Punching Through: Stressed, Strained, Yet Strong
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
It’s hard to remember the last time I had this sense of forward motion. I feel like I’ve been pinned down for an ice age, crushed within a frozen planet, then dug my way out, shoveling debris and ice blocks out of my path and shedding old skins in favor of feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin.
I feel like I’ve broken through the ice, and I’m punching upward at the last of the frozen ceiling with my shovel to make a hole big enough to crawl through and I’m almost there. (I keep seeing the scoop of the shovel above me and dust of ice streaming down where I punch at the hole and the cracks above me in a ceiling of ice that shimmers in a filtered blue light.) It’s like breaking through enough to see the light, just when I am so weary, and then getting a burst of energy to pushpushpushpushpush forward and through and make things happen and leap out into a place where things bloom and grow in light that is not artificial.
June felt like life was breaking free and moving forward. July slowed to a crawl, with almost no amount of energy great enough to gain any speed. August has been a wild ride of good and bad and intense, but by the full moon and by the time it waned to nothingness and has started again, there’s a strong forward motion.
I feel strong.
I feel like nobody—like nothing—stands in my way right now. Not that I’ll have it all tomorrow, but it’s coming. Come hell or high water, it’s happening and I’m making things happen. I can’t say that I’m “in control” of my life, but I will say I’m feeling very “in charge” of it. I am still clearing out the last of my old obligations but I am now starting to go after everything I want. And it’s close. Close enough that I can feel it and sometimes see it.
I know what I want. I’m focused on getting it, on getting what I want and it’s okay for me to want what I want. Yes, what I want. Not what friends or family or co- workers or business partners or circle-mates or strangers or manipulators galore or anyone else wants or thinks I should do but what I want.
It’s been a long time since I pushed forward with this kind of energy to make things happen, really happen. Which is why a friend of mine who’s been urging me to push hard suddenly says, “Hon, are your shoulders big enough for everything you’re taking on?”
Well, we both know the answer to that one! She urges me to delegate where I can and to remember to take care of myself. Yes, I’m a little stressed and strained. That’s the backlash of shoving forward so hard. I don’t want to return to that place where I was eternally stressed and living with daily chest pains. So I will recognize that I do need help and that (cringe) I won’t be able to accomplish everything I want this autumn. I hate that I won’t be able to get 3 new non-fiction books finished and to the printers before I go to a gathering in the Ocala-Daytona area in October, but it’s something I’m going to have to give on. I’ll have other books, new books available by then. At least 2, maybe 3. And that’s not enough?!?
So part of this is perspective. My stress tends to come more from what I’m not able to get done (however unrealistic) and failing to acknowledge how terribly much I do accomplish on a weekly basis. In the past, no matter how much I did, it was never enough for some people. I’ve shed most of those people now, so the only one holding me to those impossible standards is me.
Here’s what I’m going to do. Every now and then, I’m going to remember to look back at the tunnel I’ve dug from deep in the ice and how far I’ve come and how much I’ve shoveled and the path I’ve made for myself (as well as others). And then, before I turn back to punch at the rapidly cracking ceiling of ice in front of me, I’ll twirl my shovel a few times and smile to myself as I notice the sunshine from above shining on the blade of my shovel.