I just finished reading all my old diaries and journals spanning from age 7 to present. I read my old college psych papers too. And then I printed and read my W.T.F. blog posts start to finish, all 284 pages. Weaving in between joy, sorrow, ah-ha moments, self-discovering, and resilience I caught on to a theme in my life on paper. A not so flattering one where I hold on to things and run from them at the same time. I found it in journal entries, stories I wrote, and research I was drawn to for writing assignments.
When I get an idea, an intention, or set a goal, I simultaneously create distractions that stop me from doing what I really want to do. It’s an attractive and more socially acceptable version of self-sabotage. I eventually end up with sticky notes all over my already too long to-do list, one with a bulleted item telling me to “re-do and prioritize my to-do list.”
I am comfortable being in motion. My brain and my body can’t keep still. I walk, talk, clean, read, and work fast. My co-workers have come to know when I am coming down the hall, because my short legs seem to always have a rushed tone to them. One of my favorite people in this world dubbed me “Roadrunner” when I was about 8 years old. It’s funny because yeah, I was a fast runner as a kid and I still move fast now, but what I didn’t see until I began to round out my 30’s is that the Roadrunner is not just running to run. He is running away from the scary coyote. Just as much as speed has stayed with me all these years, so has running. It’s the fear of being still. That may allow for bad things, like failure or anything I’m not totally in control of catching up to me.
Before the new year I began to think about a word to carry with me throughout 2020. I eventually decided just a word wouldn’t do. I needed something more. Something that would be enough to help save me when I needed it to. It had to be powerful and great and have dual meaning. I needed it to be more than just a word. So, I made a list. I sketched out the words that were coming to me – Hope. Write. Movement. Create and several other demanding one-word directions. I drew lines from each word and added words that came to mind when considering it’s meaning. I started crossing words out that didn’t feel worthy enough and circling the words that sent a little jolt through me. I made a list of the jolt’y words.
Shit. I’m doing it again. I’m purging distractions all over the damn place. I’m holding on to and running from what I actually need to do to complete this seemingly simple thing. Why can’t I just put it down?
And there it was. …put it down. A curious surrendering of sorts.
Just put it down and let the idea marinate. Just put it down and do the fucking happy dance because you just accomplished something remarkable. Just put it down and go get a glass of water because you’ve been thirsty for the last hour. Just put it down and don’t worry about how others may read it. Just put it down and stop worrying about whether what you’re trying to put down will be good enough. Just put it down and look in a different direction if what is in front of you is causing too much stress.
Yes. #putitdownand… This just may work.
2020 will bring me to the end of my 30’s. It is presenting itself new challenges for me already as I continue to accept more opportunities to speak and present. It will bring me in to the third year as the program director for a mental health and substance abuse recovery community residence and that feels like I’m steady on my feet, and confident in creating and challenging change. And then there is the book I’m working on about the collision of my personal and professional life and all that has fallen in between. That on top of being Momma and wife, the keeper of all things life and love.
If diving into my own words, re-introducing myself to decades of my life taught me one thing it’s that I take on too much at times, whether that be projects, other people’s emotions, or even my own. There is a delicate thread between managing the kind of energy I harvest. The key for me will be to walk, not run. Slow down. I must remember to just put it down and be still from time to time.
Nothing will happen if nothing happens. I have to put the anxiety, expectation, joy, fear, simple delight, down. Put it all down and sit in all of it; radically accept the beautiful, sure to be messy year ahead of me. Put it down and bring my senses back to the ground in moments of struggle and humble my ass in moments of greatness.
Just put it down and…