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Perils and Podcasts

It's amazing how quickly time passes

One minute I'm putting down mulch and pulling weeds, the next I'm raking leaves and taking the kids out trick-or-treating. Time has flown by faster than a flock of geese on their way down south.

So, if you're wondering what I've been up to (and why wouldn't you? Ha!), I've been working a part-time job in retail, getting quite a bit of exercise, and taking care of my ARFID kid. In between, I've prepared and presented a presentation on character arc for Lilac City Rochester Writers, written 80% of a movie I started in the summer, started a novel for NaNoWriMo (more on that in another post), and worked on a YA series titled Hoops.

You'd think I was busy enough, but now I'm trying to get a second job so I can pay some bills. I had to buy a new car (my 15-year-old Toyota was starting to show its age, both in the form of rust and parts that quit working), a new computer (thanks to my IT boyfriend for helping to make that a reality), and some new clothes (but that's just my guilty pleasure, so let's not go there right now).

But the most important thing I've been working on?

My attitude!

See, this has been another stressful year. It feels like as time plods on, stress becomes cement attached to my shoes. Some days my feet are too heavy to lift, so I remain stagnant. Unhappy. And if you read my last post, you understand I have my moments where I feel stuck in those shoes forever.

Maybe you feel this way, too, sometimes. Maybe you're just watching the days tick-tock away while the TV blares in the distance and plates stack up in the sink. Maybe you've had those cement shoes on for so long, your feet have forgotten the feeling of soft carpet beneath bare soles.

So, what's a person to do with a little time to kill while running around the block and lifting weights? Listen to inspirational podcasts, of course!

A little background

I don't talk about this much, but I was bullied in the 7th and 8th grade. My parents were unavailable to me, they were having relationship issues and Dad disappeared one day. Mom couldn't hold herself together. So I bore all the grief and agony of my parents while kids threw spitballs into my hair and tripped me in the hallways. What grew from this experience was compassion. Loads and loads of it. So much, that I spent a lot more time caring for other people and trying to make their lives better, that I neglected my own. Healthy boundaries didn't exist because people needed me.

I now understand that there is something very selfish in that statement. I was hungry for people to need me. As long as I was there to take care of them, they wouldn't abandon me. If they had no one else to turn to at any hour of the day, they'd always come back to me, no matter what.

Really, I'm trying to heal that little girl who needed someone...and no one was there for her. This was why I found myself in some many co-dependent relationships. Narcissists loved me. I was a prime candidate for filling them up with every ounce of my essence. And when I sat alone, angry, confused, baffled, I wondered what did I do wrong? I had given every relationship my all, and still I was unsatisfied.

Listen to the present

The one thing I gleaned from these podcasts, some which spoke to me louder than others, was that I lived in the past and the future. If you don't know what this means, think about this: "Why didn't he love me? Why didn't I major in what I really wanted to learn in college? Why did she hurt me? What will happen to me when I'm old? Where will I live if I run out of money? Will I ever marry again?"

If this sounds familiar, it's because most of us do this. Ask yourself (as I asked myself): "What am I gaining from wallowing in the past and fearing for the future?" Answers might include: "I'm trying to understand what went wrong" or "I need to be prepared for the worst."

Now ask yourself: "And how is that working for you?"

My answer: "It's not."

What good is it to know what went wrong when it's too late to fix it? Just because a communication issue occurred in a past relationship doesn't mean the same thing will happen in the current one. Beating myself up over my mistakes or wishing things had turned out differently in my life doesn't change the past. And looking into a future that has not yet happened and can not be predicted doesn't make me calmer.

But being in the present...yes. That I can deal with. That I can master.

I'm still me

I still care deeply about my friends and their issues. I still remember things that happened and secretly berate myself for playing my part in my problems. And I still wonder what the future holds and if things will one day become easier.

But I also have stopped trying to go too far backwards or forwards. And maybe staying present can feel a lot like wearing those cement shoes and not moving. But in the moment I still can choose. I can choose to draw, paint, sing, dance. I can choose to find out information about a class I'd like to take, or a new makeup routine. And that choice is like slipping out of the cement shoes into a comfortable pair of fluffy slippers.

For a moment, time can stop. And I can breathe.

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