Ambivalence as Armor

It’s been a long time since I wrote here, getting close to a year. I suppose the real reason I paused in my writing is because I realized it wasn’t taking me anywhere. I wasn’t going to become a published author or spokeswoman for autism or mental health. Grandiose hopes that I laugh at now. Delusions of grandeur that Lithium just naturally abolished. Those realizations caused me to pause and break, because sometimes you just need to come back to doing something for fun or self-care or whatever reason you initially began doing it.

And I think I’m there now. I just miss the release of writing. Indeed, sitting here typing just feels “right”.

All of which brings me to what I am doing now. What am I up to these days? I’m back in school. After realizing that I needed a realistic track to career and employment and something for myself (not for my family), I took stock of what I really liked in all of the jobs I worked in previously. I found medicine interesting when I worked at the hospital. I loved working independently in various situations. I enjoyed a clean, clear work space. And a bunch of other things I won’t bore you with right now. Basically, what I am getting at is that all of the things, including what programs are offered near me, aligned with a program for Medical Laboratory Technicians.

And that’s what I am doing now! Exciting, I know….Okay, maybe it’s not exciting to you, but it is to me. Starting school again, with four kids in tow, one of whom I’m homeschooling and another with autism – well, it’s been stressful. Perhaps the most distressing piece of all of it has been my fear of failure creeping up like a stealthy giant ready to crush me. Previously, ambivalence had been my armor against this nasty ogre. Fortunately and unfortunately, going through years of therapy has made it so I can’t just ignore this fear. I get to *feel* it. Great, right?

Not so much.

The biggest thing I’ve learned about fear in life is that you can’t just make it go away. In fact, we were given fear to protect us. Right now, these days, my brain is screaming that I’m going to fail. It’s trying to protect me from the pain of failure. The problem is – if I listen to fear, I’ll never know success.

This brings me to the second biggest thing I’ve learned about fear so far. Most of the time you just have to do it, whatever “it” is, afraid. You heard me. Do it while afraid. So that’s what I’m up to these days.

I want to take the time to add one last side note about fear and it’s a spiritual topic (so stop reading if God annoys you). I hear a lot of talk in Christian circles about praying for God to take away fear or praying to be set free from fear. I think people get confused about where fear originally came from. Despite what is commonly thought, fear isn’t a result of sin nature or an influence of the devil. Fear was given to humans by God. You see, He wanted to make sure they ran away when a bear came at them. He wanted to make sure humans sought shelter when loud booms of thunder crashed in the sky. Without fear, we would get into a lot of trouble.

I think people get confused about fear and God, because the Bible has many times where God says “Do not be afraid.” The thing is there is a big difference between being afraid and having fear. Afraid is letting fear rule you. Having fear is not being afraid. So sit, do, win with the fear at your side. Don’t be afraid.

Resistance is Futile

In the mornings, I wake up and so often I don’t feel like doing the things. Hence, the coffee or other caffeinated beverage. I don’t feel like working out, putting makeup on, getting dressed – so many things.

Recently, I’ve realized something about this mood I find myself in pretty frequently. It is resistance.

Resistance to the person I am becoming.

Our minds like things to stay the same. We are conditioned for homeostasis. Yet, our souls long for more. We desire change.

But changing is hard.

My mind’s desire for homeostasis creates the “mood” of resistance. I just don’t feel like it. I don’t want to….

These are resistance to what I truly want.

I want to be slim and trim, fit and healthy. I want to write and edit and proof. I want to love my children. I want a clean house. I want the day to start off right. This is who I am. This is the jewel inside the crust of resistance.

First, I must recognize the mood of resistance. Then, I must dis-identify with it. It is not me, but a function of my conditioning to want sameness. This is the process of overcoming resistance.

Easier said then done.

Candidly,

Ash

Married with Children

I watch from my solo spot in the café, as an old woman and man come to sit in a booth on the other side of the restaurant. He sits down next to her instead of across the booth from her.

It’s sweet.

I think as parents, my husband and I get lost in the whirl of children. Sitting next to one another isn’t possible, because we must divide and conquer. It’s us against them in a lot of ways.

Not some epic battle, but sort of a low grade struggle of chaos versus order, in which we represent order and they (the children) represent chaos.

Maybe its having four children, being outnumbered, that seems to result in this little clash of wills. Maybe its this way regardless of the number of children you have.

