Two weeks ago I experienced a Vulnerability Hangover like none other after publishing The Morning After. The response was amazing and yet I needed to disappear for a few days after discussing something so intimate.
Ten days ago I shuffled through old cards and letters and came across one from my best friend, written after she'd visited me. I'd lived in Nashville about 7 or 8 months at that point and she encouraged me not to lose momentum. It hit me anew.
A week ago I realized two things. First, the next day was Valentine's Day. Second, I'd read 11 books in two weeks.
I'm no fan of Valentine's Day but last year I decided to view it as a day to celebrate all the love in my life. And it was good. I haven't worn much pink in ages but red continues to weave its siren song around me. I made a concession to the holiday and threw on a red plaid scarf, a hand-me-down from one of my favorite people. It seemed fitting to wear a scarf from a friend on such a day.
It also seemed fitting to ignore the Valentine-inspired posts telling singles what to do and how to feel. I felt perfectly fine in my singleness and perfectly fine eating pesto and pasta and dark chocolate covered blueberries by myself. Of course, Damon from TVD didn't hurt either.
Five days ago I chatted with friends in Google Hangout and one asked me how I was doing and my mind went blank. These weren't friends to whom I could merely say "I'm fine." They know the things I haven't listed here. But how was I doing? I didn't know.
The bits and pieces of the last two weeks percolated and condensed to an answer: I'm stuck.
I tend to notice and accumulate awhile before processing what it all means, if it even needs to be processed in the first place. While I'm self-aware, I don't always notice internal changes right away. Reading so many books doesn't always mean Something Is Wrong, for instance. But when I reviewed the other evidence, I had to admit something was definitely off-kilter.
The last year or so has provided distinct assurance I am not the one in control. More than a few situations have arisen leaving me feel helpless. I've tried to be kind to myself and stay on top of meeting my needs. I've tried to address the gaps in my community and untangle the reasons why I'm skittish about attending a church I love. I've tried to focus on projects but so many weeks have gone by without even a passing glance. I've grown more insular in my attempts to heal.
Trying isn't always enough.
My SAD has returned in some small measure, even though we've had our share of sunny days this winter. There's a lot I can't do right now: go to church consistently, go to small group, focus on blogging and writing at the same time, balance old friends and new friends, or have more than one weeknight plan.
I don't hide my propensity for self-care but I'm still learning to distinguish when to pull back and when to push through.
Truthfully, I'm not sure about the way forward or if there even needs to be. I'm sitting here and taking stock and it's not all bad. It's time for new priorities and habits but the way there will meander.
But I can wear a red scarf on Valentine's Day and I can look for little opportunities to seize joy. I can stir a pot of Portabella Mushroom and Thyme Risotto while the rising steam bathes me in its aroma. I can sign up for an e-course about the spiritual practices of life and the kitchen. I can say yes to Africa.
I can meet a new friend for coffee and start a Family Dinner Night with my best friend's family. I can call my cousin to catch up. I can pray for all that is out of my control and all that is within my control. I can designate a night or two just for my dreams and inch toward following through.
I'm still reveling in the now; it just looks different right now.
Moment by moment, intention by intention, I will get unstuck.
cream 3/4 length sleeve sweater, Gap
brown henley t-shirt, Old Navy
red plaid scarf, hand-me-down
Linking up with Dear Abby Leigh for Dress for the Day