two strokes ahead of time: where i’d rather be

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One of my biggest hurdles and life lessons has been learning how to stay in the present moment. It’s something I struggle with every day and have to work with differently each time the thought comes. I’m not where I want to be. I haven’t achieved what I wish I had. I should be somewhere better by now. I should be more.

I think we all cross these moments of anxiety, of our ego’s talk taking over our frame of thought completely. How do we step back into where we are? How do we get out of that never-ending belief that we aren’t enough right now?

In terms of writing, I made a decision not long after I completed the first draft of my novel and was led to the big move across the country. I made the decision that if I wanted to be in the right place, I had to put all my energy into this move. Into finding an apartment, researching neighborhoods, inspecting the details of who I needed to contact, what changes I needed to make. For the past few months, this big transition has been my sole focus while my book’s progress had to be put on pause.

Now that I’ve settled in, I find my inspiration at a high peak which should be exciting. But instead, it’s just led to this trickling thought of where my draft would be if I had worked on it this whole time. If I hadn’t put it on pause completely so that I could use my energy on moving. How far would that girl have come with her writing? Am I a failure as a writer for making that decision? Could I have just used 50% of my energy on the move and 50% on editing?

Though the inspiration should be exhilarating, it just brings me back to this belief that I’ve fallen behind. But then I ask myself, who am I competing with? What am I racing for?

I’ve worked so hard on this book and I know I’ll continue to make it better with each draft, but the other part of me just wants to get it out there to the public. I want to show you guys this project I’ve been working on for so long. I want to introduce you to my characters. I want you to see all the research I’ve done for it. I want you to know the people I interviewed who played a big role in making this happen. Except it’s still in the works and I still feel behind where I’d like to be.

When I fall into this pattern of feeling behind myself, I have some tools I use now that help. One is blogging, the other journaling, meditating, listing my gratitude, yin yoga or just sitting down and listening to music. All of that helps, but they are also all practices of mine. To slowly get myself back into the present, I have to practise these things every day, utilizing whichever feels right at a certain time.

What I’ve found is that when my scattered mind takes over, it’s usually because I haven’t given enough space for my body to have some control, too. And the great part about bodies is that they usually know what they need. The hard part is learning to listen.

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emotional compass: navigating the feelings I should have felt

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incipient: beginning to exist or appear; in an initial stage

You know when you read a book you can’t put down? A book that just takes you away from life itself, far off into another world, another land, another person’s life. That’s what Dark Matter by Blake Crouch did for me. It was exactly what I needed even though it’s a strange thing to dissect.

Why would someone who has uprooted their life to live far away from their home need a book to transport them away from this life, too? Wouldn’t their reality be enough? Wouldn’t this new objective world that they live in be its own source of satisfaction?

I’ve been wondering the same thing. Why I needed that. Why I still do.

Maybe because in a weird way, even books I have never read are familiar to me. Books have always honed this aura of comfort. They have their way of bringing me home, no matter where that be. Just the act of holding one in my hands, flipping through the pages, reading through the night, knowing I have to wake up early but so badly wanting to know what happens next. So maybe it’s not that a book I’ve never read is familiar to me, but the feeling of reading it is what I always need to feel comfortable anywhere that I am in my life.

I guess it’s slowly creeping up on me, the fact that I don’t know anyone here. The fully fledged feeling itself hasn’t sunk in, but I can sense it’s arrival approaching my way. There are small figments of knowing I should feel lonely, but I don’t yet. I guess because the reality of my situation hasn’t clicked.

Yesterday morning was emotional and I didn’t quite know why. I tried to hold myself back from crying at work and managed to do so by convincing myself that tears didn’t make sense in this moment. I guess with the chaos, the busyness, the fast-paced energy of the uproot – all of it happened so quickly that I haven’t processed it the right way. So I find myself in moments alone, slowly allowing the feelings I was supposed to feel to seep through. They need a path to sink in so that they can go through me. I have a hard time with these feelings, mostly because they come to me at odd times. Times that it wouldn’t make sense to be feeling them. My logical self wants so badly to push past them, coining them irrational. But every other part of me knows I should let them in.

So I found that reading is the best thing for me right now. It’s the perfect in-between source where I will allow myself to feel whatever it is that I need to feel. When something sad is happening to a character, I’ll burst out into tears. Maybe not fully because of that, but also for myself. I let books come to me. If I feel myself gravitating towards it, I know it must have something I need and it always does. Dark Matter did that for me and the next book I read will, too.

Sometimes we need books that way. That’s why we all interpret them differently. It’s because we read them from the state of being that we are currently in, and that’s also why they tend to resonate with us. It’s because we want them to, and they listen.

Right now, as I try to navigate my emotions while trying to not burden them too much with my illogical rationality, I’ll be here reading.

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diluted air: great things happen more than once

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There’s this sea of calm in the air everywhere I go and I have to admit that every change comes with an adjustment, even if it’s a good change. I’m used to busy people rushing through the streets. I’m used to speed-walking, getting pushed to the side as I try to glide my way to work. I’m used to small towns and busy lives. I’m used to waiting for time to pass. Lingering for more moments like the ones I get to experience every day now. It’s an odd thing for me, this life.

It hasn’t set in yet that this life is mine. I walk around like it’s a game and I’m a novice player, making her first attempt. I laugh when I walk by thrift stores, scouring over the home goods that can now have a place in my own apartment. “It’s funny,” I think, because I can’t get myself to believe that any of this is real. That this isn’t just a figment of my imagination or an unconscious dream-like state that I’m in. That this is my reality.

They say this is what happens when you are in the midst of big moments of your life. Maybe this is how you get through them. Maybe this is how you’re not driven to complete insanity. Because you just can’t make sense of it yet. That this is it. This has happened. This is what your life looks like now. You’re married to this person. Or, you’ve had a baby. Or like in my case, you’ve moved across the country by yourself and don’t know anyone or anything here.

I wonder sometimes if this is a glimpse back into what childhood felt like. You’re constantly stimulated by everything around you because everything is new. You’re in awe of this new world, of the simple things. The things that no one else really pays attention to because either they’ve seen it too many times or perhaps they’ve never really looked.

I try to hold myself back from hugging every tree, brushing every hint of green that surrounds me (for the sake of not looking like a crazy person). I don’t know exactly how I fit in here just yet, but somehow none of that matters. Maybe it’s because I finally get to live here being this version of myself. Maybe it’s that I get to decide what kind of life I want or how I want to live it. But I guess everything just feels limitless. Like boundaries seize to exist anymore.

I feel like I’ve left a small world that was so comforting and familiar and entered into something far bigger than myself. Something that seems so out of reach, even though I’ve already arrived. I remember a time when I circled around a thought that nearly paralyzed me but also kept my hope alive. It was: There has got to be more to life than this.

I think I found the more.

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