Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Balance Really Is



I pace the halls of this middle place, so ready to dismantle the graffiti tree but lacking the enthusiasm to act. I think about crayon hearts dangling from every rafter while the new year radiates charm and possibility from the end of the tunnel.

I stew and whine over insignificant plans that didn't quite fall into place. I cry worthier tears over actual heartbreaks.

I'm scattered. Shifting. Unsettled.
My achy humanity throbs against everything I wish I was.

I'm no good at allowing myself to lean into these uninspired, mopey days. I want every day to be a barn-burner. When it's not, I call myself into question. I point fingers and tell lies. I survive these days since I must, but I sure don't do it wearing lipstick.

The problem is, I know living requires long stretches of angst. I know it in theory.

My favorite ex-boss told me once that he spends more time thinking about what he writes than he does actually writing it. 

I remember his words often, and not just because I'm currently trying to unlock something important from my head-space.

These days where nothing seems to happen must hold part of the magic of all those other days. Life has got to be more than a loop of cuteness/goodness/wisdom/cheer.

I need space for reflection, for quiet, for monotony.
I need to experience the mundane in order to cherish it. 

My bullish temperament demands reminders of my wimpiness.
My beating heart deserves to feel the burn of grief and the bruise of sadness.

We say we want balance and this is how it finds us. It's not in a schedule thoughtfully plotted and skillfully executed. It's not in exercising 2-3 times a week for 30 minutes or smaller dinner plates with veggies covering half. It's not regular date nights or girls' nights or bedtimes at the stroke of 10.

The scales never land motionless, in a dead heat.
They teeter and wobble, some of this, a little more of that.
There are two sides and both become meaningless without the weight of the other.

Balance is accepting each wave as the tide rolls in, then out again.
It's sniffling and snotting in the dark to Cory that all hope is lost, then grinning in the morning when the sun comes up anyway and all I can see is a kitchen full of promise and three faces perfectly immune to the complications of adulthood.

I've fallen into a weird pattern of telling myself that whatever is happening right this second is the way it will be now and forevermore, amen.

If I'm having a bad day, the rest of my life looks bleak.
If I'm a grumpy mom, my kids got gypped for life and just don't know it yet.
If I'm uninspired, I've lost my mojo. (It's never coming back.)
Forgot something important? Early-onset dementia.
Bad hair day? Early-onset oldness.
Can't string together a decent row of words? I used to be smart.

Balance is allowing myself to learn from my mistakes - to really get cozy with them, even if it means moping around for short stretch of days.

Balance is letting myself believe that sometimes, I just get it right. I nail it.

My Christmas vacation plans were kicked in the shins and people I love are hurting right now. In just one day, I've been emotional and irrational, overly sensitive like a child. My feelings have been hurt, and it feels silly to admit it. My kids have all gone rogue and I'm probably somewhat to blame. I miss my friends. I feel sorry for myself. I feel bad about feeling sorry for myself. I wore high-water jeans with running shoes and striped socks. My hair was flat. I wasted time when I could have been reading.

All of this is part of who I am, the actual, real me.

But there's more, and if I can accept all that, I can also believe in the parts of me that'll eventually turn it around.

Who knows? Tomorrow, I just might nail it.