day nine: wandering off

I’ve been out of sorts this week. Not in a “yell-at-everyone-then-hide-in-a-corner-while-I-eat-candy-and-cry” sort of way. More of a constant, low-grade level of discombobulation sort of way. Going from project to project without finishing them is just how I live my life (ask the Vulcan). Like, I may not always know what I am doing, but I’m pretty clear on what I’m thinking. So this whole “start in one direction and be facing a totally different one by the time I finish that mental sentence” is a weird place to be, frankly.

Let me elaborate. Today, I made a gigantic list of things that need to get done in the next week, and the promptly stared at it for a while before dedicating a solid twenty minutes to trying to find a pumpkin shirt to wear at school/for trick-or-treating…literally the only thing I did not need to do today. And even though I know I need to do all these things, and I’m trying hard to motivate myself to get stuff done, I just…can’t. I literally am just at the staring and mental-wandering stage. It’s very strange.

My theory is it’s all the cumulative stress of the past two months. I am no longer so tightly wound that small change will literally bounce off of me, and the hives have gone away (thank goodness), but I think my brain is finally going on strike. I have been demanding a whole lot of it in the last few months, and now that I feel like I’m finally starting to get mentally healthy, it’s decided that we need to do less. Like. Now.

I’m not sure what you do with that, to be honest. Right now, I’m going with listening to my body, to my brain. I am just going to have to be okay with doing less in this recuperation period, I think. In the same way you can’t rush back from a high ankle sprain just because you know what it is and were on crutches for a week, I feel like there’s no rushing this, either. I am pretty passionate about this because I just experienced the last eight months before the last two months. It was the worst. I do not want to go back to that place for the sake of crossing off my to-do list.

I am not the first (nor shall I be the last) to compare recovery to climbing a mountain, but living in whatever you want to call this (gestures vaguely) so soon after climbing up some (very small) real mountains in the Rockies and Cascades, it struck me of how true it is. Sometimes, you’re just hauling up razorback trails that go up, up, up rapidly, but you feel like your legs may fall off and/or your lungs may explode. Then there are other times when the trail is actually pretty nice. Or there are stretches that are way overgrown. Or with a million mosquitos (see: first big hike I did with the Vulcan. It was a true test of our love). But the trail is, very rarely, direct. Sometimes you feel like you’re not making progress…or even like you’re going back down rather than up. Hiking mountains is hard and also winding.

And I reckon this current path I’m on is like that. I’ve spent a lot of months in a deep valley. The mountaintop felt impossibly high, and after stumbling down the first incline enough times, I had to just sit in the valley, in the dark, in the cold for a while. But now, finally, I’m strong enough to start climbing out. Now my trail is only in partial shadow, and light is filtering through the trees. The path isn’t going up as fast as I want, but maybe that is okay. The extra time in the Discombobulation Zone is worth it because it means I can avoid a rockslide. Because the journey isn’t straight. And sometimes your mind wanders off the trail a little…

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