This past week has been difficult. (And to be honest, so, too, have its predecessors). I've been a little floored by anxiety and lethargy and a poor, poor diet. So now I'm a little sick. And a little tired. And facing the huge, huge mountain of the things I need to (essays, emails, yoga)--and the things I want to (baking, crafting, yoga)--do. I suppose that's simply what this time of year entails, right? (Belated) Fresher's flu and a little bit of stress?
But I'm promising myself that if I get those things done--primarily the necessary things--then I'll have a little reward come Monday. And my reward, this time of year, is a look forward to Christmas. And to a little Halloween party with my love.
The funny thing is--the lethargy and the numbness, aside--that I was really looking forward to heading to the library this morning. Forcing my mind into books and working on something--manipulating words and locating meaning. I guess I'm realising just how precious this time is; how these days of student life--of a beautiful, beautiful opportunity to learn and graze--are limited. Sadly so.
I'm hoping that one day soon I can coerce that appreciation into a way of negating the fear. Because it's paralysing, sometimes. And, all too often, it needs that little push of perspective.
In the mean-time this is, for the most part, what my weekend will look like.
And I'll be listening to this--largely as a pre-emptive step towards their Christmas album next week.
And--finally--I'll be crossing my fingers. Just because.
I wrote a little something for the Fall issue of The Violet.
I think this magazine is quite, quite marvellous. It champions everything I think a women's magazine should--so please, please check it out. It will have you baking and decorating and--I am convinced--taking good care of yourself this fall.
I wrote this last night, awake into the small hours of the morning. I'm not sure how clear it is or what, really, I wanted it to frame. But it is written, and because I am intent on tracking this little life of mine, it is here.
My Monday morning meetings are now my Wednesday afternoons. And they are exactly the same, but for the sideways step into the mid-week.
Counselling is a curious thing. A thing so unpredictable. Every week I find myself balled up with a flash of pre-emptive nerves: I am at a complete loss of what to say--of how and where and why I am to begin. But as soon as I step into that little rented office, there is a movement. A tumbling, somersaulting collapse of words I never dared to speak, and thoughts I never knew I had, and images I didn't know I visualised. And within an hour they become palpable; they are words spoken by myself, then reflected back, and they are--perhaps most importantly--to the conscience of another.
It is undoubtedly that reflection that I find the most helpful. Not just my own isolation of thought and feeling--but the retorts and the comments that they feed. I got lucky with Joan--so, extremely lucky. She is reflective and compassionate in the ways that I need--more than that, though, she is empathic. It seems a little silly, now, having spent a few months with her, but I never expected empathy--never expected someone to care as much, or as understandingly. And today of all days, I was blown away by that. Blown away by her intuition and her--I suppose her sense of nurturing. She is attune, now, to the way I speak and to noticing the precipice: that split-second moment before my cheeks dampen with a little too much emotive cause. What struck me today was this sense of intimacy--this knowledge that this woman knows more about me, now, than most people ever will. She sees more depth and expulsion of thought than I ever understand. It is bewildering, in some ways. Strange and confusing to know that I will one day walk out of her office and that distance that we first had will somehow resume. We will become strangers, again. It sounds strangely romantic, doesn't it? That if I hadn't slotted in that word--that ugly, stigmatic word: counselling--an understanding of this "intimacy" would connote another attachment--an entirely different connection. There is no resolution to me explaining this--not really. It is just an observation of this strangely disorientating process.
And as a process, it is halting. In July I felt a bigger kind of shift. A bigger, easier stretch where the patches of light reached, and the roots uplifted themselves--they grew. Now there is a much greater frustration. A kind of expectation that has been left to fall and really, it has crashed. But Joan reminds me every week that this is what the process is about. It is a kind of convolution: a rise followed by a fall. I haven't felt a rise in a while. But it will come. I know in my heart it will come--a small one, at first. It will become like an opened door that is left ajar, just a crack. And if I didn't believe this--and if I didn't want to welcome this with widely opened arms--I would not go every week. I would not filter up the labyrinthine steps or into the green-housed glass of an office Joan rents. I would not open my mouth to speak or accept tissues or leave, swallowing a breath.
So--and this is just to let you know--I'm ready for that gap. Ready to squint my eyes through the crack of the door and search some more. Ready to see what that little light illuminates, again.
I don't feel I've posted much other than lists, lately. But it's late on a Tuesday night and things feel a little stressful and a little stretched--and, frankly, why break this little trend of mine right now?
So things that are bringing comfort to me this week are:
dinner out with friends
(because it's nice to giggle at the little things and the snippets we have shared)
(because this little girl fell asleep on my lap last week, and I cannot wait to see her soon)
woolly jumpers and thick coats
(because they are making me feel so cosy in these early morning winds)
(because they make organising effortless)
(because having so many and so much might be terrifying, but my, I am grateful for it)
friendship in and of itself
(because spying two old men meeting for the first time, in kindness, warms the very fibre of my heart)
moments of clarity
(because they might be few and far between--but when they come, they make breath reach deeper into my lungs)
Where are you turning to for reassurance, this week?
But after the last few, awkward days, I could really do with taking stock of a few things. You know? (I'm mostly being melodramatic, here. Nothing big has happened. But if one more person asks me what I want to do with my life--what my calling just might be--what experience I have--well, I just might scream).
"Your time is limited, so don't waste living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma--which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinion drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become." ~ Steve Jobs.
Whether you are an Apple fan or not, I think words like these are so very, very important.
This past week was hard and I don't really know why. Old things--old pains, really--seemed to ebb their way back in. And what I was meant and hoped and wished to do became marred and tinged.
So it felt better and restorative and somehow cleansing to have a happier weekend--to end the week on a much higher plane. It included seeing Jane Eyre with some beloved friends; pottering about the house with Mr Arnold; and, perhaps most constructively, abandoning uni work to dedicate an afternoon to baking.
(I made my best Victoria Sponge, to date. I'd say that was a pretty good day).
Fingers crossed for a better week, this week. And that I might, just might, bond with my new classes.