Busy Bee

I forced myself to do something I didn’t want to do yesterday. Last week was especially hard. I’m tired and sad over some very bad, confusing news. The weather continues to be soul-crushing. This coming week is somehow set to be even busier and more frantic than the last.

In response to all this, I fully intended to lean into the darkness by sitting around, watching shows, eating too much chocolate, and shutting out the world–even my own family. To start a chain of events that triggers a quick trajectory into deeper and deeper despair. I wanted to let this all wash over me until I was fully submerged. But I went for a walk with friends instead.

During and after this walk, I forgot about all the stuff that was all-consuming just hours prior. Even once I got home, I felt lighter and more resilient. I felt recharged and more optimistic. I’m an extrovert who’s been forced home too much over the past year because of this injury. While the physical stuff is hard enough, it pales in comparison to the emotional and psychological damage it’s done and continues to do. Like with so many things, though, it’s a toxic pattern that needs to be broken. Better yet, to not have the chance to set in at all. I’ve always done this by keeping manically busy.

Something my therapist said to me last year and that I’ve carried with me with more intention since: I can’t embrace sadness because I can’t do it responsibly. I can’t cry and dwell and fester away in my room when faced with a tragedy. I don’t yet understand how to do so in a way that could resemble release or growth or act as a step towards action and recovery. It’s something I get fully stuck in. It’s quicksand that I’ve stepped into with a weighted vest on–I don’t stand a chance.

It was interesting to hear this and sit with it for a bit. It seems that I organically figured this out at some point without being fully conscious of what I was doing. Being able to understand what’s happening fully, though, is crucial for consistency. I now know the what and why and what’s at stake and am now more likely to force action during the times I don’t want to most, during the times I need to most.

I think making room to be sad and acknowledging that something is, in fact, complicated, unfair, and unfortunate by any standard can be important. But I find that this can too quickly lead to time in bed, isolation, and compounding sadness. It’s a bottomless pit that will happily swallow me up if I let it take hold. But it can’t take hold if I’m always moving, if I’m always consumed by a project, if I’m always starting a new hobby, if I’m always meeting new people.

It can often feel exactly impossible, but I have to do it anyway. I default to moving, but if I can’t move, like last year, I need to keep my mind overly busy–welcome, Wiggle Work. Go, go, go, think, think, think, do, do, do. The desire to make bread isn’t what brought me to raising a sourdough starter. It was the fear of the thoughts that would set in if I became too bored. The activity might even end up a failure, which is delicate because this can’t then manifest as validation to do nothing instead. Running away from these types of thoughts is also an essential part of all this. Keeping busy is everything.

Some people might say this is avoidance and unhealthy. I’d argue it’s much more unhealthy to pick a fight with a larger-than-life monster without the necessary weapons to defeat it. I’m getting some of these tools together, but it’s a slow, imperfect journey. So, for now, I have sourdough and walks with friends.

See you tomorrow over breakfast.

February 4, 2024

A tiny project byJoni Trythall inspired by friends at Wiggle Work.