September 10, 2014

Life Isn’t a Straight Line: How to Be Okay Anyway.


I swear, sometimes, life makes me motion sick.

My inner control freak gets jostled around, becoming dizzy and nauseous from whirring past curvy hairpin turns, trying desperately to direct and manage something…anything.

My inner control freak does not like all this craziness.

She is in fact, screaming, shouting at the top of her neurotic lungs to “slow down, dammit and follow the f*cking speed limit.”

Inside my mind, she’s controlling my thoughts from a top-secret remote location, making me feel compulsive and crazy. And, I’m wishing for life to be like the following fantasy scenario, as seen in the beginning of many movies:

I wake up every morning feeling impossibly refreshed and inspired. Soothing, yet upbeat music plays in the background, as I smile, pour my coffee, and enjoy a healthy yet delicious breakfast followed by an invigorating workout. I then make it out to the world where my hair blows beautifully in the breeze, as I greet everyone with a hearty “good morning!”

The sun is always shining, but it’s never too hot. Every day is perfectly productive, and I arrive home beaming, never tired.

The truth of my life is more like this:

I wake up, accidentally step on my cat’s tail, muster up the energy to make a barely edible omlet, drag myself through a half-assed workout, and sneeze after I apply my mascara, effectively giving myself smeared, raccoon eyes.

don’t feel pretty and can’t find anything to wear.

When I finally make it out of the house, one rude comment from a stranger sends me into a fit of tears. I come home, exhausted and accidentally step on my cat’s tail again.

Especially during these past few months, I’ve been directly in the crossfires of chaos, unsettledness, and intense change. This annoys me deeply and profoundly. At the very core of my being, I am unbelievably uncomfortable with seeing the need to loosen up my edges and embrace the chaos.

Despite my best attempts to hold my breath and count to ten, hoping the madness will suddenly disappear and I can finally have my “perfect” life, I have realized something:

Life is not a smooth road.

It never will be.

It’s bumpy as f*ck, with tons of potholes, steep inclines, steep declines and faded, confusing road signs.

It’s endlessly unpredictable, with lots of jerking left turns and sudden rights.

Life is nothing like we would expect, but everything we need, anyway (even if we don’t know it yet.)

All I want is for everything to go exactly how I plan in my neurotic mind.

But, why would I expect that point A would lead exactly to point B, in a perfectly etched, non-negotiably straight line, with no squiggles or wavering in sight?

For f*cks sake, I can’t even draw a line that straight when I’m using a ruler.

Honestly, I have these heady expectations about life because considering anything else is far to terrifying and may tempt me to try to beat life up with said ruler.

It almost hurts my mind because it’s impossible to imagine or calculate all of the outcomes in any given situation (without pulling out my hair in frustration.)

We’re such a society of numbers: our heights, weights, ATM pin codes, always obsessing over the numeral we see on the calendar, the clock. Always keeping track of lengths of time, almost pathetically, as if this would actually help us have more control.

All we want is to be able to calculate everything, leaving nothing to chance, to fate, to serendipity.

When put like that, it somehow sounds less appealing.

But, that’s how it really is:

The way we compulsively dissect, analyze and calculate everything in sight to make ourselves feel better takes the fire, the mystery, the sparkle, the beauty, the fizzle, the pure amazingness out of life.

We are unknowingly deleting whimsy and spontaneity from our minds, from our moments, from our lives.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

Because, fuck, these things are important, too!

Even if they threaten the way our precious little egos want life to be.

There are just some things we can’t schedule in our calendar. Some things we can’t predict. Some things we wouldn’t even want to predict.

Can we just step back, just a little, teeny, tiny bit more and let life unfurl around us, inside us?

Can we just take a breath, feeling the warm air leaving our body and allow everything to be, just as it is?

Can we just stop, and realize that we are okay, and we always have been, despite life’s seemingly wayward sense of direction?

And, if all else fails, it’s also perfectly okay to lock ourselves in our bedroom, tell everyone to leave us alone, and proceed to completely freak out.


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Editor: Renée Picard

Images: Kevin Dooley at Flickr / Helga Weber at Flickr

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