Sunday, June 26, 2011

The spinster gets a bit Zen...

The last few blog posts have been a bit different in tone than my usual writing.  They have been sweet, sentimental and bordering on sappy (hey, on that one I let you know upfront…so stop whining).  For those that may be worried, while I have confessed to being a soft touch, I’m not on a permanent deep mush out.  

The fact is that right now, life is good and I’m mostly happy. Things are very much in flux (changing jobs, preparing to up my course load at school in the fall, taking on new creative projects) and I’m too busy (did I mention new creative projects, changing jobs and school?), and I could very definitely use more sleep but I’m feeling far more up than down these days.

And yes, there has been some down, like a very close friend moving away, realizing that I’ve spent so much time working on organizing performance events that I’ve neglected my own solo work, and figuring out how I am going to live on a whole lot less money starting in August, so life isn’t perfect.  However, when I step aside and look at my life, the external circumstances are not really all that different than they were a year or ten years ago.  I’ve always been too busy, in a state of flux, operating on less than optimal amounts of sleep and no matter how much money I make, I’m always, always broke.  What has changed, is me.

One of the side effects of making a commitment to being on my own is that I’ve stopped seeking outside affirmation that I’m doing okay.  Now, this doesn’t mean that I don’t like being told that I’m brimming with awesome*, but I’ve stopped basing how I feel about myself on whether or not someone is there to tell me that.   I have plenty of friends who will say nice things about me, offer advice and share in the happiness of my success, but what is expected of a friend is generally quite different than what one expects from a partner.

A partner is expected to be your cheerleader, they are supposed to be your steady dependable support and while I can’t say that any of my relationships ever ended up actually having that, the expectation was still there.  In deciding to be on my own, I was also making the decision to let go of that expectation all together, and so there have been several times over the past few months that my internal conversation has gone like this…

Jane:  I’m bummed out, overwhelmed, feeling unsure, lonely.  I wish there was someone here to make me feel better.

Spinster Jane:  Um…there isn’t.  I’m hungry.

Jane:  I’m bummed out, overwhelmed, feeling unsure, lonely.  I wish there was someone here to make me feel better.

Spinster Jane:  Oh really?  We are alone and we like it this way so deal.  Now, about dinner…

Jane:  I’m bummed out, overwhelmed, feeling unsure, lonely.  I wish there was someone here to make me feel better.

Spinster Jane:  Look here Ms. Broken Record.  All those things suck, but we are full of enough awesome to know we will be okay…blah, blah blah, life goes on and we still have to eat, so dinner.

Jane:  Mac n Cheese okay?

And that is where I found it; in the kitchen cupboard right next to the Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese.  Okay, not really, but where I did find it was in the things that were everyday.  No matter how crappy, unhappy, bummed out, angry, annoyed, frustrated or melancholy I might be feeling I still had to do the dishes, the laundry, feed the cats, sweep the floors, get up out of bed, feed myself and deal with the day.  No one else was going to do it for me or motivate me to do it.  And more often than not, once I’d completed the task I’d set out to do, whatever I’d been feeling would have begun to subside.

So maybe there is some metaphor in how the doing of a finite, though unpleasant task, is similar to allowing one’s self to sit with an unpleasant, but temporary, emotional state.  I don’t like doing dishes any more than I like feeling lonely, but in the end the dishes won’t get done if I don’t fill the sink with soap and water, and the loneliness won’t pass easily if I don’t first acknowledge it, and once I begin either task, there really isn’t any other choice but to finish.

And so here I am; busy, tired, overwhelmed, sometimes unhappy but mostly not.  Life is pretty okay and so am I (it's can gag a little if you like).

* please, do leave a comment to this effect should you feel so inclined…

1 comment:

  1. Just happened upon your blog via Simone Grant, and I am loving it! You truly are awesome. This is a message I wish more of us could internalize and actually believe, because it's true! I just happened upon this exact same ephiphany, like yesterday and even though I am only single-ish, the relationship I am in leaves much to be desired. After stewing and stewing for HOURS about how he doesn't call enough, doesn't make me feel important, blah blah etc. etc. it just hit me like a ton of bricks - that's not his job. That's MY job. His not calling is a reflection of him and his sucky communication skills, not my worth to him. My importance is up to me to determine, not him, my mother, by best friend, boss or dog. Once you start framing things that way, and telling that little voice of doubt to STFU things get a lot easier. No more agonizing over what someone else did or didn't do. Now, the trick is to keep this attitude going until it becomes ingrained. Glad I found the blog!