Writing this blog is, in some ways, one of the most frightening things I’ve ever done. I’ve set two challenges for myself with this project: (1) to say what is important, and (2) to speak the truth.
Saying what’s important requires a clarity of thought I don’t always pursue. Because speaking and writing have always come so easily to me, I can sometimes get lost in the mechanics without really focusing on the message I’m sending. Style without substance is something I need to be on guard against at all time. It doesn’t matter how cleverly you say something, if it’s not worth saying.
But the second part of that challenge, the speaking of truth, is by far the harder of the two for me. It’s not that I am inherently a liar (although my wife insists I’m a master of the well-spoken untruth). But telling the truth is not simply to avoid lying. Telling the truth involves risk. Telling the truth involves commitment. Telling the truth cuts off escape routes.
Without going into the dysfunction of my youth too deeply, let’s just say that I grew up in an environment where secrecy was encouraged. There is privacy, and then there is secrecy. There is discretion, and then there is paranoia.
One of the hardest parts of growing up for me was learning what was socially acceptable to talk about, and what was not. The social rules concerning this were (and remain) incomprehensible to me. It seemed that 99% of the trouble I got in as a child was because I spoke an embarrassing truth in front of the wrong person or persons. The trouble I got in was severe enough that I learned to guard myself fiercely, learned when to lie and how to do so eloquently and efficiently.
I internalized that the default setting on life was to hide the truth as deeply and carefully as possible, no matter how much you wanted to tell it, no matter how much better things would be if you did. Secrecy was the norm, and telling the truth was the aberration.
it took a long time for me to break out of that norm. I had to work hard to learn first how to recognize my truth and then how to safely speak it. it took a lot of pain and error and courage.
Recently, I’ve found myself in a space where I’m forced by circumstance back into that place of institutionalized secrecy and paranoia. And it’s eating me out from the inside. I’ve discovered that once I broke free of that type of life, I never ever wanted to go back to it. I’ve quit jobs to avoid it. I’ve ended friendships.
And here I am, back again in this space.
Sometimes, circumstance forces you to hold your tongue. But I will never hold my tongue on this blog. I will never hide my truth here. I am angry about my current circumstance, and I will get out of it. But I will keep this space honest, no matter what.
I thank you for reading, and I hope I earn your trust.
Peace and good dreams to you–
If you read my earlier post, you know I’ve been in “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” mode. Not a space I enjoy inhabiting, but that’s where I am.
In times of high stress and difficulty, self-care is more important than ever. Taking a well-earned nap, spending time with loved ones, getting in that workout that reinvigorates you – these are crucial to surviving the onslaught of modern life.
Too many of us get into a grind mentality when things get stressful. We put on our good little Pilgrim caps and tell ourselves to push through, hang tough, and fight until the bitter end. And if a brutal New England winter is threatening to starve your entire settlement, then yes, this is a great mind-set.
But when your challenge is a job that throws more and more paperwork at you, or a house whose clutter has almost TARDIS-like qualities, a different strategy might better suit your needs.
Sometimes you just have to say no. Sometimes you have to stand firm and cry enough. It doesn’t make you less of a person to draw strong, sensible boundaries against the forces that threaten to take over your time, your energy, and your life. Nobody gets an extra cookie in Heaven for workaholism.
So, take this long weekend, if you’re lucky enough to have one, and give it to yourself. Wrap it up in a bow, and let yourself enjoy it.
The grind will still be there on Tuesday. And hopefully, you’ll be in a better position to face it.
Good night, dear souls. Sweet dreams to you all.
Almost forgot–music to dream by – Nocturne In Eb Major, Op. 9, No. 2 by Frederic Chopin
Hello, dear ones. It’s another Sunday night. Right about now, I’d normally be clenching in on myself, stressing on the advent of another Monday morning. I know it’s what most of us do. We dread the beginning of a new work or school week, often starting hours before the alarm goes off.
I’m trying an experiment, though, which I hope will reduce my stress and suffering. it’s Sunday night, and instead of worrying about work in the morning, I’m listening to classical music. I’m sitting in my home, enjoying my family. And when my mind turns to the endless grocery list of things I have to do at the office tomorrow, I just just breathe and say to myself, “Tomorrow.”
Tomorrow doesn’t exist. Not yet, really, except in our minds. Too many of us give this imaginary tomorrow way more power and influence than it needs or should have. I know I always have. I practice conversations in my head in advance. I imagine every possible scenario (one often more horrific than the last) when I know I have to confront someone or something I’m avoiding.
Because as humans, we are all born storytellers. I don’t care how hard you insist you are not “literary,” trust me, you are a story-teller. Your medium may not be pen and paper (or WordPress), but you are a story-teller.
It’s in our blood. It’s in our DNA. We can’t help it.
Tomorrow is Monday. Monday sucks. I hate Mondays. I hate my life.
There–story told. Beginning, middle, and end. And for what? What possible good can telling this story do?
We all tell a story, so why not tell a better one?
Tomorrow is Monday. Monday follows Sunday, which is today. Let’s focus on Sunday, which is where I am. Oooh, leftover pizza! Yum!
See? Much better story.
Have a great night, sweet dreams, and enjoy the leftover pizza.