Out of Step


Who is that behind the mask?

In spite of my best efforts, I seem to have gotten out of step with myself. I had one goal for the holiday weekend: to get out my hammock and to spend some quality time in it. But I didn’t do it. And that’s fine: I did a bunch of other things: puttered around in the yard, cleaned house, took naps, acquired a couple new shelving units from the roadside market, donated blood, etc.

But some of my more basic goals went undone: I haven’t felt motivated to go running in several days- today included. I don’t really mind in terms of exercise: I’ve been plenty active as a result of the yard work I’ve been doing- which has also gotten me outside for fresh air (the second reason why I am usually so insistent on going running) but I still feel curiously unmoored without it.

I’m trying to teach myself that it’s okay for me to not adhere to a strict routine: that the measure of my worth is not tied to my productivity, but it is stressing me out something fierce. I keep catching myself clenching my jaw. I keep having to remind myself to stay present in what I’m doing instead of spinning out about all the things I feel like I ought to be doing.

I was learning about the notion of self-abandonment as the result of last week’s therapy session: the idea that one can reflexively make choices that go against their instincts as a way of complying to the demands or expectations of others. A part of this involves a conflict between the image we project of ourselves in our mind and the image that others project of us competing for validation. In true Highlander fashion, there can be only one. And when we choose the image as dictated by others it dismisses our projection of self.

I’m discovering that I’ve done this a LOT in my life- much of it without a second thought: whenever I’m in conflict with someone I’m very quick to question my own instincts. So, I’m working on listening to my actual impulses (do I actually feel the impulse to run? No. And that’s okay.) and trying to name my actual feelings in the moment (I feel frustrated, anxious, defensive, disoriented) in the hopes of teasing out what I actually want, versus what I’ve trained myself to respond to.

Why does this have to be so fucking hard?

~ by Gwydhar Gebien on May 26, 2020.

2 Responses to “Out of Step”

  1. Donated blood? At this time…in crisis? I know “they” say it’s very generous and kind to do so…but…no. I cannot do that. I don’t like needles. And, especially when some infectious thing is running rampant and contact is crucial/dangerous…no. I will not risk my life, my blood to spreading the problem.

    I wish I could be more athletic when it’s not terribly hot, yet. But, spring allergies just suck. And, I need to look for medicine that doesn’t raise BP.

    You and I are, again, similar creatures, creatures raised on routine. We went to school with schedules. And, though those schedules could be stressful, they gave us structure. We are like climbing vines in need of a lattice. And, without the lattice, we question our growth and direction…yet, I bet, we both also don’t want so much restriction that we cannot think outside the box, now and then. We want freedom to BE and yet we want structure to guide us, dots to connect so we have a heading and the boat to sail that way. We don’t necessarily want everything to be easy…but too much challenge, and we fold.

    If my teeth aren’t clenching, it’s my nostrils not working or my joints flexing to work out some tiny bit of discontent inside myself. Constant internal combustion just itching to PSST! out of me like steam in a factory. The mind always cog-in around…what should I be doing…what could I be doing to make more use of my time….and am I serving myself enough…serving others enough…am I self-sufficient or just being someone’s tool?

    Can I go shopping for Highlander swords with you? I can see you in a long black coat with a katana strapped to your hip. I don’t know how I’d dress. But, this is a both comical and possibly realistic notion. Imagine having to finally face some evil entity causing us all trouble and settling the score so we can live in peace and happiness, once and for all, instead of grinding our gears over the meaning of life and putting up with crappy people corrupted by the darkness.

  2. What is that symbol tattooed on your collarbone?

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