The Day I Stopped Trying….

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I woke up yesterday morning sure as hell I was leaving. I was going to go to Marrakesh. I was going to pack my bags, kiss my kids and my husband goodbye and head overseas. Oh, I’d be back, maybe in a month or two but in the meantime I’d be off wandering open air markets, riding camels for fun, and eating all the humus my heart desired. That’s what one does in Marrakesh, right??

Frankly I knew nothing about this city. It’s in Morocco, right? But I did know- if I could throw a stone over the ocean, from the beach where I mediate each day, I’d hit this far off land.

And flying over the Atlantic to a distant world, where I wasn’t me, where my problems didn’t exist seemed like the best solution…because frankly I was sick of me….this me anyway.

“Traveling Me” wasn’t failing her family, her friends. “Traveling Me” didn’t have a house to keep clean, children and a husband to keep happy. She could make mistakes without causing a whole household to tumble. Traveling Me wasn’t needy, insecure, a victim of her own imaginary tragedies.

For months…years… I told everyone I was going to fix things… that’s right, everything I hated about myself. I was going to erase horrible Becky and bring in a better one….no…a perfect one!

I had a plan. I read books on how to be a better person, made motivational charts, wrote blog entries, gave myself mantras, prayed to the sun. Yet in the end I always failed.

The pain of imagining how horrible and unpleasant of a person I must be was getting unbearable…but somehow when I looked around, I saw that everyone still loved me, deeply. They didn’t care about my motivation charts, the mantras I chose. They loved me. Just me.

The only person who thought of me as a failure was me.

The day before my imaginary plans to Marrakesh began I was unloading cans onto the pantry shelf in our kitchen. …Actually I was shoving cans into the shelf because I had failed to clean it off, for weeks. It was overflowing . Yet another reason to loath myself. And so as I rested a can of chicken stock onto the stack, CRASH! The shelf collapsed causing a cascade of other collapsing shelves….and what did I do? I collapsed too. Right there in the kitchen. I cried and cried and cried. My eight year old twins came running into the room asking what was wrong.

What was I to say? I’m a horrible person? I’m sorry I failed you again?

I went upstairs to my room and sobbed until I reached exhaustion. I was so tired of failing.

Now here’s the thing about me, when it comes to emotional intelligence I’m not dumb. I understand my psyche quite well. I know I’m not a horrible person. I know people love me. I know this.  I  know I’m not depressed. It is just I keep playing forty year old “tapes” in my mind, tapes that say ‘You will never be good enough for the people you love.’

That’s one crappy burden to carry. In fact, it’s become a self-fulfilling prophesy. I get so sick of trying to attain imaginary heights that I say “fuck it! It’s not worth it anyway. ” Why bother?

And so yesterday in the face of my Marrakesh dreams I looked at my husband and said, “We need to leave.” He looked at me confused.

“I’m getting a hotel room in Daytona,” I said

So, we set the twins up with my 16-year-old son and we drove the 30 miles to Daytona Beach.

And during the drive, I poured it all out…all of it…about my struggles to be “good” and the “voices” who are telling me who I should be.  I talked the poor man’s ear off, and he listened, saying little, as I shared my bare ugly truth.

But here’s the deal, at the end of my soliloquy I felt better.  I realized maybe it all wasn’t so ugly. This needy, tired little girl was just a piece of me.  She is the one who tells me love is conditional, that love can only be attained through song and dance, though saying and doing just the right things.

But the truth is, love is not based on the state of your pantry, the nutrition content of the food put on your table, or for me as an author –the number of books I sell. Love permeates it all.

In the end the act of trying is useless. The true secret is being, because love doesn’t care how many hoops you jump through, love just is.

May you, in your journeys know that you too are loved by just being beautiful you. There’s nothing to prove. Love is all there is.

And hey, who knows, maybe I’ll see you in Marrakesh!

Peace

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19 comments

  1. I see myself in your post … those voices! I have just started a really good book called The Untethered Soul. It’s the first book I’ve read that explains those voices, and what to do about them, in a way I instantly understood. I am looking forward to giving myself a little peace, and quieting those voices that tell me I can’t, when I know I can. Thanks for sharing…

    1. that book sounds good. have you ever looked into hypnosis? I find the best way to deal with those voices is to “go into” my subconscious and imagine I’m talking straight to them. A lot of the work I’ve done in the past 6 months, has been related to confronting all that stuff on a subconscious level. My husband thinks I’m nuts, but it’s really working for me

  2. I am not going to any Kesh, but I’m glad you are working out the turmoil. You really are a beautiful person inside and out, Becky. I love having you for a friend. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Lockie. It’s funny, I can hear and feel those words of support, and on some intellectual level really get it, but there’s this little girl in me who feels wholly inadequate. The trick is to just pat her on the head and say “there. there. It’s all okay”

  3. You ever come across a blog that says exactly the thing you were needing to hear that day? For me, it was yours when you wrote, “Love is not based on the state of your pantry…”

    Thank you for that.

  4. Now, now, Becky, it’s going to be okay. My husband will vouch for the fact that I have been in a weird funk for the past four months since my dad died. It’s my hair, my body weight, my habits, my inadequate parenting/grandparenting skills, it’s my social anxiety, my writing sucks, I can’t tend the yard like I once did, my negativity abounds. I know he must be tired of listening to me talk so badly about the person he loves most in this world.

    He snapped at me when I greeted him at the door ranting about my lack of writing progress. We had our first argument. He joked about me saying I wasn’t going to talk about my book (WIP) for two weeks and he responded, laughingly, “Promise? Tell what I said to get you to shut up?” For the first time in nine years, we went to bed angry. So I shut down, and cried silently, marking the calendar for when I would speak to him again…in two weeks. Fortunately, we were talking again by the middle of the next day.

    Usually he’s so very supportive about my writing, well everything…and I suddenly realized how severely I encroach on his downtime. We set some much needed boundaries. Being rather shut-in, he knows he’s the only living soul I talk to for days on end. But he needs some space. Let me know if you decide to make that trip to Marrakesh and would like some company. Women shouldn’t travel alone there. Morocco is on my bucket list.

  5. I married a man who was a workaholic. He simply would not take a break. He’d never traveled, and he said he had no desire to. I’d dreamed of traveling all my life. I was working all the overtime I could get and I denied myself so many things that I had always dreamed of doing. Four years went by. I was still waiting for him to decide that I was as important as his job. One day, I gave him an ultimatum. I told him that I was headed to Yellowstone Park, with him, or without him. And, if he chose his job over me, I had an apartment lined up, already to move into, without him. And, I meant it. It was the first time I’d asserted myself about something that was important to me. I had myself a fine crying jag, and I did some yelling, and I got his attention. That awesome emotional meltdown changed everything for the better for me. He respected me more after that. I stopped being a wimp and a self-made doormat, and I started to live. Every year, I planned an awesome trip, made all the arrangements myself, and invited him along, only if he wanted to go. I was going, with him, or without him. I learned a lot about myself that year. I began loving myself. When I began loving myself more, the love came back to me. My husband and I cherish the memories of our many travels. But, for me, it wasn’t only about the trips. It was the respect he finally gave me when he realized that he could lose me if he didn’t respect my dreams.

    Take your trip. Enjoy yourself. Love yourself. Everything will still be there when you get back home.

  6. Becky, I was moved to tears reading your post. You could have been writing it for me. It comforts me knowing I am not alone in my feelings. Thank you Becky.

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