Do you know that place, that place of extreme self-doubt and a dull ache in the heart and incessant inner chatter and not-quite-being-able-to-stay-in-the-present?
I dreamed last night that I was late for work, leaving the house only five minutes before I was supposed to be there (it takes me 30) and not being able to move my body, stuck in slow motion while my mind went at record speed. I stopped at the doctor's on the way, feeling the need for help with a cold, sitting in the waiting room for almost two hours, tapping my toes and feeling the anxiety for now being two hours late to work but too shy to call and explain. When I stepped on the make-believe dream scale at the doctor's office, I broke it.
Later in the night I found myself at Hannah Marcotti's house, only as I showed up at the door her house shrank to the size of a bedroom, and when I was invited into the living room I was too big to fit, knocking over vases and stumbling into the couch, scared and sad that my reality wasn't matching up with my expectations.
I slept poorly and woke up an hour before my alarm, afraid it had been real and I was sleeping through work.
Sleep often provides no respite, only gives my mind a window of time to try and work out what's happening, furiously re-living the anxiety and stress in dreamland.You know?
My acupuncturist palpates my abdomen, feeling the deep tightness and pain and blockages, opting for more at our next session, stronger and harder this time.
I'm not where I thought I'd be, at 24 years old. I'm in this long, slow, learning period of growth and awakening, and I have to remind myself daily that I actually am where I'm supposed to be, despite the challenges and fears and doubts.
Full disclosure: I'm still living with my parents. (I cringe as I type that.) I'm nowhere near the profession I want. I work part-time as a daycare teacher, my old college job, and part-time as a freelance writer. This is not where I want to be, or thought I'd be at 24.
I know this is an important time. I know I'll look back on my 24-year-old self and think how I didn't see it coming, how I was preparing myself for the rest of my life in the best of ways. I'm already able to do that a little, looking back just a few months. Things change so swiftly, but when you're in the thick of it, everything seems so stagnant. And it's easy to get lost in that stagnation.
I'm learning more and more what I need. How I need eight hours of sleep every night at the very, very least. How I tend to forget all the important changes I've made, how I tend to belittle the progress I've worked so hard for. How I need to be gentle with my expectations of myself. How I need time outside. How I need to answer to myself, first. How I need to be careful with my online time, guarding myself against too much involvement in other people's lives and rolling down the fast hill of comparison.
I've been hearing in my head, "When you're ready, it will be ready," for the past week. A message, a thought not my own, coming to me. When I'm in the right place and resonance for these things I want (a well-paying job I enjoy, a new city, a space of my own, a grown-up life), they'll come to me. Most days I have enough faith to believe this. It makes it easier to cope with the hours or days of extreme self-doubt and a dull ache in the heart and incessant inner chatter and not-quite-being-able-to-stay-in-the-present. It's all medicine, I'm just not really able to see it yet -- I know this.
It's all good. It's all right. It's May, and I'm getting there.
A few people and places that have spurred me on:
10 bullshit-free ways to do the hard work from Kate Courageous
As our body cries out..... from Hannah
Never, ever give up (video)
What's the real emergency? from Amy E. Smith on Roots of She