you might suffer from true clinical depression, in which case, please, please, please talk to someone and seek out help and/or assistance whether via prescription drugs or therapy. Seriously.).
So when my head and heart hurt, my body suffers. Right now, I don’t love to work out like I used to. I feel tired, scared and exhausted. I feel like it’s a huge example of failure because I’ve fallen so far from where I was physically just 2 years ago. It’s embarassing, honestly. But this is because I feel ashamed. I feel stupid. I feel gross. And because those are things I feel in other areas of my life (like my job), they are directly affecting this area of my life (like my workouts). So naturally, I want to avoid them. So what is one to do?
I don’t think this is the tried and true answer, but for me, I keep up the hunt. I keep up the search and listen to my heart, process the place I am in, while I seek out the answers. I am allowing myself to feel that shame, sadness, and terrifying fear of being insignificant, and asking myself how I got here, what makes me feel that, and why it is having this impact on me. I try to change the conversation by talking to myself kindly, and giving myself the grace needed to get through the day. And when I sit to write (something I LOVE to do), I don’t allow me to beat myself up (for very long) for not knowing what to write. I change the conversation to kindness and allow myself to feel the fear of being a bad writer with nothing to say, and because it’s something I genuinely love to do, I keep writing. Sure it’s not at my big fancy mahogany desk the way I want it (does it have to be? Is there not beauty in creation in your bed, stinky, and halfway under your covers at 2pm?) And this is what is helping my mind shift to a new place. And it will be the 5 minute run I’ll only be able to do when I get back up and start again with the workouts. I, of course, will have to have discipline to change the torturous conversation there too – it’s okay, Ash. You’re okay. This season just sucks, and it’s cool you’re more out of shape than the silly putty you got in your stocking… You’re okay to be where you’re at.
And day by day, ever so fucking slowly, it starts to alter like watching a plant grow. I know when I let myself sit in my own shit for a long while, letting it fertilize my next season of life, I slowly start to become moved to change, even if it’s the tiniest change today. I start to uncover what I need little by little, and what works for me (again, if only for today). And when I am ready, when I have come to the place in my head when I am personally ready to stop sitting in the shit, not because of the “shoulds” that haunt me, but because of the true, oh so sincere, desire within myself to make a small change today, that’s when the beauty happens. And that’s something to be proud of. That’s something to allow yourself to rejoice in. Not only because you’re now one step closer on your path to becoming who it is you really want to be (with likely a few relapses and shortcomings to encounter on your journey), but also because the next time someone around you struggles, you can have authentic compassion on them and say with absolute sincerity, “You know what? It’s okay. You’re allowed to be here for however long you need. You’re okay.”
So Cheers to the slow, (almost) unbearable change in our lives. Sitting in the Shit is the hardest part, but I think it’s one of best things we can do for ourselves.