May 20, 2020
Dear Darkened Rose,
I’m in a constant state of feeling as though I could use just a bit more sleep. This year, the amount of time I have spent up at work has increased which is quite opposite of what I had hoped for during these months. I had been looking forward to focusing on planning a wedding during this time. That being said, with my perfectionist tendencies, maybe scattering my focus could prove to be a necessary evil by way of which will ultimately amount to productivity. I have learned to recognize a lot about myself while social distancing.
I try to hide my anger a lot. People closest to me might have seen otherwise, but I think to my outer circles I tend to try to suppress anger as much as possible. I have never found it rewarding. Caleb is my counterpart there, and has seemingly felt the same way about sadness. We have both worked hard to meet each other in the middle by understanding the utility (and lack there of) in both emotions.
Quarantine has somewhat facilitated bringing out the anger in me, which has really been uprising for quite some time. I have been regrettably abrupt with coworkers, and a bit aggressive in my explanations of how I continue to choose to not be more helpful to others. Which is unfamiliar. I look forward to the moment when I am fitting into my schedule more sleep and meditation so that I can adjust back to my normal self. Being angry and unhelpful feels unsettling, but I am learning how to set reasonable boundaries in the process.
I have also learned that many of my fears have often been integrated with the idea of limited time.
Running out of time to make something of myself in high school; loosing time with you if you were to die (a fear that turned into a reality); spending too much time flipping through boyfriends; spending too little time single; wasting time working on relationships that might not be fruitful; being too old to be codependent and to not have a degree; spending too much time focusing on a death (10 years is a long time). Then, there has been the most daunting of all of my fears, running out of time to bare and raise a child of my own. These being what comes to mind quickly, but far from a complete list.
All of these fears have manifested into shame when I have felt as though I could not settle them. Curbing this shame has been somewhat of a piece of art for me that I decided to start working on in my later 20s and now early 30s. I do not find strength in admitting my fears. However, I do find strength in knowing I can find ways of walking past the pit of shame right beyond the fears, and moving forward more constructively.
If you have never been ashamed of yourself, then I do not think I can trust you.
I like to believe that blindly confident people are also just naive (and blissfully so) as they go about touting their toxic positivity. I am sure that is unfair and awful for me to be so openly judgmental about. But I do. I judge them all. Which is, of course, because I wish I were able to be more confident and blissful, myself.
It’s a wonder how often relentlessly positive people have actually managed to curate something useful out of a hard hit of shame. It is then that they might recognize that they could no longer ask themselves to remain carelessly optimistic. Instead, they would have to develop a way to display a degree of radical acceptance, and those are two very different perspectives. It would serve a lot of people for them to learn the difference between preaching toxic positivity versus radical acceptance, especially if they have the intent to really influence others.
Everyone should not live in a constant state of shame forever. You really can invest no trust in someone at that level, either. An exhausted nihilist is no more entertaining than the person who boastfully attends or speaks at conferences. You know, the ones who peacock and act like they have reached a higher state of being and are gaining the most out of life when they can talk about themselves and their achievements. Them and the nihilists are two sides of the same coin. You have to be comfortable enough to dip your toes into the simple version of each of those perspectives as often as needed. It’s really a balancing act most should learn to refine with humility.
One thing I learned from my travels in Europe (from others’ experiences and my own) is just how unproductive it is to stake a claim in the state of discomfort. Allowing any moment to flow through me with disregard for my discomfort or another’s, provided me with a more proficient state of being present. Which sounds terrible, but I think the lesson was essential for me and my growth. Having learned how to do this while taking a course in “Magic, Ritual, and Religion,” was somewhat serendipitous.
Learning about Buddhism helped me recognize that life is an experience.
More so, it is an impertinent and impermanent collection of phenomena, but I’ll spare you the mess. For me, it is easy to say simply that it is a single experience. To be able to pick up and drop off the concept of it’s impermanence is useful.
I have often struggled to find a sense of linearity to my life, as I have coped by viewing most of my life’s parts as temporary suffering. My timeline has long felt off kilter (most notably since your death), but I recognize now that this collection of suffering amounts to only a piece of my experience of life. Does any of that make sense?
Regardless, I’m making long strides in working through my issues. I say it often and will again—I am not necessarily happy these days, but rather I am merely aware of myself. I am still on high alert of my intrusive thoughts and thinking errors, and find ways to move on. With the understanding that my peace of mind will wax and wane, I try to wait patiently for the moments it appears full—only to understand that it will soon wane again.
On my days off from work, I try to just sit. Sometimes in the backyard watching Bongo try to catch flies during the day and fireflies at night. Sometimes I sit on the garage floor for over half an hour, with a weighted backpack and hiking shoes on trying to pump myself up to walk my daily, two-mile neighborhood walk. I wave to my regulars (neighbors who are often stationed outside), and just imagine that they’re tacitly working on themselves also.
As this world sits quietly and attempts to wait patiently, I really resonate with rounding out with an energy of hope more than agitation. Zooming out and looking at time as something that can be constructed solely by me. Viewing it from the perspective of my life experience as a larger entity has really empowered me. I have reduced it to a question that I can ask of myself—“Do you want this to be a part of your life experience?”
DOES ANY OF THAT MAKE SENSE?
As always—I love you. I miss you.
Enclosed are cool things.
The Song: Time by Jack Garratt
The puppy pictures I owe you: