I asked for some help about this a couple weeks ago and then again in last Sunday’s Very Personal Ad…I am traveling to Boston next week for my friend’s wedding and it’s…confusing. Making me feel on edge.
It’s stirring up all the monsters. The Stuff Monsters, in particular.
What do I need? On the surface, it’s a pretty simple list:
- A car rental
- New shoes
- Something nice to wear
- A wedding present!
But when I look at this list, the monsters come crashing in: Guilt! Money, Confusion, Sadness, Urgency, Fear. Loneliness. Familiarity that also is going to contain some Sadness. Lots and lots more Guilt. And Social Anxiety. Oh dear.
So I decided to write out my Case Statement for this trip, my mission statement if you will. And some bonus love letters. Because not all the monsters are on board with my mission, you know?
Grounding myself even when I’m about to be 30,000 feet in the air
I’m taking myself on a Boston vacation. Just me.
I don’t have to see everything. Part of the magic of a familiar place is that you soak it up whether you madly tour all your favorite spots or just sit on a bench for an hour.
I will take my journal to cafes and parks. I will take lots of pictures. I will have good food and company at the wedding. I will celebrate my amazing friend and fete her nuptials in style!
I will accept that part of the gift of last-minuteness is that there are no expectations. I can dip in and out of places I want to visit without a schedule or obligations.
I will get lots of uninterrupted sleep. I will take lots of walks and stretch to help my back stay flexible.
Monsters, monsters everywhere
Dear Money Monster,
We are not poor, though I know sometimes it feels that way. It is good to be frugal! I love that you watch my money so carefully and jealously. I promise I will not make silly decisions. But we also need to prioritize safety, and I’m going to need certain things to keep safe and healthy and to sleep soundly while traveling. This is going to mean a car rental. A hotel. I hope you know that I will keep the money safe even when I have to spend it.
Dear Guilt Monster,
I know, I know. There is so much we need to talk about! That ceremony planning thing that hasn’t happened, the whole seeing-other-local-family thing, the going-by-myself thing. You’re good friends with the Money Monster, too! But guess what? It’s okay to be away to be away from the baby for four days. And the spouse. They will have a lot of fun together, and it’s natural to feel sad about being away from them. How I feel right now, or later on the plane, or when I’m having fun at the wedding, or late at night when I miss her — this is all okay and normal. If I acknowledge that these feelings are real, it will be easier to complete the planning and not let the fear take over the entire next eight days before the trip!
Dear Sadness Monster,
I know. We haven’t been back since her death. There’s no telling what it will be like. It’s good to mourn. It’s good to remember. That is also part of the purpose of this trip. I won’t forget.
Dear Wall of Confusion,
You are so insistent that at first I couldn’t even see how enormous and opaque you are! I’m going to go ahead and acknowledge you. There is all kinds of crazy confusion all over the place about this trip. The logistics. The emotions. The people I can’t get ahold of. Ugh, a big salad of confusion! Leafy green confusion that is supposed to be good for me but I don’t want to eat it tonight, nosirree.
But! Get this, wall: there are two secret doors through you, and I’m going to try both. I’m even going to search for more secret doors because I want to figure you out. But I’m also going to practice traveling when I am still confused if I need to, because maybe that’s going to be part of this trip, too.Love, Jesse.
What I need to move forward
It’s so hard when I’m doing my best to ground and acknowledge and make it playful and take it slow and it’s still like wading through pea soup. Ugh.
Hello, travel stucknesses. I see I’m not going to be traveling alone after all, actually, because I will have an entire retinue of monsters along with me. They are so insistent. They are not giving me many clues about what would appease them. I can tell the love letters are not quite going to cut it.
If I weren’t so stuck in this stuckness I would bring in the famous Metaphor Mouse and zap! —all my monsters would instantly be transformed into a slick entourage that will groom me and carry my baggage and deal with all the little details while I sip my mineral water with an eye mask on up in First Class…but here’s the thing: I am so very stuck that I do not even want to try to play with my monsters right now. Maybe I will have time to play with metaphors later but right now I am just going to sit with the stuck, putter around online and try to make a few more arrangements this week, and otherwise wait for the fog to lift.
Maybe it won’t happen until I arrive in Boston.
Maybe it won’t happen until I get that first thrill of ahh I remember this.
Or—maybe it won’t happen at all.
I’ll let you know. Until then it’s just me, hiding out in the cave with my monsters and brewing pot after pot of tea in the hopes that things will get a little less confusing sometime soon.