An ode to not navel-gazing

 British Columbia truly makes everything better (for me).

British Columbia truly makes everything better (for me).

This is something I so desperately need to write because I so desperately don’t want to acknowledge I feel this way, and I don’t want to continue feeling this way.

Truth is, I am fucking confused. Confusion is hard for me – I feel like I always know what to do. I listen to my intuition; I go with my gut; I act and accept consequences later; I get myself on the right path.

If I look at that past the obvious, I start to understand that it wasn’t always this way, and it certainly doesn’t just happen. I was a train wreck of a hurt and lost person a few short years ago, and I had to pick myself up and throw myself onto that “right path,” subsequently dragging my feet down it until I was confident it was the best thing for me.

It was not easy. It does not make it easy now.

This stature I hold myself to is not facade: I truly am confident, independent, witty and particular. I have always been this person and have built myself up to feeling/acting like this on most days.

The other days, however…I tend to repress feeling/acting otherwise. I harden up because I “have work to do.” My responses get more pointed but are not deliberate. I make less useful commitments and everything becomes a time-wasting chore. I am more neutral, though it comes off as irritated, when I am honestly just sadder and confused as to why, at 27, I’m now having the same volume of depersonalization I had at 22.

I have a friend who, to me, is excellent at being vulnerable. She is authentic and letting herself just fucking cry. I see her as having infinite strength for doing what she needs to do to heal, but I don’t offer that freedom to myself.

I do what I must to stop hearing my mother: “We don’t cry, we don’t let them see us like that.”

“We” as in us as women, those who are soft and not supposed to be otherwise. We harden to show we are not “weak.” In fact, we transcend expectation because we defy essentialism. I’m guilty of equating softness with uselessness. I’m guilty of hating my softness because I’m convinced it makes me useless. I’m guilty of seeing myself as a “bad woman” because I often really hate “having” to be hard.

I’m currently facing a reality I’ve actively (and successfully) avoided: I need to soften to get to my point. This creative process and human experience of mine is severely limited by my aversion to “weakness.”

Re-living trauma for the sake of understanding oneself is excruciating. Vulnerability is a whole other dimension to me. Being on the edge of “I don’t really know what to do right now” is my personal hell. 

I make progress and I regress. I grow and I shrink back. I literally shake when I have to be soft with someone else. But the muscle memory is always there: Be fucking strong, Elizabeth. You didn’t brick someone in the face to save yourself only to become a delicate flower.

I’m piling on the problems to bury the ultimate resolution. These problems come in the form of more busy work, more dedication to my career, more focus on my fitness, more “I shouldn’t consume like this” when we all know I love poutine and moscato (copious amounts consumed simultaneously).

To further my current creative project, to bring it into fruition and have it be authentic, I need to accept my softness as much as I’ve come to love and value my rigidity. My creative process doesn’t only contain creating sentences anymore. It’s not only the words on the pages from navel-gazing but the belief in the transformation acknowledging my wholeness provides. And acknowledging that I’m a whole formed by conspicuously contrasting pieces, and that this is my normal.

I'm going through another bout of EITANIDM. It's weird and throwing my world off its meticulously planned/anticipated axis.