Pressing Pause on the Existential Player for a Spell

I wrote a posting yesterday that took me by surprise because I found it to be more personally oriented than I thought it’d be. It was one of those writing things that starts with “Well, I’m having eggs for breakfast” and after 250 words turns into a treatise on the human condition of hope and the political cures for it.

Yeah, all right. So this is why, even when you think you have nothing to say, you start with what you know: I just had eggs, I feel warm and fuzzy inside. And, hey, I just read this speech…

I don’t know, I found writing that post to be somewhat jarring emotionally, which is what surprised me, and greatly.

In this historic speech of his, Obama talks about how this change he envisions for the country will not be an easy road; it’ll be long, hard, and fraught with emotionally challenging reckoning.

At the start of this year, I sort of laid down a mental list of things I felt I needed to work on in order to make my life into something that is an ideal that works for me and allows me to achieve the work-life balance I’ve longed for, with a big focus on the health and home parts of life.

I knew it was going to be hard, and I knew it’d involve a lot of headtrips for which I’d be packin’ a whole lot of mental baggage, and I figured the journey would be pretty bumpy with a lot of stop-and-go.

I was bang on. There are moments when I’m feeling really overwhelmed by the mess I’ve gotten myself into this year and it just keeps feeling like the work to do is so much greater than the work that’s been done. Which is true. It will continue to be long and hard. Probably for at least another year.

Now and then it pays out for a short while. Like, this weekend, as the literal mess around me is coming to the beginnings of a close. That’ll keep me happy for 24 or 36 hours, and then I’ll realize I’ve more to do to get myself out of not only this rut that defined my life in recent past, but most of the life that preceded it.

Most of what goes on behind closed minds isn’t really yet fit for publishing, so you’ll have to content yourself to know only that the mental turmoil is great that one goes through in revisiting every thing about one’s life to decide what parts of one are worth keeping as-is, but also what parts need major updating.

It’s a endless flashbacks through a lifetime of moments that might’ve been, should’ve been, and even great ones that were. It’s a kaleidoscope of yesteryears, but it ain’t all pretty and going into the light. Some is dark, dark, dark.

And it’s really, really hard to remember that, beneath all the areas that require work, lies one hell of a frame befitting of such a remodel. The parts that are worth keeping are the parts so deserving of this work now. That’s the thing that’s hard to remember, the thing that’s worth repeating every single day. Everything is worth this outcome. This is worth that.

There are no magical red shoes you click three times and say matter-of-factly, “There’s no one like me” to mystically propel you into the idealized dream self you hold deep inside.

No, instead, the phrase “only human” comes up time and time again as one battles their way to a better self. Weakness and temptation rear their heads constantly. And there’s that horrifically skewed perspective.

Daily we stand before mirrors scrutinizing ourselves, with millions of synapses firing, more thoughts than we’ll ever even know are thought in a blink of an eye as we stare at our sleep-weary morning or nighttime faces. So many of the thoughts well beyond our control, many not to our advantage. Like Oasis sings, “All your dreams are made, when you’re chained to your mirror with your razor blade….” So too are our judgments.

Every moment we live, we judge ourselves a little. “Oh, I should have done this.” “Next time, I’ll do it this way…”

And every little fuck-up, shortcoming, failing, they add up, stuffed into little drawers in the recesses of our minds. Filed under headings like “whoopsies-daisies” or “colossal screw-ups”, ‘cos we’ve all been there, we’ve all had the inner groan in which we wish we could’ve had a three-minute do-over ‘cos that never shoulda happened, right? “If only.”

Usually, though, after a little while, our psyche leaves that filing room, turns off the light, and that moment’s never unearthed again. But when you’re going through a process of evaluating yourself, it’s like a board of review of your existence being conducted; all the evidence should be reevaluated, and, unfortunately, most of it is.

In my older, wiser self, I’m cutting slack on certain things in the past. I’m consciously remembering life is fluid, and far more flexible than our fears would have us believe. I’m holding to certainties like hard work pays off and desires can be actualized. I know my failings in the past have made me who I am, and will so greatly temper who I become, adding depth and understanding. All for the greater good, right? (And, thankfully, my life has had great deals of good in it, too. Living for the moment really has advantages.)

It’s a strange and turbulent time for me, though, and I’m wising up pretty quickly in the process. I’m also proving very quickly to myself that I can in fact make all the change I’m dreaming of become a reality. I’m doing it week by week, accomplishing more of my vision, and the feeling is an aphrodisiac for itself; doing it makes you want to do more of it, despite the ordeals that may lead up to the payoff.

It’s a wearying toil sometimes, and an emotional road. Like any epic roadtrip, rest stops are required. This weekend’s a rest stop. I’m at the end of another phase of the reinvention of Steff, and a little quiet time is needed so I can mentally map the next segment of this journey of mine.

Having a clear idea of the real, constructive steps I must take to make my dreams become reality is by far the most important part of my battle. I couldn’t do this every week if I didn’t know the real steps I can take that will always yield real results, results that add up into moments of change.

And I guess when I was sitting there yesterday thinking of why it is Barack Obama’s tremendous speech on race and the struggles that must be faced to conquer demons of the past in order to actualize a nation held in the ideals of its very own framework, the constitution, I couldn’t help but think of how much it is I feel I am entitled to but have not yet earned, and how much I need to understand where it is I’m coming from before I can truly know where it is I’m going.

I cannot say how great it feels to be able to reference a political speech as a thing of inspiration. These have not been inspiring times to live through of late, and to find such a thing of hope and realism on the political landscape was and is a jarring experience, but one I’m beginning to hope there’s a lot more of.

Meanwhile, for me, it’s back to the musings of a closed mind. Enjoy your day, good people.

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