Discipline, discipline, discipline. With those words I just forced myself to sit down behind my laptop to write another blog post. I don’t know what it is with me and writing. It scares me and it excites me and when I’m in a flow I don’t want to stop typing but sitting myself down to get the job done – it seems impossible at times. Reminding myself that I want to be disciplined and do things even when I’m not in the mood has helped me a lot this past month. I’ve gotten back into a routine of working out regularly again, spent a little time writing and a lot of time reading (I think I have to apologize to my wallet in advance because after reading The Goldfinch I feel like I’m obligated to buy all of Donna Tartt’s books, take a few weeks off, abandon my social life and be swept away to another world), continued with my bullet journal, practised my handwriting and spent precious time with my friends and family. Not bad right, looking back?
To tell you (whoever you may be) the truth, before starting again this journey of mine that would eventually lead me to a happy life, I was motivated and excited and I couldn’t wait for the month to start. I’d really love to write here about how everything has been so easy and natural so far and how I’m feeling just peachy all the time but honestly – I don’t. It really is a process. I realise that happiness is not something you feel constantly and certainly there were a few amazing moments this month and moments when I was overwhelmed with gratitude – but it takes time and effort and sometimes it’s beautiful and the next moment I want to cry in frustration. What I did learn is that that’s okay. I’ve finally found a little button that I can press in those moments, and that button is called acceptance. Okay, so, everything is not going exactly the way you want it? Deep breath, take a step back, see what you need to do to feel better today. Is that sleeping? Watching series? Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get your butt out the door? Whatever it is that I need in those moments, this month I’ve really tried listening to myself and allowed myself to choose what – in that moment – helped me hike up the mountain again after stumbling and falling a few metres down.
Allowing myself to be more ‘me’ has had its ups and its downs. The upside is definitely that I’ve started experiencing moments more deeply. By letting in my emotions instead of trying to shove all those fearful “negative” emotions away I’ve been able to enjoy certain moments more fully. (although I’ve also, as you can read above, come to the conclusion that emotions aren’t really ever “negative,” if you allow them they’re much easier to deal with than if you try to shove them into a deep, dark corner never to be touched again.) That being said, emotions being easier to deal with, doesn’t mean they’re always a joy to have around. I’m struggling to get my point across here but the bottom line is – my emotions help me appreciate beautiful moments more, and there can even be beauty in sadness, or anger, because feeling those things emphasises that you’re here and present and alive, but at the same time, they can be so overwhelming. Especially when you’ve been pushing all emotions away for a long time and they’re all hitting you in the face, all at once – some lovingly, with feathers and sunshine and glitter and jasmine, but others more forceful, with ropes and barbed wire and water and waves, and sometimes that just takes your breath away quite literally. My strategy, for a while, to avoid those last few emotions from reaching out their hands and grabbing me, was to drink and dance and just forget about it all. And in those moments it felt good – the alcohol numbing whatever I was trying to avoid, taking away parts of my shyness and awkwardness and the discomfort I feel being around unknown people. But. And of course there’s a but. After those nights, in the mornings it all came crashing down. And I’m not referring singularly to the hangovers – because believe me, they were bad. I’m referring to the rope and the barbed wire and the water and the waves finding me, strangling and scratching and suffocating. And that, together with the alcohol leaving my system and my body being in a state of utter dehydration and dealing with headaches that made me see black and white, made the mornings a lot worse. Not only did I feel miserable physically, I was also, most of the time, disappointed in myself. So – something needed to change. I still enjoy dancing with my closest friends because I love the feeling of freedom, but I’ve been steering clear of alcohol for a while and I have to say, waking up in the morning after only 4 hours of sleep does not seem as complicated when you feel that your head is still attached to the rest of your body. But I digress – the emotions are welcome, most of the time, but I’m still finding a way to deal with all of them. Which brings me to my decision to continue writing poetry. I’ve avoided poetry for a while because I was afraid to face all the emotions, but I can imagine writing about them helps untangle the mess that is forming in my head.
So, long story (not so) short – some things are good and some are not, but I’m determined to keep working on them. I feel more alive and aware, and if I’m sometimes only aware that I’m frustrated or sad or incredibly angry, it’s okay. I’m going to try and make sense of it all in some poetry, which will be a goal for next month, which I have called Self-care September. For now, I am done rambling, jotting down incoherent thoughts and contradicting myself – off to a new month, new goals and a lot of Leonard Cohen playing in the background to soothe my soul.