It was a good practice learning to sit with discomfort (something I am not good at) yesterday when I repaired the super foggy headlights on my car. It was getting to the point that I almost couldn’t see at night, which is not safe, especially with shorter days coming up next week. Plus I drive around rural areas a lot, and wildlife tend to lurk on the side of the road, waiting for you to pass so they can get their nightly thrills in.
Being the do it myselfer that I am, I got a kit at the auto parts store, read the instructions and set about making clear headlight lenses. 45 minutes of sanding and polishing by hand, several trips to the side of the house to refill my pitcher with water and a brief stop for a hot biscuit later, I had beautifully clear and new-looking headlights.
It was hard, it was a lot of sanding (my Fitbit thought I had run for half an hour) and I am so out of shape that it was a pretty substantial effort for me. I didn’t enjoy it, my arm got tired, I got frustrated by occasionally splashing water where I didn’t want it, I didn’t like the smell of the chemicals, I didn’t like getting the final lens coating on my ungloved hand and I didn’t like that I couldn’t just buy a new car.
But I persevered, I followed the steps, I pushed through my discomfort, and I accomplished something that is for my own benefit and well-being. Turns out, in more ways than one.
You know the when you’ve been struggling with situations that you don’t really understand and are frustrated that the outcomes not only don’t match your expectations but you can’t really connect to the issue? Just me?
This week it’s been fear. The underlying issue in so many of the situations I’ve struggled through is fear. And I don’t immediately recognize it because I’m not connected to my center. I’m stressed, overwhelmed and straying from being present, so I can’t see it. Until I step away from the chaos, get a good sleep, take my time to wake up and…ah. There it is.
Usually it’s me that’s fearful. This time it’s fear in others that I want to tackle head-on. I want them to be aware, to see it and to give it a name. And at some point it will come back to me, because choices will be made that will push me to choose, and fear will undoubtedly be part of the equation. What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m not enough? What will I do next? What if I get hurt? What if it gets worse?
I have stayed stuck by fear for a long time. As I push my way out of it and work to open up my life and myself to a way of living that isn’t based in fear, I’m learning how often fear is at the root of an issue, and trying to be aware so I can give it a name and release it.
I have been busting my ass at work on several challenging projects, and don’t have resolution on any of them yet. I am waiting on responses, waiting on meetings or not yet able to get to the work due to the slew of things on my plate right now. It’s a lot of uncertainty, and it feels like a lot is on the line.
I have a lot of uncertainty with my company right now because job openings keep coming through my email and I’m just not sure that it’s not better to quit what I’m doing and get paid to show up. Right now I show up and don’t always get paid (there’s a lot of boundary setting to do that hasn’t been done the last two years and I am just now able to see and acknowledge that).
I have a lot of uncertainty with relationships right now. I might have to take a break from therapy (thanks, insurance), my family is still sorting ourselves out after a lot of illness and injury and my experience living with PTSD continues to be challenging and limiting. What I want and what I have to work with aren’t matching up right now, and I haven’t managed to break through the barrier and constraints yet.
My boyfriend and I continue to have difficult conversations. I keep doubting I have the energy to keep going, but I keep pushing through.
We don’t have anything to hide behind. We don’t have money and job security, we don’t have a lot of time together, we don’t have a long history of trust and connection, we don’t even have a certain belief that we belong together. It’s fucking hard.
Because we don’t have anything to hide behind, and because we’re both sticking with the difficult conversations long enough to get past the darts and jabs, we’re starting to get honest. The kind of honest where you face shame and admit you’ve been hiding things because you’re not sure they’ll like you anymore if they know. The kind of honest where you say what isn’t ok. The kind of honest where you admit you might be the problem but this little bit is all you know and you haven’t learned enough to figure out the rest yet.
I’m not sure how many people ever get this honest in a relationship, but I don’t think many do it within the first nine months. It takes more courage than I knew I had. And I do it because I believe I matter enough to speak and hear the truth. To not walk away because I’m scared and this is really hard, but because walking away is the right thing for me. And I don’t know that yet because I don’t have enough information.
And there’s no backing down now, because we’re here, rumbling with the truth no matter how scary or how hard. AND IT’S HARD. I’m still not in neutral, and I’m not comfortable with some of the surprises I’m getting. I’m constantly in high threat mode and no one else is bringing me back down to my version of calm. While I’m rumbling with a really painful series of realizations about who I am and how I got here.
But worth it, because I’m worth it. And so is he.