I am overwhelmed with the feeling I should be doing something differently. What exactly? I think I know, but yet again I feel stuck with nowhere to go, passively letting life live me until something happens that forces me into motion again.
I started running again about a week and a half ago. It felt freeing, that first run, and every one after it as well. They lasted about 5 minutes, yet I could feel all the stages of a marathon in them.
The first few paces are easy and exuberant. The next couple are hard, pulling teeth, fighting to keep a steady breathing rhythm going. Then willpower sets in, letting the body settle into deep and steady breathing. Soon after, running becomes easy again, like floating, even though the body feels like giving up any second. The mind has shifted its focus. The exertion becomes normal.
The next-to-last steps are torture. Body and mind are one in their screams to stop. But I have a goal, and my ego, needing the satisfaction of reaching goals, is the only thing keeping me going. If I wasn’t so proud, if my mind wasn’t so fixated on the physical evidence of having crossed the finish line, I would stop a few paces before it and wouldn’t think any less of myself.
I think about running itself while I run, and the fact that I have missed out on so many years of physical strength. How I wondered for so long why I was so weak, why I seemingly couldn’t follow through on anything I set my mind to.
The first thing wrong with that last thought is the mind itself. The mind doesn’t know shit. The mind takes all that is thrown at it and declares it to be true. The mind doesn’t know what the soul knows, much less what it needs.
The second one is — I couldn’t follow through because I was forcing myself to do things my ego thought I needed to do. I didn’t really know what I wanted. I thought about it endlessly, of course, but I never reflected.
Only recently did I start being honest with myself by journaling every day without fail. I hadn’t realized all those years that I wasn’t truly reflecting unless I was putting my thoughts into coherent sentences — in writing.
I also knew I liked being alone, I did not know that I needed to be alone.
I did not know I need to sort out my own feeling from the rest of the world’s. There were hints though. I got a lot of hints. Crazy dreams. Urges to create, to write.
I thought I wasn’t a writer. I didn’t like writing — never did — though there were so many weird instances when the words flowed so effortlessly onto paper. That long struggle before — the mind doing its wicked dance, fighting for control — forgotten.
It was like pulling teeth: Like running. One has to sit down and do it, or lace up and walk out the door.
I didn’t know I needed to communicate. I thought I was a bad communicator. I couldn’t articulate my thoughts. But I loved to read so much.
Reading was easy.
At some point, I stopped reading. I knew I was in trouble then. It felt like giving up on life. I knew I was living, I was doing things I wouldn’t have done a couple of years before. Boys. Drugs.
But I wasn’t reading, and I worried.
I thought I was weak. I thought I had no control. I thought things happen, and I can’t do anything about it.
I didn’t know I needed to take responsibility. It was a foreign concept.
Nobody had told me I needed to do things. Nobody told me I needed to take care of myself.
I thought I was being a good person.
My whole life I thought I needed to be the best person there is. I needed to be selfless. Selfless people were good. Miserable, but good.
I thought I needed to be miserable.
But miserable people don’t get anything done.
So I finally decided I had been miserable long enough. I need to start being good to myself. Every day a little more.
It’s the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, and I gave birth to a human a little more than a year ago. I thought that was challenging.
But putting myself first?
All that wiring. It needs to be bypassed. It’s fucking hard.
It actually needs to be re-wired. Re-wiring is hard. It takes constant attention.
If I’m completely shit at something, it is giving any given topic daily attention.
It’s the number one thing I have failed spectacularly at my whole life. Staying consistent. It’s not bad, per se, being inconsistent. It shows you are capable of changing. I like being inconsistent. Makes me unpredictable. That would be good if I had enemies.
Do I have enemies? I actually think I don’t. So I probably do.
What’s shit about being inconsistent is that you miss out on the things you can build when you care for something day after day, year after year. Like a little delicate tree. It starts out so, so tiny. If it were dependent on human attention, it would most certainly cripple and die within its first year.
But trees are independent. They just keep growing. If nobody kills them. They keep growing, and after 50–100 years, they are majestic beings.
Compounding. It’s not only for money. It’s everything you do. I knew this on a rational level a long time ago, but I never stuck with anything long enough to see it grow into a tree.
I read the entries in this blog I wrote almost ten years ago. I had such good thoughts. I wrote so well. I stopped writing because I thought saying nothing was better. I thought being cryptic was cool.
It isn’t. My whole life is about writing. About saying what I need to say. It was all about speaking up. Needing to be heard. People laughed when I spoke too softly. I burned with shame. I didn’t know I needed to speak. I thought I needed to be sure of my opinion.
I questioned everything, most of all myself.
But who has any fucking clue what they’re saying?
This article was originally published on my personal blog in July 2018.