A few things have come up for me since I wrote that piece for Kerstin Martin’s Asking for Impossible Things project…
When I say to myself: I don’t know what to do.
What I often mean is: I don’t know what will happen if I do this.
When I say: I’m a nobody.
What I mean is: I’m scared of being seen.
I say: I don’t know what I’m doing.
But I mean: This doesn’t feel easy. (Or good) (Or right)
I say: I hate this.
But I mean: I don’t understand this.
or This isn’t what I expected.
or This isn’t what I wanted.
I say: This is going to be harrrrd.
But I mean: This already feels uncomfortable, and I haven’t even started.
I say: This is impossible.
But I mean: I don’t see a way through.
I say: This is fucking impossible.
But I mean: This is gonna take a long time.
or This is gonna take more time than I have.
or This is gonna take more time than I wanna spend.
or This is going to take a lot of energy.
or …more energy than I have.
or …more energy than I want to spend.
I say: This is so damned fucking impossible – shit! What the hell was I thinking?
But I mean: I need help.
or I need more time.
or I could use some tea.
or I need a hug.
or I need a nap.
or I need another nap.
I say: I can’t do this.
But I mean: I can so totally do this, but I don’t know who I’ll be after it’s done … and I don’t know who I’ll need to become to get it done.
Ya know, I try to be careful with my words, and yet, this is what’s come up for me in the past two months, and especially these past few days.
Those things I say to myself, sometimes on infinite repeat, are both absolute and absolutely unhelpful.
They don’t allow any room for something different to happen, for something to change, and, at least for me, I’m realizing that’s what they’re designed to do.
So, I’m really glad I dropped everything this morning to translate those roadblocks and STOP signs into something meaningful, something I can use, something I can do something about.
I’ve been having the most draining anxiety dreams. The usual: having to take a final exam I haven’t studied for or for a class I haven’t attended, going back to college to finish a project to get my diploma (which I’ve had for 25 years), or simply looking for something I can’t find.
It makes me want to skip sleeping altogether or drink myself dreamless, but those don’t work, and they make things worse.
I wake up semi-fetal around my pillow with clenched fists and every muscle aching from a long night on guard.
On days like today, I wake up and try to meditate or have a Think, and my hands won’t stay still … they grab-grab-grab at the covers, tap-tap-tap my leg, flutter like they’re going to fly away. I can’t unclench my jaw.
I feel crazy.
And the even crazier part is I can’t tell if this is all because of what I’ve done so far or what I’m doing right now or what I intend to do next – perhaps all of the above.
But the craziest part?
The craziest part is I’m going to keep going.
And that’s not because I’m brave, but because, for me, this time, it would be stupid to stop. There’s nothing for me to go back to, and there’s nothing for me here in the middle bit.
Everything worth having is on the other side of this moment … a moment that started, I think, when I got on the plane for Minneapolis back in July.
I made new things and learned new things and saw new things, and I met new people who liked me just as I am, and they still do.
I started something that grew bigger than I intended or expected or imagined and continues to surprise me in every way.
I found that I’m still in here, despite all.
And somewhere in there, I started calling in all the parts of myself I’d thrown away or set aside or hidden or hidden from. Everyone’s been coming home from wherever they’ve been all this time, ready or not.
It’s awful. It’s wonderful.
I feel stranded at times, as if I’m nowhere and don’t know which way to go. I can guess when this moment started, but I have no sense of when or where it’s going to end.
And then last night, these words from an old song came to me…
“I was bruised and battered; I couldn’t tell what I felt. I was unrecognizable to myself…”
They ran through my head a few times, and by a few, I mean 9 or 10, and I sighed long and deep and hard over and over, and I finally felt some relief.
Because Bruce Springsteen. And that dear moment before that heartbreaking movie, with his rough croon and its city visions, which I saw with my first real boyfriend about a million years ago. My cheeks were smeared with tears before the opening credits were even over, and the song has owned me ever since then.
This is only the second time it’s come for me, though.
This is my long and meandering shout-out to anyone who’s feeling lost and stranded in that in-between place, where nothing’s wrong, really, but it doesn’t feel right, either.
Where there’s an alarming amount of work to do, it’s all important, and it’s all worth it.
Where you can’t see how it’s going to turn out, but you’ve come too far to turn back, and there’s no place or time to stop.
It’s pretty uncomfortable, here in the middle bit. At least for me.
If it’s the same for you, I can only offer you what I tell myself:
And when I say: Keep going.
What I mean is—
can do this.
You’re not alone.
This could work.
It will come together.
You’re the best.
You’re not alone.
You’re never alone.
I love you.
I love you.
p.s. If you haven’t yet, do sign up for Kerstin’s Ask project (it’s free, it’s delicious, and it won’t sign you up for anything else) » https://kerstinmartin.com/impossible