Wednesday, June 1, 2022

W. A. I. T.

Why Am I Talking???

It's no secret around here that last year did not go according to plan.  

Like, any plan what-so-ever.  

"Will she ever shut up about it?" You may be asking ... And the answer is, I did ... Throughout most of last year ... As it was happening— thanks in large part to a terrible internet connection.  It must've been because everyone was reworking everything to get kids back into some kind of distance learning of one kind or another, or maybe my account was just being throttled because I refuse to upgrade to the more expensive package, but whatever the reason, I spent the majority of last year being more offline than on.  It's amazing how quickly we've adapted to rely on all of this technology, especially all of us kids who grew up almost totally analog.  I've become so accustomed to, what I call, my Judy Jetson life I'd always dreamed of as a child ... Just the sheer access to everything: People, resources, things at the push of a button, it's wild!  To have it all stripped away in an instant forces a person to confront their own purpose, and really, their mere existence.

The end of that last paragraph might've escalated a little quickly.  Like, okay lady.  Having an internet blackout is no need for an existential crisis ... People are constantly surviving, and thriving in worse conditions than that all over the world.  But I think it's important to use our minor inconveniences to uncover things about ourselves we may not be aware of, or to examine what we'd like to change, and that's what happened to me when I was no longer able to stare into the flashing lights of the boop-boop machine, and tickity tap some buttons, and get / do everything I wanted, when I wanted. 

Recognizing your powerlessness in one area can reveal your true power in another.

That doesn't mean that the revelation will necessarily be immediate, or easy, or even profound, and you know, maybe none of it is even supposed to be that deep, but I think the point is that it can be if you want it to.  Everything can fall apart, but life always keeps on trucking right along, and good things keep happening.  My problem is I have the tendency to forget that.  I get so caught up in what's wrong, that I forget all of the things that are right.  One thing that my internet outage, and just shutting my mouth helped me see again was the power of the pause.  Remember, the eye of a storm is not chaotic, it's quite calm actually, eerily so in most cases, but it does afford you the opportunity to regroup, and make a new plan if you need to.  We can spend our time lamenting the fact that there's even a storm at all, or we can find solace in, and be thankful for the lull that comes after informing us that there is, in fact, a storm, and also giving us a pretty good idea of how things are trending.  

At first, my cyber-interruption absolutely infuriated me.  More often than not, I was completely cut off from people who mean a great deal to me.  Also, currently my business is solely an online endeavor.  Thankfully, my pal Mike was there with words to encourage me (with words I clung to more often than he even knows!) to cut the crap, and just focus on what I can actually control, and let the rest go.  This is not at all easy for me.  I think it's particularly difficult for people who were raised by the very much roll-up-your-sleeves type of parents, where pretty much anything can be solved with just a little more elbow grease.  Roll up my sleeves?  Reader, I will tear my entire shirt off trying to force something to work out the way I think I need it to ... This, as it turns out, has not been entirely useful, rewarding, or even healthy for me.    

Tenacity will get you across the finish line.  Stubbornness will get you an injury. 

I think (I hope) that I am slowly but surely learning how to recognize the right times to let go of things that I have absolutely no control over, and that have always been, or have become wrong for me, and if not completely wrong, at least wrong in timing.  I am fully unable to subscribe to the notion that there is no such thing as the right / wrong time.  I don't care how many cutesy platitude memes get pinned or shared ... If you wait for the right time, it'll never come ... The best time to start something is now! ... Don't wait for the right opportunity ... blah, blah, blah.  I think it's all such a load of codswallop, to be perfectly honest.  I will argue til my last breath that there are, indeed, right and wrong times for things, especially when forces beyond your control create undesirable, or unsustainable circumstances.  You could, of course, counter with the fact that we're living in an ever-changing world, and nothing is truly sustainable so why even worry about it, or make that a factor at all?  And to some degree I'd have to concede, that is correct.  I just happen to believe that personal responsibility should always be a thing, rather than just making all of your decisions flying off the handle at breakneck speeds doing things ya wanna and to hell with how that may effect the rest of your life, and others around you.  Take risks, by all means, but calculate them, and maybe do some groundwork on a solid foundation on which your plans can actually take shape.  So, I guess "starting" can actually happen at any time as long as you know that the starting point may actually be vastly different than the one you dreamed up in your imagination (this is actually where the Work it Backwards method comes in really handy).

