The Journal Diaries 3: Overwhelm, Worry, Fear & Their Antidotes (29 years old)

This is the third in a new blog series, sharing some of the hundreds of journal entries I've made over the years. I started journaling at age 12 and have kept up with it, more or less, ever since. I have a shelf full of old diaries and notebooks; it's the first spot I'll run to if there's ever a fire. I have learned so much about myself and my neuroses and patterns and, more than anything, my inner depths and my enduring interests by re-reading my journals now and then. Writing down my thoughts has been perhaps the single most important practice in my life. 

I remember being a teenager and thinking "Maybe after I die someone will read my journals and realize they're not alone." A decade later, blogging came along, and I realized that I could use this new medium to share my deepest, most secret, most vulnerable truths with others so that they, and I, would know that we're all in this together. And blogging did open up a whole new world of connection for me, and has empowered me to share and trust my voice, no matter how scary and personal the subject matter I'm writing about is. 

Through this series, I hope to realize the dream I had 20 years ago of sharing my private thoughts in order to normalize, comfort, and connect...

frustration

I was inspired by an Instagram post I put up this morning to share this journal entry from five years ago as the next installment in this series. I'm in the same emotional space today as I was when I wrote the entry below- complete overwhelm and like there's this crushing force bearing down on me. All my shortcomings, all the unfinished things on my To Do list, lack of money, feelings of failure & isolation, are all adding up to create a storm of worry and fear that I have to fight to not get sucked into. I know it will pass. I know I will learn necessary things. I know others have problems much more real and devastating than mine. I know that gratitude, love, and time are the answers.

But right now, I just feel like Mycelia did in this photo, one of the only ones I have from this time in my life. My crazy car accident (which I blogged about in Unexpected Healing: Past Trauma & Cellular Release) happened soon after I wrote this entry...

"1/27/10

Crazy times. How to not let the stress eat away at me. At least I'm not the only one. We're not the only ones. Money, jobs, rent, bills, credit cards, cars, moving, landlord, preschool, payments, account balance, no dental insurance, crazy 3 year old, challenging relationship, debt, rain, mud, flu, bumping up against walls of uncertainty and adversity everywhere I/we turn. Fights. Worry. Anxiety. Aches. Winter. Smog check. DMV. Storage unit. Doctor's appt from a year ago still unpaid. Owe. Borrow. Spend. Clothes. Dishes. Fits. Cramps. Exhaustion/insomnia. Crying, remembering.

This too shall pass. Hopefully before I die."

Many things have changed, of course, since that was written. I moved the debt, credit cards, storage unit, challenging relationship, and fights out of my life. My daughter grew past that phase. The DMV isn't so easy to be done with. Nor landlords. I still struggle with rent, bills, and money on a regular basis. I've prioritized having time (namely, time with my daughter) over money, and that choice has had consequences. I'm doing better now financially than I have since conceiving a child in my early 20s with someone I barely knew at the same time as I quit my job, sold all my belongings, and got rid of my apartment. In other words, I'm doing better now than when I started with absolutely nothing but a fetus growing inside me and a brand new relationship nine years ago.

But I'm still not comfortable; I don't feel safe. I think one of the cruelest things I've ever seen is those videos where someone makes another person think they've won the lottery and, after some moments of disbelief during which they are assured it's for real, the person dissolves into a puddle of emotion. It's not because they're envisioning a vacation in the tropics or owning a large yacht; it's because they're envisioning a life without having to constantly struggle just to survive. I've dreamt of a moment like that a thousand times, a moment when I realize that I don't have to struggle anymore. I can't even imagine how good that would feel, how immediately the years of worry and tension would start to unravel from my body. How safe I would feel. (I know, I know. Safety cannot be assured by money. But, c'mon).

Anyway, I didn't mean for this post to be about my financial struggles. I've managed to pay my rent more or less on time every month for the year that I've lived without a boyfriend or roommate to share costs with. I've gone on fun trips (mostly funded my other people, but still). I've sure as hell bought myself new clothes. And I've grown a business, and I'm really excited about where it's going next.

This too shall pass. It always does. And when it does, I have been opened in new ways and have integrated lessons necessary for my next step in life.

A month after the entry above I wrote this one...

"2/21/10

Oh I am so deeply feeling everything right now. When I bleed, I feel. I feel everything I've ever blocked or lodged in some muscle or nerve somewhere. All the beauty and all the pain the whole world over is there, and existence is no less mysterious than ever, than when I first bled in the midst of that adolescent confusion within a culture that stifled any awe, any true glimpse of the vast wonder of being. I have always been sensitive but it wasn't until 16, on psilocybin mushrooms, that something was cleft open inside of me and I was finally able to access that depth. And it threw me. I cried tears of joy. And soon after found myself in a bottomless pit of depression- the realization and fear of death, my own and others. And since then it's been a balancing act between crying shuddering at the sheer beauty, wonder, and joy at being alive and the overwhelming pain, cruelty, and destruction this existence also enfolds.

All of the people I love and want to love more. All of the experiences I will never have, the blue whales running into massive barges being left a bloody bruised floating corpse. And wanting to share all of this with the people I love and everyone else too, and knowing that my sensitivity and passion are not shared by all, have caused more than one raised eyebrow, that I bare my heart on my sleeve seeking that connection, but sometimes find scorn." 

Thanks for letting me bare my heart here you guys. Every week I get emails or Instagram comments from people saying these posts have helped them. It means everything to me. I realized when Mycelia was a baby and there were constantly new challenges that as soon as I reached out publicly and shared what I was struggling with, it would shift. That very day it would get better. It happened this morning. After days of feeling very low and weepy, I posted about it on Instagram. By this afternoon my energy had started to shift and I was able to get things that had been weighing me down done. And it's not just the kind and sympathetic comments, though those help IMMENSELY, it's something in the act of acknowledging one's pain and sharing it in hopes of connecting with others and maybe helping them too. There's a sort of alchemy that happens when we are real and vulnerable and share our struggles with others. And it heals. 

Oh and- for all the feels, for all the wonder and insanity and beauty and pain and love we all experience living in the world today- this song. This goddamn perfect song. He wrote it on his wedding day, a wickedly smart and cynical man who was blown open by the beautiful vulnerability of falling in love and made my favorite album of the last couple years out of that experience.