Recently, I had this weird sensation come over me. What is this feeling? This … this thing? Well, what do you know? I was feeling contentment. Huh. Dang! And having that acceptance and contentment, and happiness, slap me upside my hard head had me think about the journey to finding some peace and joy.
After my father’s death six years ago, where there was no sudden last pages of a novel having us say all the things we never said and as the reader comes to The End, with little pearls of tears glistening, The End is resolved rather satisfyingly, the only peace that came was right before I felt my father’s pulse slow, slow, erratic beat, stop, and a man who was never ever still, a man who was loud and so THERE in any room he filled with that frenetic jittery energy, was suddenly so so very unnaturally awfully still, and that glimpse of peace I mentioned came moments before he died, when I held his hand and I fitfully dozed and there came a quick and sudden dream of a beautiful blue horse galloping into the sky, up up up and out of sight.
After that, for reasons known and unknown when we face an unexpected not-so-go-gentle-into-the-good-night death of someone important, Pandora’s Box rend asunder and I began to uproot many things in my life, walked away from some, ran from others, and through my scrambling amok both good and bad and in between, circumstances led me to have to give up the pretty sweet deal of being a writer full time so I could step out into a big empty space of possibility. Instead of thinking as an adult and being wise and all grown-uppy about it, I stumble-bumbled myself willy nilly** into messes and not-good-for-me men and right into a dark abyss of snarl. (It’s a big eye-opener to realize that you’ve approached much of your adult life with a child’s eyes and not a grown woman’s eyes—ouch, that recent insight was painful to admit!)
But, hey! From that murky crapitude I stepped into the light time and I didn’t even acknowledge the complete change rising up in me because I was so used to being Oh, It’s Just That Cray Cray Kathryn.
No miracle happened. My books didn’t suddenly fly off shelves, or even make it to a lot of shelves. I haven’t had time to write the book I so desperately want to have much more time to write; the bills still come, the mortgage still needs to be paid, I have to eat; you know, all those grown-uppy thangs.
So what changed to make the change?
Welp, y’all, it’s how I perceive my world and how I want to live in it and who I want to live with in it. This growth took a lot of uncomfortable looking in the mirror, and, ugh, soul-searching—double ugh (thus, the child’s eyes discovery).
So, when you are feeling negative, or like a “failure,” or struggle with whatever big dark bug has you in its scrabbly-legged grip, maybe my do and don’t ‘list’ will help you, or perhaps, as we are all different even in our collective sameness, you just need to make your own.
Don’t drink too much. Okay, maybe you’ll allow yourself that one night where you slug down some vodka and dance around the living room to techno trance before feeling sorry for yourself and throwing your glass against a tree and railing against your fates and then curl into a ball in a chair and sob and fall asleep and wake up with your mouth dry and your pea-headed brain full of cotton and then unsteadily climb into your bed where you wake the next day feeling like crap on a stick that’s been beaten against a glass-littered tree. Find another way to cope with stress and anxiety. No scenario has you drinking too much and then going, “Sure am glad I did that! I feel great now! All my problems are SOLVED!” Yeah . . . no. Which leads me to . . . .