How do you react to hearing or reading "uncertainty"? The word has long been intertwined with my life in a way most prefer to avoid. Examples abound; a few are here: [one] [two] [three] [four] (It isn't necessary to read those to appreciate this post. Which is long, even by my standards. But feels important.) Sometimes it's as if I even crave more uncertainty than most. Other times I do just about anything not fo face uncertainty. Even if that involves excessive distraction or denial. Still, in my finest moments, I believe uncertainty is unavoidable so we're way better off dancing with, rather than fighting it. And yet? It seems I've taken a long break from that belief, and have some work to do to remember how the steps go.
This has been the most uncertain year of my life. To such a degree that I have difficulty recognizing great segments of it as having even been my own. In spite of having had many spectacular experiences, there's also a significant portion of 2012 that I can't clearly recall.
For 7 years I blogged voraciously. The process was a sort of anchor for me... a practice that helped balance things like nothing else. Whether anyone else read it or not, this was the routine I most adhered to, even relied on for clarity. It was as close to certain as anything I had.
This year? I've published just 6 blog posts. SIX. It's nearly September.
Naturally I was aware of this shift, even felt guilty sometimes. Blogging had been my writing outlet of choice for so long that when the words stopped, it took a while, but eventually I gave into it. In the end, my resistance/inability to write here turns out to have been a reflection of the bigger picture of my life. This year of atypical levels of uncertainty and sheer weirdness is finally shifting. Maybe that's why I knew it was finally time to blog again, even permitting myself a level of candor I've usually avoided.
So what did I do all this time? So many things, depending on what bit is under the microscope. Pondering now, I recall that in 2012, I:
- routinely pretended that my Granddaddy didn't really die in December,
- made lots of reckless personal choices, immediately after he did, and for weeks afterward,
- journaled a lot, privately,
- forgot to take good care of myself for several long stretches,
- continued mourning the loss of a big love that, in the end, couldn't be,
- stopped taking on new clients,
- spent a lot of time by myself,
- consumed too much ice cream and wine,
- allowed myself to pretend I was in a position to do much more volunteer and non-profit work than was, in fact, reasonable for me,
- enjoyed most of that, in spite of what I gave up,
- seeing as how it allowed me to be surrounded by massive amounts of creativity, while not having to be concerned so much with deciding which other projects did and did not suit me,
- damaged my career in significant ways, as a result,
- discovered that career needed to shift drastically, anyway,
- painted - and became enamored with creating tangible art in a way that is far different from art made with a computer,
- had a relationship with a nice guy who still wasn't right for me, after all,
- then became more okay with being single at 43, than ever before,
- Fell Deeply In Love. With the man I'd always believed must be there, but sometimes also feared may not be. Naturally I would surprise myself by falling in love with someone I'd been becoming friends with, in the most innocent of ways. Who was worth the wait, and - if I ponder the topic too long - is hard to imagine not having known my whole life.
- Also decided to finally buy an old, beater pickup truck, after all,
- and that it's time to leave the more-or-less consistent digs which I've loved very much while here, and return to house-sitting for a while. The "Wayfarin Vagabond" may have paused the wandering for a while, and may even be ready to put down roots one day, but not before another jaunt into my version of nomadery,
- started putting my career back together, piece by piece, as I figure out what the next phase will look like...
- And then? My brain and body decided enough is enough, and started showing outward signs of all the suppressed emotions, decision-making and accelerated changes... and has been insisting that I ponder the wisdom of the ages that we MUST have more rest, face our demons eventually - more on that in just a bit - allow those who love us to provide the kind of intensified emotional support that makes us most fearful... and write about it all... in my blog. Where any old body could decide to read it.
Danielle LaPorte, who inspires me in the way I want to inspire others, in the short video, A Credo for Making it Happen, espouses several ideas with which I strongly agree. Among them is a statement that currently makes me cringe every time I hear her say it (which has been rather a lot in recent weeks):
Do what you say you're going to do.
And the reason I cringe upon hearing such simple, important words, is because she's so right. This is such a vital personal rule to follow. Also? This year, while I did a lot I said was going to do, I probably also broke more promises than during any other time in my past. That's a biggun to face. And even bigger to say out loud. In particular, as I work to make amends to long-ignored friends and clients, I'm still choosing to treat myself with the gentle kindness that I would offer to another who had come to me for reassurance. We can't fix it all overnight. We can't even fix it all in a week. Pity, that. But we can take little step after little step. What with it being a journey, in the first place, and all...
Still it's way cooler when the uncertainty we face is the kind we want.
Alas, there's more. Since there's always more. It's true when they say, "when it rains, it pours," and so another gargantuan discovery descended upon me, bringing me full-circle: After a week of truly intense proportions, finally followed by a lovely, extra-calm evening, a few nights ago I found myself stunned to be wracked by sobs of inexplicable, unprecedented proportions. I'd been thinking about Granddaddy a lot lately. Far more than I had during the previous months. So much so that anytime I pondered the "why now?" question, I sometimes felt embarrassment over having such intense sadness thinking of him all these months after our last 3 weeks together. Shouldn't we deal with our pain, after all, and then face reality, and move on? I'm not sure I even completely believe that! But those voices in our heads when we're turning the spotlight on ourselves... they can get a little louder and less compassionate than when we speak to others, can't they?
So I lay there crying and crying, possibly harder than I even did the week of his funeral. And the man I now love held me, and with the insight and gentleness my own father is known for, encouraged me to stop suppressing it, and just let mysef feel what I felt. That many tears, seemingly from nowhere, scared me. But when they stopped, which wasn't until after a long, long time - and I now know may still not be behind me yet - I had some reality facing to do. He knew it too, and the next day, when emotions were less close to the surface, pointed out something that to some might have been obvious all along, but I'd never considered. "You've spent months distracting yourself, filling your time with an endless stream of other concerns. You've suppressed things that eventually have no choice but to come out. And now that you've handled some things you needed to handle, relieved some of the pressure that's been mounting, and removed some of the distractions that kept your focus so strongly elsewhere, it seems to me like you're finally going to have to face this and let yourself really feel." Such insight. Such clarity. Such simplicity.
A few weeks ago, "ADD Chick" was driving, during a particularly scattered time. I'd made silly error after silly error, and Honeyman had patiently waited and laughed and encouraged and waited again. Returning after having retrieved one more forgotten thing, I made what felt like a little joke. "My granddaddy got all cozy and settled in heaven, then looked around and said, 'Y'all gonna' have to send her somebody NOW. Because this girl cannot do it by herself any longer!' And here you are!" Sometimes I like to imagine that, though they never got a chance to meet, that's pretty much exactly how it happened. Brings me a smile every time I think about it.
So now what? Now I continue dealing with the changes, cleaning up my messes, facing fears, figuring out what works and what doesn't, adjusting accordingly.
...and dancing with the uncertainty
Because I don't really see an alternative. Plus the idea starts to peel away the layers that have stood between me and fully living this year. And by my calculations, 4 months is plenty of time to turn a year around...