Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Being There


I struggle with balance. I can do four out of five things, but keeping all five going, that's tough for me. I suppose I'm not alone. Lately, I've been struggling with food and eating. I can feel things slipping a little because I keep thinking about a new phone that I want to buy, I have trouble getting myself to go to bed (even though I fall asleep almost immediately after lying down), and because I'm not finishing any books or writing many poems. It all adds up to something going on and something for me to look out for.

Knowing that there is a problem is a start, but at times such as this I find that to be small comfort. I would much prefer neon signs with solutions instead of vague notions that something is wrong. Life, at least my life, doesn't work quite like that and it never has. I should probably be adjusted to this by now. Oh well.

The thing about writing my troubles is that they sound so easy to fix when I write them. I can't write the complexity of it, can't write the sound reasoning of the thing. Watch, I'll try:

I am having trouble getting myself out of bed because I wake each morning cold and still tired, but more than that because I find the thought of getting out of the bed to be beyond me. I know that I enjoy life much more when I get up. Lying there, I know that I'm not going to get back to good sleep and that I will be happier getting up. I even know that lying in bed will leave me feeling very unhappy. But I still lie there and don't know what to do about it.

Writing that down, the answer is simple: get up. Doing that is another matter. Maybe, each morning, I should get a pen and write out the reasons for staying in bed. Solutions seem so easy to me in the evening as I get ready for bed. The way forward is obvious and I can commit to it firmly each evening before going to sleep but then I can reject it even more easily the next morning as I lie in bed cursing myself for not getting up.

Some of this sounds like depression and maybe that's what it is. It feels like what some people describe as depression. It also feels to me like a state of being outside myself. When I do these things I'm not me. I don't feel like me. I don't feel as though I'm in the world. I'm just a thing inside my own head.

Honk if you've felt the same way.

I don't have any big commitments to make tonight for tomorrow morning. Instead, I want to remember a time today that I was absolutely present and felt as good as I have all week.

Evelyn, my youngest, was suffering from her temper and the punishment that came with it. She had told her sister that she hated her. For that she got to sit on the couch in the living room and not play with anyone. After a bit, I asked her to come to the kitchen and talk with me while we unpacked groceries. She did, telling me the story of how her sister had wronged her and why she hated her. I listened and, though I interrupted her a few times, it was to retell what she had said rather than to tell her she was wrong. I was just interested in having the conversation, with hearing her, with being with her.

Evelyn is as emotional as I was as a child, before I forgot most of how to be so open, and as we talked I saw that she was starting to cry. I knelt down and put my arms out to her. She came in and got a hug from me without putting her arms around me at all. This is the sort of thing I have often worried about--not getting enough love from my child. Today I didn't think about that. Instead, I gave her all my love and it was just so easy. I didn't have to tell myself to listen, remind myself to stay quiet, or analyze my every act as I spoke with her. I was there. Body and soul. All of me.

If nothing else, I would like to dream tonight of living my life that way and then wake up ready to be there in the morning sun. Ready to get up and see what the day holds. Ready more than ever to write on.