The Choice Today…

“The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.”
~Carlos Castaneda


I haven’t written for a while.

Maybe what is more truthful is that I haven’t published in a while. I continue to write but haven’t felt comfortable publishing anything and that is probably for the best. When I write to publish there are things I might hold back, purposefully or even without knowing it. When I just write I work through things, and there has been a lot to work through. Or bitch about, complain and beat my chest about. It’s been a rough few weeks.

I feel like I am moving closer to taking some actions that I need to take, settling into some truths and figuring some things out.  A lot of these things are things I do not want to do, conversations I have to have and work I need to do that I’d rather not. But I also don’t want to feel like I have been feeling, so my choices are limited.

One choice is not limited however, except by my own fear and self-centeredness, and that is the choice to be happy. Why would I choose to not be happy you ask?  Not being happy is my natural state, it seems, at least for the last few years. The state waxes and wanes, but ultimately I tend to choose angst over ease most of the time. I clearly need to get back into therapy, but for now I’m just gonna work on this my own way. (Picture a sassy *snap* with that last sentence.)

Knowing this about myself, it would seem that I would work harder at making the different choice, the one that helps me be happier. The thing is, I forget. I forget that I have this kind of thinking and so easily fall prey to it. When I am in it I don’t see it for what it is. I feel helpless and hopeless and miserable and to pull myself out of that seems impossible. Suddenly it’s everyone else’s fault, it’s the fault of my circumstances, it’s Tom’s fault, its  because no one likes me….you get the gist. That’s what I mean about the self-centered part. I get so wrapped in my self that nothing can get through. Often it takes some sort of bombshell to crack it.

Today it didn’t. Today I just woke up feeling better. I was more  positive as I got up, as I cleaned around the apartment, as I ate and stacked the dishwasher. Nothing had changed and yet everything had. I was still alone, with a long day stretching ahead, but I felt I had a choice about the day and what I might do with it. I wrote that down on a piece of paper. As other thoughts occurred to me I wrote them down too. I got online and started researching some ideas I had…pipedreams, maybe. But I felt motivated and energized.

Nothing had changed. However, looking at the last few weeks I appreciated that nothing had changed. I kept at all my habits, I went to yoga and meetings. I led my groups. I  also ate too much sugar and  isolated a lot, binge watching TV and reading, but I got out a little with friends. The thing that I get frustrated with about my life is the sameness,and the thing that saves my life every day is the sameness.

Does that make sense?

I see that I have learned to take care of myself. In some real and tangible ways I know what is good for me and I do it. I get to yoga, almost every day at the studio and every day at home. I keep my commitments at Our House and I get to my AA meetings.  All of those places get me out of my head and into a heart space that feels so much better, so much truer, than the constant self analyzing, trying to fix and figure out my life. When I am in action I am moving forward, even though it doesn’t feel like it. And then it’s like a snowball effect..slowly building until one day, I feel miraculously better.

But there is no miracle here, except for the miracle of radical self-care and doing the next right thing. Time and again that has proven to work for me.Time and again I forget until I am clearer and see it. The constant little actions lead me to something bigger, some kind of growth or understanding or decision….whatever it is. And the depression is lifted, at least enough for me to see an end in sight.

I had lots of fuck-it moments in the last few weeks. The idea that it was never going to get better was loud in my head. The question of WHY? was huge. Where was the meaning, the reason for moving ahead in life? It was dark. It began to lift on Friday when I was with a friend and started to speak it out loud, as a real question.  I named it and admitted it, something I had not been willing to do until, in the moment, I did. I felt safe enough and it came out, not in a rush of sadness, but speculative…why? what is the purpose? I have no hope.

Once said out loud I think the ball began to roll really fast.  It got worse before it got better. Saturday really sucked.

But today is better. I can see  the why.  I can see hope. I can dream and plan. I can go to yoga in a few minutes and hang with my tribe and get this all out through my body. Not  just the bad stuff, the good stuff too, feel it and enjoy it.

Then I can watch Game Of Thrones and worry about my husband Tyrion and root for my girl-crush Daenarys  and get ready to start a new week.  Wait, no. Finish today and look forward to a new day tomorrow.

Looking forward is the shift. Glad of it.



Add yours →

  1. I love the sassy “snap” that punctuates this entire post. So glad to see you back and kicking. I totally agree with your comments around “radical self-care” and doing the little things, the habits. It’s why I pick weeds, organize shelves and find ways to choose to be happy even when the days prior have been spent in grumpy fetal position.
    Thank you for a very well timed Monday reminder. xo

  2. Hi Mishedup! This is great post and thank you for sharing. I am not a naturally happy person either. My default setting is definitely negativity and doom. I thought that drinking made me happy, and I am sure for some time in the beginning it at least it gave everyone including me, the appearance of me being happy. But being happy sober sure takes some work for me, although I have found that it’s just like anything learned, the more I do it the better I get at it.

    I love that you actually write for yourself. That is important. I think we all hold back a bit when we write to publish, even though we might not do it intentionally. And I think it’s great to share our deep troubles with others that we trust, it often turns out to be a great release and we are able to get a new perspective on that with which we are struggling.

    Keep looking forward! Hugs.

  3. I can totally relate to this. During all my years of drinking, it never occurred to me that living took work. I thought everyone had it easier than me and drinking was a way to even things out. I didn’t realize that we’re supposed to have ups and downs. What I take away from your post is how normal I am and that’s a comfort. Whether you mean to or not, you’re modeling what life is supposed to look like when we have struggles and use our tools to face them. It gives me hope on this Monday morning!

  4. “The thing that I get frustrated with about my life is the sameness,and the thing that saves my life every day is the sameness.” I get that like you wouldn’t believe. I get frustrated / grateful often with my sameness. My not getting out of myself or my things. Letting the sameness of the days bleed into one raging “ugh” and “thanks” at the same time. Nothing wrong with getting paid, coming home to a roof over the house, family, good neighbours, etc. Nothing wrong with connecting with other alcoholics, getting things off your chest, sharing. Blah blah blah. Same things.

    And yet, I love how you turn this on it’s head – it’s the same damn thing and yet it saves me. Because outside of that some days, I feel I don’t have much! That’s ego talking, of course. I have a lot. I just choose not to see it. But we bounce back, we get grounded again and we take off. Like it sounds like you are now.

    Thanks for this – so great to see you posting 🙂


  5. What’s great for me is reading your comments. The village takes good care of you!

  6. Trying to come up with something profound to say and failing. Well I just liked and related to this post. Best I can do today!

  7. Hell. Yes.
    Hope you remember this one next time depression rears it’s ugly lying head.

    I carry a couple of touchstones that have no significance to anyone but me as something tangible to remind me to be happy when I get stuck in a hole.

    Rock on, Mished!

  8. Thank you all so much for your comments on this one.
    I do appreciate the support and the identification….we are never alone, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: