Recently I was swept under by a rip tide of nostalgia. A bunch of friends that were in band with me started a group conversation on Facebook that continued off and on for three days (with no end in sight). In a quest to remember the stories I was hearing I looked in my hope chest for old photos and memorabilia. I don't have a lot of pictures from my pre-digital days, but I did crack open my journals and special letters box.
The Sarah of the 90's wrote constantly in her journals. She did not have a hand the cramped up after writing a single page, and she had no shortage of things to write about. Her journal was her closest friend and she took it everywhere. She also indexed all the people she ever wrote about and was confident that her posterity would care some day about her High School dramas.
That girl has been so romanticized by me over the past few years. She had a great body that she took for granted. She could eat whatever she wanted and she spent a lot of time just thinking about life and enjoying her surroundings. She always had a crush and something to dream about. I often feel jealous of her.
Reading through that girls life I have to admit put me in a funk. That girl was so sure that she was special and was destined for greatness. What am I doing right now? What am I hoping to achieve in the future? What am I even racing towards?? Those are the kind of questions that lead me (I don't know about you) into a spiral of loathing.
As I laid under my covers while everyone was at work and school I let myself wallow and count the many reasons I had to be sad and lethargic. I made a list of all the things I need/ or are waiting on, to fix myself and be happy. An inspiring gym class, better health, better relationships, more money, a job, more exciting things to look forward to, etc, etc. I laid there asking myself: what is keeping me from being happy? And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.
It was me. I was keeping me from being happy. Why would me do that?
I remembered a book my dad gave Jason and I in 2009 called the War of Art. It's about living the life you want to live and what is holding you back. The author (Steven Pressfield) calls it Resistance.
"Resistance is fear. But Resistance is too cunning to show itself naked in this form. Why? Because if Resistance lets us see clearly that our own fear is preventing us from doing our work, we may feel shame in this. And shame may drive us to act in the face of fear.
Resistance doesn't want us to do this. So it brings in Rationalization. Rationalization is Resistance's spin doctor. It's Resistance's way of hiding the Big Stick behind it's back. Instead of showing us out fear (which might shame us and impel us to do our work), Resistance presents us with a series of plausible, rational justification for why we shouldn't do our work."
What were some of the things in my life that were stopping me from feeling good? I saw them in my house. I felt above doing them because I felt like I had more important things to do. But the fact that I wasn't doing them, and they needed doing, was subconsciously making me feel bad about myself. Every time I saw the disgusting state of our bathroom, the overgrown lawn in the backyard, and the trash heap on the side of the house I felt gross. I just felt sad. Even though I had a thousand reasons not to clean them. Every time I got in my car and saw the mess I felt defeated. I could rationalize all I want about why I didn't need to do it, but I knew, that just doing those small things would make me feel victorious in my own life.
So. I caffeinated, I gathered my tools and I was victorious. I cleaned the crap out of our bathroom. (All five of us use the small non- ventilated shower room and it was mildewy and nasty) I borrowed the neighbors lawnmower (instead of making the excuse that we are waiting to buy one). I loaded the minivan and went to the dump (It wasn't that far or hard to figure out). I took the van to the carwash and had it vacuumed out and cleaned. And lastly, I sat down and wrote this, because I loved to write, and I used to do it all the time, and I was good at it. It used to define me in fact. Today, I felt the comfort of a long lost friend: Pride.
I can't wait to surprise Jason and take the load off of his shoulders, and maybe if we are lucky, he will also taste the sweet victory that is beating Resistance.