|Shira rests, briefly.|
I spend most of days around two wee ones with more combined energy than, well, anything I've ever known. I'm sure all of you with young children feel the same way, and wonder, as I do, what it is that we're feeding these kids. Where does all the energy come from? They just don't ever stop. They fill their days (actually) hopping from one new discovery to the next, running instead of walking, skipping instead of strolling, talking instead of breathing. The world is so big, so exciting, that they can't contain their passion for living. Exhausted as I am some days, I am grateful to be in the proximity of this energy. Lately, instead of feeling overwhelmed by their endurance, I am feeling just a little bit motivated by it.
I have been in hiding lately. But I needed some time to realize that their energy could motivate me instead of just making me very, very tired.
I have tried so many times in the past couple of weeks to share things on this blog, and every time I've fallen short of putting two words together. Yes, life is busy and gets in the way, but life is always busy. It always gets in the way. No, it isn't just about not having the time. It has more to do with not having enough of a voice. I'm not quite sure how to put into words how I'm feeling lately, how to talk about my days, or how to imagine what I want for the future. I feel a bit stalled, stuck in place. Each time I try to speak or write I draw a blank. For someone who has as much to say about the world as I do, it comes as a surprise. But amidst all of the good things, life can still feel overwhelming.
I've suffered from depression before, particularly when Alyce was young and I was isolated from my familiar friends and family while we lived in Delaware. That was tough, and for now I'll leave it at that. Today, this time, it feels different. Instead of depression I feel more as though I resemble a slug.
I am without energy. We are planning for the future, I am working on new projects (like the online course I finally start teaching tomorrow), and I am adapting more and more to staying home with The Children. Of course some days are harder than others, especially those days when the three of us are stuck home, inside, feeling a bit stir-crazy, but most days it's good. In spite of these blessings, I am still slug-like. I feel incapable of enjoying so much of my day because my stores of energy, both mental and physical, are low. I've tried to acquire more energy from the sheer force of will alone, but it's not working, and I'm just left with a hurting brain (willing requires extreme concentration, but I'm just too tired to concentrate that hard. See above re: slug). It turns out that I'm actually going to have to do something different. I need to make some changes.
I'm in a rut. In some ways I was pushed into this rut on account of some very practical life details, such as moving countries, unemployment, living with my mum and stepfather for the past six months (which, of course, I am eternally grateful for), and I accept that I have been challenged a bit more than I've wanted to in the past year. But I know who I am and somewhere underneath all of these challenges is a person who is optimistic, passionate, and confident. I know these things are not lost and I'm desperate to make an effort to rediscover these things. This rut has been in the making for a long time now, and I need to speak up for myself again. Of course I speak all the time (overshare much, Danielle?) but it is a particular voice I fear I've lost lately. A voice that is confident enough to declare what I want in my life instead of feeling silenced by, well ... I'm not exactly sure what has silenced me.
I have a few ideas. I spend a lot of time apologizing for past mistakes and focusing on mistakes is a surefire way to suck out a person's confidence (take it from me). The problem is that it's hard to stop apologizing. Of course I'd rather think about new opportunities, and I really am an optimist, but it's a bit of a vicious cycle: as soon as my confidence started to waiver I would worry more about mistakes I'd made in the past because I was quickly convincing myself that I was incapable of doing things differently. I was soon convincing myself that I would always make the wrong decision (such as staying in a graduate program I wasn't happy in) or planning poorly for my family (not saving money for what turned out to be a year-long emergency of unemployment). And these mistakes I'm apologizing for? These go back years, not just the past year or two. I still have guilt about decisions I made in high school. Could I be more ridiculous? If I keep up this way my confidence doesn't stand a chance.
I follow Andrea over at Superhero Journal because I am consistently inspired by the way she lives her life. With confidence. With excitement. Always with purpose. I have all of these things, but sometimes I forget where I keep them. She has a tradition wherein she chooses one word for the upcoming year, a way for her to focus on her goals, to direct her steps, so to speak. She usually chooses this word at the beginning of the year (one year her word was thrive), and as much as I have wanted to follow in her footsteps and start the year off with some focus of my own, I've been stuck. Four months it has taken me to come up with my word. (Remember? Slug.)
Vibrant. Vigorous. Lively. Vital.
I am craving some vibrancy in my life again. The word vibrant, or, rather, my word vibrant (because I am choosing it for myself, to play with for the next year), can remind me what I crave so very much in my life. It isn't something I can have, but something I need to feel. Losing my confidence made me feel powerless, and feeling powerless stole my energy, allowing for sometimes-bad habits to turn into all-the-time-terrible habits.
So I have my word, my magic. Now I need to find out what is contributing to my lack of energy, practically speaking, and then banish those things from my life. (Except The Children. They are my muses. Exhausting muses.) Having declared my intention to feel vibrant again, I am now working on an inventory of things (both physical and emotional) in my life that threaten to steal my confidence or deplete my energy. I am not a slug. I can do this.
Next step? A list of energy-stealing offenders. You know I love a good list. Coming soon.