There Is Only


So much I can do.

I told myself as I felt completely blown out of the water by an e-mail I got from one of my professor’s today right before I left for work.

It was a cheery, chatty little hello death bomb.

You want me to what?

Why are you telling me this now?

It’s the fucking day before class and I’m working you twat.

Fuck me.

You can’t spring an assignment on me that last-minute.

I was spaced out the entire time I was on my scooter heading into work.

I kept having to pull my attention right back to the road, to the moment, to the feel of the wind on my body, to the blue sky over me, to the cars in front of me, the lights and the intersections.

By the time I got to work I felt overwhelmed and anxious as fuck.

I called a few people.

I felt the fear like a strangle hold on my neck.

I couldn’t breathe.

I started diagnosing myself with affective disorders from the DSM 5.

Just a little light reading before heading into work, no  worries.

I joke with one of my cohort that there should be a diagnosis in the DSM 5 for anxiety caused from being in graduate school.

I broke it down to myself today.

I can only do so much.

Listen.

The fact that I got out of bed, made it, and prayed was a big deal.

The fact that my rent is paid, my phone is paid, I have a clean home, my fridge is stocked with food I have cooked for the weekend of classes, that I have a job to go to, it’s enough.

I told myself these things.

I looked up at the trees, green, gold, red tinged with yellow against the cerulean blue sky, the cooing of mourning doves on the telephone wire, the warm sun, the cool wind.

I breathed.

In and out.

All I need to do is this.

Breathe and do the next action in front of me.

Panic is not going to help.

I look at all the things I do right.

I am not drinking, smoking, or blowing lines of cocaine.

I don’t eat sugar or flour.

I have a prayer practice for fuck sake.

I’m doing ok.

If grad school imploded.

I’ll be ok.

“Carmen, even at your worst, you are a rock star student,” she just assured me over the phone.

Thank God for my people and their perspectives.

Plus.

I had a major curve ball thrown my way with work this week.

Not like that hasn’t affected me a bit.

Please.

Be nice to yourself.

I caught my breath.

I got my bearings.

I knew I was ok.

I knew it was enough.

It just has to be good enough.

I just show up and that’s the majority of the battle anyway.

The nice thing for me too is knowing that I have to do a certain amount of self-care, this blog is one of the things I do for myself.

And you thought it was all about you, didn’t you, you sexy thing.

No.

I don’t much write with the audience in mind.

If I do I might freak out.

MY MOTHER COULD BE READING THIS RIGHT NOW.

Jesus fuck.

That’s enough to make a person edit themselves.

Heh.

But no.

I digress.

I know there’s only so much that can be done in a day and I do so much.

Really I do.

Even when I lose focus, even when I get complicated in my head, even when I want to shout, don’t you see how hard I’m trying?

There is no one to shout these things to.

Just me.

Whistling in the dark.

As the case may be.

But I think of the owl, the heart shape of his face, the cold dark eyes, the white fluttering wings, and I feel that I am just exactly where I am supposed to be, learning all the things I need to learn.

“People tell you who they are in the first moments you meet them,” he told me gently.

Yes.

What do I tell people in those first moments?

Can I treat myself kind so that others may give themselves permission to do so as well.

Can I smile.

Offer the kindness of a gracious demeanor, can I say thank you and please and you are welcome and it’s nice to see you too.

Can I remember a person’s name.

I can.

And I got through the day.

Granted I had to talk myself out of a hole a few times.

I fell in it.

But.

I also got to smile at the cashier at the market and wish her a happy day, I got to say thank you to Dave Hale who always has the best apples at the Bartlett Farmer’s Market, I got to get hugs from the boys and kisses from the dog.

I got to raise my head to the sunshine and lift my face in the wind.

I get to show up tomorrow and I get to be in graduate school.

If life were fair I’d be in the gutter.

Or.

Dead.

I mean.

Let me be honest.

I should not be here.

Too many things colluded against me for my life not to be viewed as a miraculous, magical, amazing gift.

I get to do all these things.

And I’m grateful I got this thing called perspective in my back pocket.

All I have to do is look around my beautiful little home to know that.

I have so much.

And when my head tells me I’m not enough I know that I don’t have to listen to that lie, that’s just an old tape that needs to get thrown in the garbage, not put on the negative feed back loop.

The highlights of my life are still to come.

It is only getting better.

Seriously.

 

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