#3. I'm Just Gonna Hit Send
Welcome to issue #3 of my newsletter! (You can find #1 and #2 here.) I’m writing to you from the sky, on my way back to LA from spending two months in Costa Rica, where, up in this pressurized metal tube, all moisture from the humidity of the jungle has been sucked immediately out of my body, and dormant bug bites have become desperately itchy again, as though they know their time on my skin is coming to an end and they want one last hurrah. I understand. I, too, claw for the edges when it feels like I'm falling into oblivion.
On that note, thank you for reading! <3
A few days before I left, someone asked me how my time in Costa Rica had been. I paused for a moment, not wanting to default to the customary but closed off “Good!” or, worse, that well-meaning and smiling falsehood “Great!”
“Illuminating,” I finally said.
A welcome eavesdropper chimed in.
“Did you say ‘illuminating’ or ‘eliminating’?”
I paused again. “I said ‘illuminating’, but… both, actually!”
We three chuckled, recognizing the cosmic humor in both of those words needing each other to fulfill their respective prophecies.
I don’t have breakdowns often, but when I do, it’s probably because I’m sleep deprived and drinking too much. They usually incubate while I’m sleeping then birth themselves screaming into the world upon my waking. Luckily, they don’t last very long, so I have an entire day to resurrect myself from the ashes of my own mental destruction.
If the subject of my last breakdown (see issue #1) was feeling like I’ve run out of time, the subject of this (thankfully far less intense) breakdown is the exact opposite: feeling like I’ve got all the time in the world. So much time, in fact, that the pressure to do something with all that time becomes paralyzing rather than invigorating and inspiring.
As a child, I liked the idea of some parts of growing up, the ones romanticized in television and on movies, like wearing flowy but formidable work clothes to some easy yet high-paying job, jet-setting, somehow owning a mansion with a clawfoot bathtub in every bathroom, smoking cigarettes and becoming a mostly functioning alcoholic.
As a child in a grown-up’s body, I resist other parts of growing up, the more meaningful and existential ones, like being responsible for myself (or being responsible at all), breaking needless patterns, embracing change. If I have time to get to all of that later, why do it now?
Speaking of time, I'm back at home and days have passed since I began the first part of this writing. I still don't know if jet lag is real or just an abbreviation for all the changes that occur inside and outside the body: feelings, climate, scenery, routine, dogs, bugs.
After half-assedly weighing the merits of consistency versus perfection, I've decided to lean towards the former because if I'm being honest with myself, I'm anxious-ambivalently attached to perfection, so I'll conclude with a list of mind morsels:
I painted the above six years ago, long before I'd remember my deep fear of the ocean. The water always looks alluring from bird's eye or beach towel. How is that to be outside of something can feel worlds different from being inside of it?
For me, there's a difference between being in between versus being in the middle. In between is unsure. In the middle is purposeful. In between makes me feel anxious. In the middle makes me feel at peace.
"It's enough for me to carry but it's heavy shit." - A client.
You know how sometimes when you're here, but you want to be a specific kind of there but there's no way to get there so you have to just be okay with being here all the way there? Yeah. That's where I am.
I wish drinking or drugs would help with the above, but nothing helps (not that I'm trying to make drinking or drugs help, don't worry), I've learned this much. Sometimes (always) there's nothing to do except ride the wave to the other side. I think I learned that from Buddhism. At least there's one tenet I adhere to that I prescribe to clients and to anyone who listens.
It's good for me to send this out without being thrilled about it and with wanting it to be over with. Good enough is good enough! Also, Glennon Doyle said we should stop doing our best. I couldn't love that advice more and I'm passing it along to you in case you love it, too!
Until next time-