Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells ‘CAN’T’.

But you don’t listen, you just push harder. And then you hear the voice whisper ‘can’, and you discover that the person you thought you were is no match for the one you really are.” - Author Unknown

I think I need to start a diet - a distraction diet. I keep trying to figure things out: figure out my life, and all the different moving parts that go into it, and I can only concentrate on it for so long before I turn on the tv or pick up a book or wander through my Google Reader. None of which is a bad thing on its own, but when I'm constantly using them to shut off my thoughts, that can't be a good thing, can it?

I'm torn because, on the one hand I feel like it's all too much and utterly overwhelming, so shutting it down for a little bit is a good idea. And on the other I feel like maybe if I just sat with it all for a little while longer - overwhelming or not - I might eventually get to the point where I can figure out how to change something. As it is, once something starts to feel uncomfortable, emotionally, I kind of panic and find something else to focus on as soon as possible. And I don't think that's going to solve anything.

I know that part of it is the physical aspect of it all - if my physical pain is already so high, when something new starts to make itself known - physical or emotional - I try to shut it down so that it doesn't all swamp me at once. But this is only a good short term solution, because it's all still there waiting to be dealt with, and while I am a master at distraction - would you like me to organize your books in color order or find an online recipe for how to make food yummy if you can't have salt? - eventually, it's just me and my babbling brain again at some point.

I don't think anybody likes to sit and be uncomfortable. But I think I need to allow myself to just focus on that a little bit more, because ignoring all my issues is certainly not making them disappear.

There are so many of them, though, and just one of me. Trying to get them to take turns, or to prioritize themselves is also an impossible task, I'm finding. So the more crowded it gets, and the more important things become, and the more I just think "There's too much and I don't know where to start" and turn on the computer instead.

That's why my lists (I told you last week how I wrote lists for hours, right?) are turning out to be so important - if I can break smaller goals down into tiny to do lists, why wouldn't it work for humongous life goals too? It's got to right?

And the first thing on all of those life goal lists? Is going to be figure out what the hell you want to do with your life, because it ain't this.

And even just thinking that, even typing it, makes me want to panic, because, "well, I'm sick and I can't make plans, and the things I really want in life, like a family or a job or a relationship are so SO far from where I am right now, and it's got to be impossible to get from here to there and I don't even have the energy to lift that pile of books that's been sitting on my floor for three weeks so that I can put it away, let alone try to change the whole course of my life." Etc etc. And all that's somewhat true, and all that's very scary, but it's also part of what's keeping me where I don't want to be. I need to try to get past what I keep telling myself is wrong - all those little voices in my head that keep telling me I can't do any of this change thing I want to do so badly, and figure out what things I really can or can't do, if I give it my full attention, my full commitment and my full power.

Yes, I need to be realistic, because there isn't any way in hell I'm running a marathon (although this has never been, and will never be, a goal of mine), or even walking into the next room, right now, but there have to be somethings that I am just too afraid to try and that might possibly work out. I know there are, I can feel them out there, just waiting for me to try for them.

I don't know about physical goals, because my health makes those very dicey, and it's so hard to know which options I should take and which I should pass on. For example, should I start PT again, knowing how badly it went the last three times (major crashes)? Because I'm in a semi-stable state right now, and I have to decide to either a) use that momentum and all of the knowledge I have from my last PT attempts - about how not to push things, and how best to move my body - and hope that it helps this time or b) focus on something else because I don't want things to get worse, and, judging by past results, PT makes things worse. It's a real conundrum, and I don't want to make the wrong decisions, so I just ... don't decide anything and time passes, and nothing changes.

So physical goals are tricky, but I can't let that keep me from setting some. Personal goals are proving to be quite challenging to pin down as well, and the patience other people are always telling me I have seems to abandon me when I am dealing with myself, my own life and issues and problems. But I'm working on it.

I feel overwhelmed, and confused, and stuck, and like every little decision I make is both useless and potentially life changing, all at the same time. But maybe this is how I'm supposed to feel. Maybe figuring things out - major things about what you want your life to mean and how you're going to give it meaning - is supposed to be uncomfortable. I don't believe in the whole "no pain, no gain" maxim, because I've had a whole lot of pain with very little gain in my life, and because adding to that pain seems both irresponsible and ridiculous, but maybe being uncomfortable with who I am for a little while will be beneficial in the end, because it's the only way I'm going to be able to change things. If I continue to look away every time there's something I don't want to face about myself, then nothing is going to change, and nothing is going to get better, and I want things to, so I'm going to just do it as much and as often as I can.

But it's harder than I thought it would be, that's for sure.


Jennie said...

I'm a list maker, too. Lately, I've been writing a list of what my priorities are for the day, because I realized that I was prioritizing things all computer/TV before working out/whatever. I like it so far but I've only been doing it a few days so...who knows.

L Larson said...

Your words have moved me to action. I make list after list trying to wrap my head around goals, “to do”s, physical and mental needs, and the relationships around me. If I don’t see at the time that I am overwhelmed, usually looking back I can see the time spent on books and on the computer as definite sedatives for a reeling brain. I am so uncomfortable with “myself” that just sitting still causes a lot of emotional distress – and I panic. “…I feel overwhelmed, and confused, and stuck, and like every little decision I make is both useless and potentially life changing, all at the same time...” These are words right out of my own head. But, perhaps I do need to force the issue. Ask the questions. Lay out the priorities. Make the lists and use them to move on and through it. Change how I look at things. Grow in the process.

Thanks for the nudge