Moving Through It

Another night of ruminating. It is the oddest thing. My mind fixated on a single incidence as an illustration of my inadequacy. Some humiliation. A sentence I shouldn’t have said. An omission of etiquette. Hygiene. And it is cold comfort to consider that no one actually saw/heard/interpreted things the way I did. Things – facts – shortcomings exist whether others notice them or not. This self-loathing can be dizzying. The only end to it is sleep.

And Sleep has been fickle as hell lately. There is something in me that still feels like the last week of Advent. This looming social thing to get over with. All of the looming obligations. After Christmas, everything will be easier. I will be able to exhale.

I am all emotions and no reason lately. It’s like the textures of the year have been knocked loose from time. There are days I look at and am surprised by the darkness and the snow. I think I must have spent the morning writing in late summer.

In Norwegian, menopause is “overgang“. Which means a path over something. Which would imply not only a path away from something but towards something. A liminal space. Something to get over with. I will be able to exhale.

This morning when I came into the little library to write, a book caught my eye. Body Space Image. (Tufnell and Crickmay). And I pulled it off the shelf, wondering if it might be helpful with the memory project. My project. But as I flipped through it my mind turned back to my students. Is this relevant for them? Then there are two post-it notes on one of the pages. One has the address of a Basque translator I worked with years ago. The other is one of B’s old mailing addresses.

Whatever god there is, or whatever it is that fishes up a Rorschach-like response from my subconscious, always speaks to me through the marginalia of books and old notebooks.

Teaching can be a form of procrastination. A diversion. There is a fine line when one works in service to other people’s voices. And life is unpredictable. We are uprooted again and again. Until we are ripped out of the earth entirely.

This book is for me, today. And that’s enough. Maybe it will show me how to – literally – move through the self-loathing.


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  1. Sorry Ren for your discomfort, physical & otherwise. Familiar, some of it. One teacher I know has said, yes, the mind loves to remember negative notions. Why? Simply, as observed. Another said our minds are first and foremost “survival” machines. Meaning, when we stumbled, that might be survival relevant, so we remember and remember just in case.

    Sometimes seeing that allows release. Hit & miss for me. There’s much to be said for affirming thoughts and feelings. Discipline. Discipline. I only have a little. But I think that’s a door.

    Simplicity. Right now my mantra is breath, release, again. Not so easy as pie right now. But questioning my next breath does radically simplify attention. Almost everything (or what I thought was everything) don’t make much difference now. (Future tense less attractive too.)

    Question is – what do I really really care about? Other faces & voices, that’s one. Life is BIGGER than me.

    • My mind focused on one negative thing yesterday that no-one else perceived as negative. On the one hand it emphasised to me how unimportant we are to other people (and that’s a negative emotion as well), and on the other hand it made me angry with myself for defining my whole life just with one thing.

      I have my words, even if no-one else reads them; I have my love, even if no-one can see inside it (because I don’t write about everything); I have my talent, even if no-one else validates it (but some do); I have the sun, sometimes, even on dark days.

      Why do we writers have so many burdens we lumber ourselves with? I wish I knew.

      • Ha, and finally worked out how to get my face on here and be able to like stuff. There’s life in the old dog yet 🙂

      • Kindred, we are 😉 I still am afraid to share my work in progress because really no one will ever be enthusiastic enough to buoy me, and I still haven’t learned to do that all by myself consistently