I wrote this post days ago. Actually, I wrote it at the same time that I wrote the post about our new friends in Chiang Mai, and then I looked at the two things and thought-- those are totally not related. Except that they are. Because they all reside in my brain at the same time- thankfulness, joy, self-hatred, admiration. I tend to talk myself out of the parts that are worse. This type of post is that kind of self-talk. I post it because I hope it helps you, if you ever find yourself in the same place.
I've been hanging out in Struggle Ville lately, as Chinua likes to call it. Just checking the scenery out, doing some knitting. I'm bored of Struggle Ville- it's a bit bleak. Too many railroad crossings, not enough lakes. I'm-- lost. I was telling Chinua about it last night, after I warned him not to be flippant with me when I told him too many emotional things.
"You have to give yourself time to deal with all this change," he said. I may have been talking about how I feel like a failure. I hate to even write that, because I don't want any other person in the world to think of themself that way, so I hate admitting that I do, but I do! What can I say?
So-lost- looking around, scratching my head, learning a new language, in a new place, with new people. I feel remarkably sane, which is excellent. But... down.
Some things are always the same. Even if you feel afraid of the phone, you can pick it up and call your friend Maria. You can ask her over for dinner. She'll come over with her wonderful family and sit with you at your table. She'll pick up a knife and cut the tomatoes. She'll like what you cooked.
You don't have to be afraid. Every house is better with a few more people inside, eating at your table. Even when it's a new house, in a new neighborhood, in a new town, in a new country.
The tree outside my window rains flowers on the ground with every single storm. The stones in the driveway are covered in white flowers. Yesterday my friend kept thinking of photographs that could be taken under the tree. YaYa with her violin, the girls playing music... It made me laugh, in a really happy way, because my friend loves beauty and I love that. What a gift she is to the world, to my life right now.
Sometimes I wish my whole life was a table covered in white flowers, but at the very same moment, I know that it wouldn't matter if it was. I look at beautiful photos that make me feel a certain way- peaceful, inspired, and I know that if was in that photo, I would still be me, with my inability to sit still, to believe that I can do anything right, my inability to relax.
I have little capacity for self-deception. I know that no change of place or circumstance will change me. Only time and God can do that. And the endless work of cultivating joy. The beauty of service that is completely outside of yourself. Even service doesn't make you feel different. But it does make you different.
This is the problem with anxiety. It lies to you and you cannot believe it, cannot trust your mind. It tells you that the white flowers are not really there, that you can't sit and enjoy them. That's for other people, it says. That lotion you like, it's for other people. Joy is for other people.
Lies! you shout, and right you are. Lies!
The problem that I have with the internet is that there are too many words and I don't always know what to believe. It's the same problem that I have with my mind. The things I love about the internet are those moments of pure inspiration, of connection with another person, of understanding or beauty. A video, a story, a song.
The opinions get me down. They're like ants, swarming in the kitchen when I only came in for a cup of tea. They shout opposite things in my ears at the same time. Right! Left! Up! Down! Today! Never! It's hard for me to filter out the noise.
I don't sit down here very often these days, but when I do, I write and write because I can't stop it. The words keep coming. I have so much to tell you, but not much to say.
Sometimes I wish I was a kid on a swingset, pumping higher and higher. When you're that kid, there's nothing else in the world that you need to be doing. I still feel that way on the motorbike, maybe. The air rushing past, plants breathing all over me.
When I was twenty-two, I had crazy thoughts and I couldn't quell them. Now that I'm thirty-two, I can always talk myself out of a tree. I'm hoping that when I'm forty-two, I don't even hear the crazy thoughts. I hope when I'm seventy-two I can be crotchety and plainspoken and tell crazy thoughts to go to hell.