Tonight I worried a lot about the size of my ass. (A little bit just now I worried about what some of you would think of me for writing ass instead of butt. I will continue to worry about it after I post this- probably even more so- but, as a lover of words, I firmly believe that there are times when an obscenity just suits better than its watered down counterpart.) I was worrying about my ass because I haven’t been working out as much as I’d like and I fear it is getting closer to the point of no return. I worry about this because I am self-centered and conceited.
I have also cried a lot this week. It was for a number of reasons: infertility crap (aaaaaaagain), my new chicken pecking Chicken Bicken’s comb to the point of bleeding in introducing the two, feeling overwhelmed with balancing the mom and the teacher and the wife and the working out and the relaxing, over the spilling of the chicken waterer late at night causing me to have to go back inside and refill it again, and about the sudden and unexpected death of the father of one of my favorite students who, God knows, already had more than his fair share of trauma on his 7 year old plate. I cried because I’m a perfectionist , because I try to do too much, because I’m dramatic, and because I have an occasional Messiah complex.
In between all of THAT, it has occurred to me that I am really, really content to be sad or angry or pitiful. You know how I know? Because at one point this week, the type of thought I recognize as a Jesus shoulder nudge noted, “Despite these things all being worthy of grief or anger (some more than others…) it seems like maybe you’d rather just nurse the junk instead of making something of it,” and I immediately recoiled. As in, there is no daaaaaang way I want to stop being sad/angry/pitiful because I’m totally comfortable here.
I saw this quote the other day:
“For those habituated to high levels of internal stress… it is the absence of stress that creates unease, evoking boredom and a sense of meaninglessness. People may become addicted to their own stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol… To such persons stress feels desirable, while the absence of it feels like something to be avoided.” (Gabor Maté M.D.)
I am totally comfortable with wallowing. I can admit that I’ve completely become addicted to the sensation of feeling overwhelmed or sorry for myself or angry at the status quo. I’ve been doing it for so long now that I’m just stuck here and despite it being a place I don’t like inhabiting, change is hard. (Once, I teared up because Ryan wanted to replace the tiny, crappy tv stand I’d bought on clearance and had ZERO attachment to with a larger one that looked nearly identical. I actually devised arguments as to why we shouldn’t replace it which was idiotic because our new tv wouldn’t even fit on the old one.) Change is hard.
While I’ve been snubbing my nose to this gentle shoving out of my comfort zone, I’ve been raising an interested eyebrow to what that could mean. MAYBE, if I stopped worrying about my ass, I could start enjoying working out again as opposed to putting so much pressure on my sorry-self to work out specifically to reshape said ass. MAYBE, if I stopped feeling so sorry for myself for being overburdened, I could spend the time reading a book and learn to listen to my husband when he tells me that the world will not, in fact, implode if I leave the laundry for the weekend. (I am not kidding there. It honestly feels like something really, really awful will happen if I don’t do those dishes. I don’t know what. But bad.) MAYBE, if I stopped moping over the weight of the beyond depressing day-to-day life that most of my students experience, I could spend more time searching for actual solutions like looking into ways to help that newly widowed mom raise money for funeral expenses.
Let’s be honest, this is a far larger issue than a crappy, particle board tv stand. I’m working on it, albeit reluctantly. As in so many situations, this is a perfect opportunity to fall back on wise, blunt, Anne Lamott, who writes:
“Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper. So I keep trying gently to bring my mind back to what is really there to be seen, maybe to be seen and noted with a kind of reverence. Because if I don’t learn to do this, I think I’ll keep getting things wrong.”
I don’t really believe that I want to stay here… I just need to train that puppy a little more. A lot more. But no drop kicking. Maybe a few more chickens would help though.