Wednesday, March 27, 2019

CONTENDING WITH CONTENTMENT

I am writing not at all. At all. It’s an interesting place to be, writing not at all when I spent years in school using every spare moment to get my pages done and when after Jim died words surged from my fingertips like flame, prompting my most productive healing. No, “interesting” isn’t the right word for where I am. That’s a filler word, a word I use to be polite. “Do you like my dress?” “Oh my! It’s so interesting!” Put the right tone behind that word and it can masquerade as a term of endorsement.

No, I’m not in an interesting place. When it comes to my writing I’m in a nothing place. Word-wise, I feel inert, and for people who write or have written, there’s nothing less compelling or more common than that.

So here I am—I’m common. It doesn’t feel good, but evidently it doesn’t bother me enough to excite action.

The problem could be this: I’m terribly powerful in crisis. When everything is falling apart around me, I rally like a boss. But nothing is wrong, so I do not know how to be my best self. I'm stuck.

I’m not asking for something to—please, oh please—get effed up. I’m perfectly content to teach yoga, go to trainings to make me better at teaching yoga, grouse about my aging dogs, love my Jason, and learn how to bake better bread. Yet it’s contentment that seems to be the death of a me I am proud to be. What am I when there isn’t anything wrong? I don’t know what to be when I’m not required to be incredible. Additionally, as I’ve said before, I feel like that means that the woman Jason loves is a poor representation of what I could be, so poor handsome Jason. Now, if only something was terribly off . . . which I don’t want. I really don’t. Yet I definitely miss the Megan that’s not a middling bore.

My mom has always said that I find the most difficult ways to get things done. I never do set out to behave that way, but perhaps there’s a part of me that knows that I’ll like myself best if I’m challenged—because when totally challenged, I’m totally awesome—so I follow a series of choices that leave me doing things the hard way.

When I was going through the roughest parts of losing Jim, so many people told me I was inspiring. I hated that. Often my family heard me whine that I didn't want to inspire people. I wanted naught more than to be able to wash my hair and to try to not wish I was dead. However, just by doing those things with marginal success, I came off as such an inspiration! Gross. I wasn't interested inspiring anyone. Well, except myself. I think I did want to inspire me. 

Perhaps the most dangerous thing for me to do is to say—or write—aloud that my life is too easy for me to like me. What a great way to chum the waters of tribulation, eh? In the first week of grad school, I mentioned that my life was too uneventful to have anything to write about. Then my husband had an affair and I got a divorce. Less than a week before Jim was killed I blogged that our life was so much fun that it seemed as if he had a terminal disease, like we were cramming in all the best parts before it was too late. Then he died. I’m not asking for hardship. I want Jason to keep loving me. I want my body to function. I want my family healthy. But because I’m greedy, I also want to figure out how to admire myself through the adversity of calm.

No, of course not everything is peachy. I’m a human being, so I have regular challenges like everyone else; I even complain about mine more than everyone else does. I have emotional scarring. I have brain and body baggage aplenty. But without a significant trial winding me up, I’m having a hell of a time figuring out where to direct my store of designated mustering energy. In me somewhere is a supply of latent excellence that no tragedy is requiring me to tap, and so I'm unnecessarily lingering in a state of mediocrity. It seems I'm doing this by choice! I know I have the capacity to be remarkable, and I'm just electing to, well, not. 

So what lesson is there to learn here? I really ask that garbage. Just like I really do try to make my yoga practice useful off of my mat by inquiring of myself if the things I do are intentional. Am I living on purpose? I’m 37 years old next month and I feel like it’s time to intentionally push myself rather than be pushed by circumstance or outside force. But in what direction? And in what way? Oh, I haven’t a bleeding clue.

No comments: