Not hearing my own message: a Blah turns into an A-ha

First — hellos and hugs to everyone who stopped by to read and/or comment about my crazy exploding vision, my Rally experience, and assorted neuroses. Welcome! I  adore meeting new friends and it’s nice to have you here.

Second — oh boy, if I thought writing about Mystical Visions From My Uterus Second Chakra was a little bit scary, here is something even more scary to write down in public:

I’m having a very sad, tired, suckful and stuck-ful and weirded-out day.

I want to figure out why! Here is what I know:

My What and How list hasn’t been updated since last Thursday. My helpful notebook of messy lists is being…not helpful. I felt all creatively inspired by my friend who was visiting but then she left and I’m not getting anything done and I’m kind of freaking out about it, except not in the better-look-busy kind of way. More in the staring-out-the-window way, the aimlessly-surf-the-internet-and-feel-bad-about-myself way.

It feels very blahhhhhhh.

Also? The cherry on the top is that it’s rainy today. I live in Portland–I should expect this! Usually I love cool gray soft days like this! But…blahhhhh.

You know what? Blue skies wouldn’t help because I Just Don’t Feel Good.

What is going on?

I know that a period of rest has to follow a period of intense activity. Havi taught me that! So part of this is normal. But I’m not sure I really understand what was so intense about last week.

Let me write about it a little bit…

Last week was: a house guest; a new pain management class taking up my Wednesday evening; other assorted places where the time goes, even when those things are fun adventures around town. In my Friday check-in I was lamenting the utter lack of time.

Important theme: a lack of calm.

What I know about myself under stress: when my mind is full of stimuli, it is extra, extra difficult to tune in to what I’m thinking and feeling.

Last week was an excellent example of this. I can cite three very big results of the stressful stimuli:

First: I went to my new pain management class and was so utterly overwhelmed I had to put in my earplugs to drown out the background noise. Stress made it hard to hear.

Second: stress made it hard to see. Literally. Picking up my daughter at childcare, I  couldn’t stop looking at another baby, thinking it was my daughter. It was not. This was a scary moment and it made me ashamed — what kind of mother doesn’t recognize her own child? Wow.

Third: this one is more interesting because the other stuff took place in public, but this one was at home. Even though I LOVE getting down on the floor every evening at home to stretch my hip flexors, I did this zero times while my friend was staying with us. Or maybe once when I thought she wasn’t looking. But just thinking about it makes me think — oh god, I didn’t do that in front of her, did I? I hope not, how ridiculous I would have looked.

I was too embarrassed. That’s hard to admit. (And of course, there is bonus shame here for admitting I am ashamed to admit the shame of admitting! Recursive shame spirals for everyone!)

This is part of the big, scary block that came up for me at Rally. There is a big tangle of stuff in there — physical pain (nerve pain from a disc problem), emotional pain, fear of exposure, self-esteem.

Rolling around and stretching my hip flexors is something I must do in order to survive. I know this. They screw up my back and my legs and blah blah posture blah.

And yet. And yet.

It was too hard/scary/exposing/weird to do it. Even in front of my dear friend, who just so happens to be the kind of person who not only loves me but fully embraces the fringe and the wacky goodness of life.

I guess part of me believes that all that good wacky in-touch-ness is for other people, not me. Even though I know and accept the wonderful things that happen when I give my body stretches and love, and pay attention to all the creative and emotional parts of me.

Like at Rally! There was a big, huge pile of awesome feelings all stemming from what happens when you spend time with good people, being creative and productive on a sea-worthy vessel.

Not hearing my own messages

Were my mind and body crying out to roll around and stretch my hips, and take walks in the beautiful weather? My instinct is to say: No, I was just going through my days like normal.

But wait a minute: I was in pain and in a state of stress, two things generally alleviated with stretches and walks. And I did not do either. I really and truly couldn’t hear the message.

I want to acknowledge now that it is okay to be really overwhelmed and not hear the message. I was a little bit deaf, a little bit blind, and a lot in pain.

I couldn’t figure out what I needed because I wasn’t totally aware of my pain and distress. Get this — I even told my friend and my husband about the daycare moment and the earplugs moment and saying to them I must be more stressed than I realized! I said this but kind of shrugged it off. Notice: I didn’t write about it in the Friday check-in.

So is it really that surprising that I’m having a hard time getting anything done at work? I’m in pain, so I can’t concentrate mentally, because I didn’t spend enough time last week giving my body what it needs to move freely. I’m a bit mopey because it’s hard to get any work done when all these unacknowledged bits of shame are clinging to me.

Havi’s genius thing is to remind me that no matter how stuck and unproductive and shameful and mopey I’m feeling — that is 100% legitimate. It’s real, even though it is just temporary and does not define me.

I guess until writing this post and thinking about all the pieces of it I had no idea to what extent shame was defining my feelings and actions last week. And to what extent that Big Stuck Thing from my vision — the thing that is my back pain and shame and unbalanced self all balled up together — would try to block me from understanding what was going on. Instead of saying Self, I’m so sorry you felt too confused and scared to stretch your hips last week, you deserve extra love right now!, I’ve been moping around this morning thinking My systems and methods must be absolute crap if they can’t get me through this crappy crapness I’m moping around in right now!

It feels good to figure this out. To figure myself out. To choose to acknowledge that the pain and fears are real, and that’s okay. The shame is here, and that’s okay, because I’m still learning how to take care of myself.


You know — I almost wish I had written this as an interview with myselves. I could have brought in Last Week Jesse who couldn’t figure things out and Mopey Jesse and This Week Jesse who is in Compassionate Investigative Journalist Slash Loving Therapist mode. Except I’ve been repressing the panicky shame so hard it couldn’t even bubble up enough to make me think a self-interview would be useful. Interesting!

Would love to hear anyone else’s stories about these things — I find I learn so much more climbing out of the muck and confusion. Not that I can’t take notes and learn about myself when I am in Awesome Mode, but it’s also so very instructive when the Blah turns into the A-ha, you know? I’m going to make that a new category because I hope it happens more often!


About jesse k.

Writer. Mama. Spy in the house of self-awareness. Occasional crafter, letterpress geek, and academic snob.
This entry was posted in Blah Into A-ha, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Not hearing my own message: a Blah turns into an A-ha

  1. sarra says:

    Can only leave a short (mangled?) comment at the moment for lots of reasons, but I’m glad you found your self-care – that ‘it’s okay’ hug when it truly works and means something. Not only that, but joy in getting there and seeing it, too. x

  2. jesse k. says:

    I think understanding the “it’s okay” message is my theme of the week! It is so very, very difficult to connect the cognition with the understanding sometimes, you know? Looking forward to less shame, more joy about this whole thing.

    Thanks for stopping by to read, Sarra 🙂

  3. Pingback: Friday Check-in: even when I’m not happy about it | my seed house

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