But does it have to be that way?

These days, I find myself embracing the chaos more and more. It isn’t the end of the world if we all have wrinkled clothes. I mean, they smell good so that’s winning to me. It’s not just laundry though.

Its accepting the crying and its domino effect. Sitting still in the whirlwind of outcry and despair, being at peace, that is my latest approach. No rushing to appease, no rushing to scream and discipline. Just sitting still.

Sometimes, I watch my husband do the same thing. We just look at each other sometimes and shake our heads. Maybe that’s our equivalent of the old couple in the booth.

Present to each other, despite the rest of the world.

These Ordinary Days

I am really struggling with the monotony of life these days. Maybe its that we don’t have money for special things or maybe its that we have hindrances to living a normal life. 

There is just nothing special here. 

I feel so wrong, so guilty for saying such a thing. Does it mean I value the people in my life less than I should? Does it mean I’m selfish? Where is the line between self-preservation and self-consumption? How do I care for myself enough and still care for others too?

So many good questions. 

Here is where I am supposed to be the Sherpa and make grand conclusions that enlighten everyone. After all, that is what would make this blog popular. 

I’m not going for popular. I’m going for real. 

I don’t know all the answers. No one does. When life seems the same over and over again, I wonder at the purpose behind it all. Where is the meaning?

Perhaps the truth is that not everything has meaning. Perhaps the truth is that a good portion of life is spent at traffic lights and sleeping and doing things that don’t amount to a full life. Perhaps it’s a bit normal and okay to be sick of the drab parts of life and to feel a bit directionless. 

I want to re-enchant everyday life, but what if everyday life was never enchanted in the first place?

Maybe the key is to do one enchanting thing each day until the enchantment builds on itself. Suddenly, two things are enchanting in my day and then three and so on and so forth. Maybe the key is trying for enchantment, not the enchantment itself. 

Candidly, 

Ash

The Movement of Standing Still

Flexibility.

Rigidity. 

I feel as though I cycle through these modes endlessly. Some days, I’m adaptable, tolerant. Other days, I’m stiff, immoveable, uncompromising. 

Some days, I am strong. Some days, I am weak. 

Life holds these moments, passing them to and fro. I see it echoed in the movement of the sun over my head, the passing of clouds in and out of view. I see the earth beneath my feet turn to mush, rainy day after rainy day. I see it harden too, baking in that moveable sun. 

Back to the sun. 

The center of the universe. Unchanging, yet volatile. It stands still. From where I stand, it appears the moveable thing. But I am the thing moving, the thing shifting position, even as I stand still. 

All truths are paradoxes, my friend says to me. 

I think she is right. The sun in its great distance, seems to be standing still. Yet, we know it fluctuates in its volatility. I seem to be standing still, but I am moving at the rate of one revolution per day.

Two things I know – I am changeable. I remain the same.

Both/And.

Candidly,

Ash 

Healthy Thoughts

I don’t feel like writing today. 

I’m not sure I have much to say. I feel good these days. Not too good, because that is a thing that happens to me. Just the right amount of goodness. 

I have that niggling sensation in the back of my mind that something will happen to screw up this goodness. I’ve tried ignoring it, but ignoring is not something I’m good at. I’m one of those people who  literally can’t give the cold shoulder. 

So I’m just acknowledging that its there. I don’t need to grasp it and hold on. I can just let it go. 

Maybe this is the sign of a healthy person – letting go of unhelpful thoughts. 

Am I healthy? 

I’m not sure its helpful to worry and agonize over that one…

Candidly, 

Ash

Resilience

I went to the doctor today. 

For the first time in as long as I can remember, I answered ‘no’ to the question. You know, the question about whether I was having suicidal thoughts. 

It felt good. 

He’s a new-ish doctor for me so he didn’t understand that it was a big deal. He doesn’t know how many times I’ve said ‘yes’ to the question. He doesn’t know how many times I’ve lied and said ‘no’. 

The truth is that I’m not depressed right now, anymore. I don’t  remember a time like this. Its a new feeling. 

And I’m waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. 

Because something is always coming. Something can always go wrong. 

But something might not come or, if it does, I’ll handle it better than I would have before. 

If I could get through all that I’ve gone through, then I can handle what is next. 

I believe this is called resilience. 

For the first time, I am resilient. 

Candidly, 

Ash