I am having problems with structure. Being full-time on the road has been a huge shift from stationary living. I would not change it or go back, but I am learning that creating structure out of no structure at all is harder than anticipated. We have talked about creating a schedule where, on certain days of the week, we exercise or write or record for a podcast. And then other days, we do outings with the kids. This feels ambitious…
I have not been alone for over a week now (other than the occasional time in the loo). I am starting to feel it. I am finally sitting down to write something new in about that same amount of time. Another issue that may be more specific to an introvert is that I do not like big cities and that is where we have been for the last two and a half weeks. Sunny San Diego is great if you like endless Urbania, but I am long past my love affair with the city. Right now, as I write, there is a loud hum from the highway behind our park. It is everywhere.
Also, when I am in a city, I eat like crap. One of my favorite pastimes is eating all the awesome vegan food I can find, and San Diego is a mecca for this plant-based eater from no man’s land. Back at home in Saint Augustine there are only a handful of places we can go. Out here, it is everywhere. I switched to a mostly whole-foods diet over a year ago for health reasons, and those reasons have been flying out of the window at break-neck speed lately. Vegan chicken wings, heck yes! Double cheeze burger, Oh yeah!! Nachos…fo sho! It is getting out of hand. I talk a lot about addiction here, and about my own interpretation on the inner and outer landscapes that have shaped my habits. And some of you know that I had a recent falling-out with my mother, again…I have been in a low-grade funk for a few weeks while reeling from this recent upending of my relationship with the woman who birthed me. She has once again, rejected me and I know I am not dealing with it perfectly. I have written in the past about how food, family, tradition, and love are often synonymous for some family cultures, and mine is no exception. Right now, I am using food to unleash my inner rebel. There is a part of me that clings to the comfort of junk food. It is a middle finger to my own healing journey. It is the part of me that thrives on anarchy and destruction. The part of me that likes the pain a little too much.
Sometimes if I think about my family, I can only see all the ways we are different. Letting go of going out to a restaurant to eat leaves me wondering what on earth we would do together. Also, this need to entertain or perform for my family by making myself and my family available to them is an area that I need to do some work on.
It goes back to my resentments. Yesterday I heard a man share about trying to find the perfect present for his granddaughter and I got that tight feeling in my jaw. The fear. The fear of my kids growing up without grandparents in their lives. The fear that when they are old enough to understand that their grandparents could not (or would not) be a part of their lives, will they suffer? Will they think they did something wrong? Will I wonder if I should have done more to promote the relationships? Will my pain affect them negatively? I am actively trying to grow and let go of the pain and the past so that I can love and be present for them now. Letting go of the pain has involved letting go of the responsibility to carry the relationships. For now, I am not calling, texting, or making plans that are forced. If it feels right, I will go, but I am not going to keep censoring who I am in order to alleviate the discomfort of others. I am working on accepting myself, just as I am, and only inviting those into my inner circle who accept me without advice, criticism, or disappointment. I understand no one is perfect and people, will fall short of the ideal, but on the regular, they will need to be pretty consistent in the happy, joyous, and free categories.
I can turn my anger into gratitude today. I can see that the trauma I endured, made me the person I am. I can see that it was all pushing me to destruct or grow. It is still pushing me toward these ends. Right now, the struggle is food, but sometimes it is depression, judgment, and anger, overwhelm, confusion, and procrastination. It often looks like people-pleasing which for me historically involves latching on to whatever emotion the negative person around me is in and frantically trying to fix or avoid said feeling for them. I will clean and try to organize the environment in an effort to control some aspect of the situation, and then I will begin to feel angry or drained and the cycle repeats. Sticking a wedge into this codependent carousel is much easier said than done. But there are things that I can do. I can take time outside when one of the other members of the household is looking to leach some of their negativity. I can say, “I am sorry you are feeling _____, I am going to take some time apart so you can deal.” I can call my sponsor or a trusted friend to talk out my new decisions. I can pop in my headphones and listen to a spiritual talk or uplifting music. I can start teaching people, I am not a free therapist, but I will gladly be a sounding board for constructive growth. Some day I hope my aura/energy/mental health (whatever you want to call it) will be fortified enough to withstand any assault. I will be able to sit through the barrage of noise from others and be still within myself. That is my hope and my goal, but at this juncture on the journey I still have to retreat and do some work. My nerves are still just a little raw and that is okay. I hope whatever point in the journey you are on, you are working toward finding your center again. That when you fall short of your ideal you give yourself a hug and know that it is okay to feel all the feelings and you are proud of yourself for staying true to yourself. I hope you find that sacred peace within when you take care of your spirit whether through time alone, time in nature, time in mindful awareness or whatever practice you keep. I myself am drinking my celery juice, about to go on a run solo, then take a warm bath with essential oils and then going to play with my kids. I will not eat vegan junk food today, and I will give myself grace for craving it. I will ask for help if I need it and thank the Universe for one more trip around the beautiful sun. Progress, not perfection. We are not saints. Live and Let Live. Easy Does It. Some of my favorite recovery sayings and also my mantras for today. Amen