It wasn't exactly easy for me to give up on my plans last Fall to (finally!) finish my degree.  It wasn't exactly easy for me to make the decision to go back in the first place, I've got a lot of trauma around what that whole experience was the first time around that had to be reckoned with before even allowing myself to apply this time.  Once I was accepted, it was exponentially disappointing to face the reality of having to put it off ... Again.  But as the year wore on, my stress was at critical mass by the time the first week of school rolled around— I've grown to be tremendously protective of my space, and the energy in it, but I had some very unexpected (because I was never supposed to be part of it), and unfinished (because everyone before me wasted 29 years doing nothing about it) business to wrap up that involved many parties, and moving parts from which I am elated to announce I am officially, and entirely free.  That freedom, however, did not come without incident, and as it turned out that whole vibe was just a preview of how the rest of my year would play out, I mean, the wheels really fell off by October, and I skidded into 2022 sideways, and shooting sparks.  Obviously, had I attempted school, I would have, without a doubt, flunked out, and been way more disappointed with that outcome, than I would by simply delaying it.  Timing, folks.

It's amazing to me how our minor inconveniences (even if they don't feel so small at the time) can save us from a much larger defeat.  Looking back, I'm glad I didn't try to force my academic comeback in that time and space.  Knowing the ins and outs of everything that was going on, and knowing myself, it would've been a total disaster.  So while it's been difficult to cope with all of my losses, and foiled plans (that one being one of the biggies), I'm beginning to find it easier to accept, and it's given me clarity in so much as what needs to be accomplished and completed before I attempt anything new, and big again.  As far as some of my goals are concerned, I'm just not there.  It doesn't mean that I never will be.  Right now, though, I'm thankful for the blackouts, and the down time, and the silence that helped give me the space that I needed in order to figure out what has to be done right now, and after that, and next after that.  I don't think I would've come to the same conclusions if I'd have just kept going along, jabbering away about this topic and that.  What was funny about the whole thing is that when I did have more than a couple of minutes of internet access I absolutely could not force myself to create more noise just for the sake of making noise.  

Why Am I Talking, indeed. 

As the dust settled, there were many times I couldn't figure out what I wanted to say, or why, or to whom, or you know, what the point would even be?  So I just didn't.  Don't get me wrong, I didn't take a vow of silence or anything, I spoke up when I needed to, but overall, I think 2021 was a year for cementing things, and now as I look back on my goal-setting exercises, and how I said I wished to experience 2021, along with my Lunar New Year post, that year of my life is making a lot more sense "... the Year of the Ox is upon us, and with it, a time of unwavering determination, and strength of character will be ushered in."  

Excerpt from what I wrote to myself December 28, 2020 as part of mapping out the upcoming year:

This year I would like to release...  EVERYONE who hurts me on purpose, treats me poorly, and has ill-will toward me.  People who "think" they love me, but treat me like shit - and the baggage they've brought with them.

This year I want to give myself the gift of...  Love.  Finished business.  Good health.

This year I promise to myself that I will...  DO WHATEVER IT TAKES.

And that's what happened.  It certainly never looked the way I expected it to, and the results didn't exactly come the way I wanted them to, but it is what happened.  The kind of unwavering determination I'm experiencing now isn't about forcing things to happen that shouldn't be happening, or can't be achieved no matter how hard I try, it's about recognizing that even when I'm down, I'm not necessarily out.  I have unwavering determination for, and toward myself.  I was tested last year, in every possible way, and it was nice to be reminded that I will not ever lose touch with my real self, not even by accident, no matter how chaotic, or confusing everything around me may become.  When it matters most, I know exactly who I am, and I don't think I can be anything but thankful for the year, or the events that allowed me to see that again, and so vividly. 

Like I said earlier, recognizing your powerlessness in one area can reveal your true power in another.  I hope, whoever you are beautiful stranger on the other side of these glowing pixels, that if you have, or you are, or are going to shortly experience a form of powerlessness, that you are able to, at some point in the stillness, look inward, and remember who you are.