Here I am with a man on stilts:
This is my last week at work forever, and I'm doing things like crying through a two-hour Glee doubleheader, so I've come to this as my visual touchstone.
(Thanks to Deb Rox for the photo of me and my pretend carny husband. All that background needs is a clown pushing a hoop with a stick and maybe a miserable elephant or two, to go with the seaside vehicle. Also, blown up bigger it looks like I'm in danger of snapping his stilts-twig leg, what with my stance there. Later on he made me almost eat fire in front of an entire beach lounge full of people, so maybe I did hurt him. CAH-RAFTY, CARNY MAN.
(Seriously? The guy on stilts was very nice. We were instant friends, in my mind, which is obvious because I look entirely comfortable with him, no?)
You know what, this story is freaking me out in the retelling. I am super not into being on fire and I was really close to his fire sticks and it appears almost happy about it from the pictures. (I go to Florida and lose my fool mind.)
Oh. My. God. I just said all of those things and they are true. HELLO NARNIA, I'M HOME.
Anyway, so yes, I quit my job in March, not with the stated goal of joining a resort carnival, but life is funny. Back then, it felt like May was forever away and would therefore never come, and I'd sit there in my sensible chair in my windowless office pondering the decision I'd made, lalala, I'm a decision maker, forever, looky here at me, but nothing will happen because la.
Well, hello, calendar and reality-challenged people, i.e., me: May is here. Friday is almost here. Here is almost here. And I'm putting the talents I took to South Beach to use by posting photos of myself with stilts man, because how else would I remember that I almost ate fire unless I did this instead of other productive things?
I don't know what is going to happen, which in some ways I'm totally fine with and in others? Well, we do not want to talk to those others, because they are crazy banshees with snakes for hair who want my heart on a mismatched Pier One plate.
I'm ready to give something else to the space I occupy. I'm ready to let other, so much better, stuff in. If I could tell you, y'all, all that has happened to me within the past six months without boring you to tears and you charging me a co-pay? It's been a lot, inside and out. And it's weird and it's hard and it's making me cry what may seem to be an unhealthy amount at Glee because I think it's supposed to. Transformation that requires slashing through years of settling and rationalizing and denial with a cup of coffee and a keyboard and my own flawed interpersonal skills instead of with a sharp machete? Not easy.
And yet I believe that all of it -- ALL OF THE ALL OF IT -- has happened in this way over the past two years to manifest what my meditation teacher used to say was the power I had that I refused to acknowledge, that I didn't know how to channel or let out of its size-14 cage. She used to make me put both my feet flat on the floor to try to feel it, not to fidget, to swing one leg up over the other and disconnect, which is my usual posture. She told me to feel it in a way that should have creeped me out but didn't. You are solid. You have to sit in it. You don't even know. Put your feet on the ground and feel it.
I couldn't manage it yet, because my brain is a complicated system of roadblocks and puffy clouds, so it had to show up in an ER this past December in the form of almost stroke-level scary vital signs, and a kind and directive nurse who along with an apparent solid grasp of needles and math told me that fear and stress that deep probably had come out in pressure that high. We can kill ourselves with our own minds, I believe this now.
It's not like I buy it all yet, or even most of it. Power looks very different to me than this way that I feel. I just finally came to a point where I knew I had to change, and so I've been putting one foot and one word in front of the other for six months like I have a plan, when really I'm just a walking, talking Mad Lib, with a sense of humor and a constant willingness to try new things as my fill-in-the-blanks.
This has been a particularly challenging week inside of my skull, as I let the ending of something big into my mind, as I go through the process of shutting it down (while trying not to starve the concurrent growing things, the good, the new.)
Old patterns, electrical currents in my emotional grid, are rising up from beneath my skin, and I'm pissed off about that. I haven't been my best self, at all, and I have felt badly about that in the way I always do when extra stressed, when instead of letting it just wash over me and out the door, as I'm learning, I've been gathering it in subconsciously, stoking it with worry, the ultimate waste of time.
But I can learn. I know what to do when I'm at the end of the particular rope. I had the good sense to talk through a lot of it with people I trust last night, and then I peeking at my shamrocks that I have somehow managed not to kill for more than a year now. Even when they're sleeping you can see a tiny one shooting up now that I've given them a much bigger pot and a space by the door with sun, and that thrilled me more than anything in recent memory. It's always a mystery, what you find to keep you going, what makes you feel competent, after years of telling yourself you kill every green thing you touch so don't bother.
I hate when metaphors happen accidentally. Like hammers to the head, they are.
I still wonder who in the hell I think I am, walking into an unknown with a questionable net. But what I do know is that I have lived for three years in a state of constant panic, low-grade mostly, but still. I have spent days convinced that this was all there is, my performance declining, my attitude getting ever worse.
It just didn't work for me anymore, so it had to change. I wouldn't be sitting here without the patience of friends who have helped me see the other, less self-loathing side, that said maybe the space I was in wasn't working for me as much as I wasn't working for it. It's a lot simpler when you stop insisting it's so complicated.
And what's the worry? That I'll starve now? I have been starving for a long, long time. There are other ways to be broke. There are other ways to die. I didn't want the way it was happening to me to be the final story, for me. And I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't made that decision way back in March, and had what even I'll acknowledge took enormous courage to follow through on? I wouldn't have answered the query that took me on the trip to a place with a blazing sun and a super moon, where I totally almost ate fire.
I'm kind of glad I didn't miss this. I'm looking forward to the rest.
*Sarah or Deb took this picture on my camera. I don't remember which. Thanks for catching it, and me.
**Also! I don't want to forget to thank Honda for bringing the amazing -- and for me, life-changing, because this picture will hang on my office wall forever as a symbol of when everything changed for me -- white party to life. I am a very happy CRV owner with a beloved Civic in my past. I really appreciate it when cool brands I can support without reservation support what we're doing as writers and photographers online to change our own worlds, and hopefully our larger one.