I’d like to say I took a hiatus from blogging over the summer because I was so into writing two (three? it’s all a blur) books and living my life to the fullest and grabbing every adventure to come my way and generally being the most perfect, fully-functioning, adjusted, self-actualized individual on the planet.
This is not true.
Okay, some of it is. I did write a lot. Totally lost days and time (and personal hygiene) and descended into two (yeah, I remember now, it was two) kickass books I cannot wait to unleash on you.
I also decided to step out of my comfort zone and do at least one new thing each week. It doesn’t matter what it is. It can be as out of my norm as hitting up acupuncture (which I did…more on that later) or as easy as deciding to listen to some soothing music while I make my bed and journal in the morning.
Whatever it is, it simply must be different, something I’ve never done before, even if it might not be something I’ll ever do again.
But this sprung from the fact that it slapped me in the face (again, for perhaps the 3,497,989th time in my life) that I’m not perfect, fully-functioning, adjusted or anywhere near self-actualized.
Boiling that down, this summer, I hit some of my patented “Blue Funks.”
That’s what I call them, and some of them get bluer…to the point they’re so dark, they’d say to midnight, “Hey, turn down the lights!”
Fortunately, this time, that depth of darkness didn’t happen. Fortunately, this time, I’d put in enough work that I could identify with the fact that I was slipping into a funk and then…
That’s the question.
I identified what was going on, but then what?
Cue the usual:
- Beating myself up I slipped into another funk. (Been there, done that, got so many T-shirts, I could open a fucking store).
- Scrambling to figure out how, in the quickest possible way, I can climb out of this funk. (Ditto the above.)
- Grow frustrated I didn’t achieve that and scramble to find another, quickest possible solution to this issue. (You’re seeing the pattern.)
- Through this, ask myself the myriad of existential questions: Why am I in a funk? Why do I keep falling into these funks? Why can’t I control these funks? What do these funks say about me? Am I weak? Am I stupid? As I try to figure this out, am I not digging deep enough? Why do I journal if it hasn’t cured this? Why do I meditate if I can’t fucking still my mind? Why are Starla’s eyes so blue? Is Chris Hemsworth’s voice the most beautiful man’s voice in history? Or is that Sam Elliott? Why is it taking so long to get more Yellowstone?
You know, the deep questions that lead to understanding the meaning of life.
As all this happened, weeks passed, then months, going up, coming down, asking questions, kicking my own ass, rinse, repeat…
Lo and Behold…
I stumbled on to something.
Well, two things actually.
No, a dizzying number of things.
But allow me to try to sum up.
First, every morning I meditate and journal and read ten pages (at least) of a book that is not strictly for fun but is a book that will expand my mind or teach me something.
And if I hold this ritual sacred, shit starts getting better.
Which led me to finishing up Michelle Obama’s Becoming (which is exceptional, by the way) and starting a book I bought years ago, and began to read, and it blew my mind, but for some reason, I never finished it.
Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.
That was when things got really interesting. And when I say that, it’s one of the very few understatements I’ve made in my history.
Now, allow me to sum that up. Not all of it, but where it’s taking me (so far—I’m not finished with the book yet).
Life can suck. Shit can happen. Every day is not going to be perfect. I am not going to be perfect. Ever. I am going to have funks. I’m going to get irritated. Or frustrated. Or depressed. Or angry. I might eat too much. I might skip my morning ritual. I might forget to be a decent person and pull out in front of somebody when that would annoy me if someone did it to me.
Why do I expect so much of me, the people around me, the world as a whole?
How about I cut everything some slack, starting with myself.
I have, from the time I realized that every day I can find ways to be a better person—which was way back in my twenties, to now—understood that I’m a work in progress.
The thing I didn’t get was…
I enjoy the work.
But, you know, it’s work.
I have the single greatest job on the planet, writing romance novels. That said, there are some parts that aren’t so fun. Like, I need to keep my website updated. I’d far rather be writing a first-kiss scene then copying and pasting a blurb and buy links on my website. Oh, and I don’t find writing blurbs fun. Oh, I’m also not a fan of the time it takes to set up buy links.
Then there’s the other parts. The awesome parts. The life-affirming parts. The I-was-put-on-this-earth-to-do-this parts. The writing of the books. The interacting with my Chicklets. Working with my designer to create my book covers. There’s more, it’d take forever to list it, but it all rocks.
And there’s so much of it, that blurb-writing, website-updating shizzle…well, who cares?
I love what I do, so all the moving parts are so freaking totally worth it, I don’t even think about them. I just do them and onward.
That’s where I got to on this other huge-ass, life-long project I’m on. The work of being the best me. The work (like my writing) that will never die…until I do.
Always, I’m in progress…and I don’t love every second of it, but in the end, that being every new day I wake up, I get a better me. A more-functioning, better-adjusted, closer-to-self-actualized me.
I get to learn that acupuncture significantly reduces pain, including in a broken foot. It also helps with allergies, joint pain and sleep. Further, the process of it is one of the only times (and I meditate every day, mind) where I can absolutely clear my mind and just…be.
I get to come to the understanding that my grounding comes from my morning ritual, and although there are times when this might not happen (and I need to allow those times without beating myself up for it and thinking I’m a failure, when I’m not, I’m just alive and shit happens to mess up even our best intentions), I truly need to strive to do it every morning to assist me in keeping the Blue Funk at bay.
And I get to learn that regardless, a Blue Funk will come…but it will also go, and life will go on.
So now, I don’t know. I’m dreaming weird dreams. People and beings that I’ve lost, (particularly my beloved mother-in-law, and my cat, Axl) keep coming to mind and causing me bouts of melancholy. I just came out of a period where my sleep was interrupted repeatedly for nights on end for over a month (slept straight through the last few nights, thank you, Modern Acupuncture), and I had a few days where I was feeling ill.
In other words, recently, I have not been tiptoeing through the tulips.
But I’m fine.
I’m great even, in a wild, weird, wonderful way.
Because I get it more than I did before. Because I’m smarter than I was yesterday. Because pulling out in front of somebody is totally uncool, and I’ll probably do it again, but I’m so aware of it, that will be rare. More, I’ll realize that the person pulling out in front of me might not be an asshole, they might just be doing something asshole-ish in that moment that they’ll regret later. Because tonight is Cooking Club, and I’m gonna get to eat lots of yummy food and spend time with two people I dig a whole lot.
Because my work is worthwhile, all of it.
Because I’m breathing.
And best of all…
Even when it’s not going so awesome, I’m making the most of it.