Beginnings are tough. The first word on a page. The first day of a new job. Seems just about everything in life turns into a metaphoric pair of shoes: you gotta wear ’em in a bit and get used to them. And until you do, you’re a bit uncomfortable. A little too aware of where they are rubbing at your heel or pinching your toes. Hopefully the shoes give a bit with time, and the heel rubbing and toe pinching stops. Meanwhile, you hang in there with that new pair because you just bought them, or they look good, or you so want them to work for you.
My metaphoric new shoes were my return to the gym. I found it tough just walking thru the door because it’s been too long. Kept to the exercise bike and treadmill. Too long = I’m weak as shit, so no big push until I can do the bike and the treadmill without sweating. No weights, either, until I know my wrist won’t start hurting again (this is the third day without pain, and I’m just enjoying it). Felt good to stretch out and use my muscles. But now I’m telling myself how I need to go and do it again and… Ugh. Again? And again and again and again? Is there no end?
…You were expecting an end?
That’s the topper, isn’t it? We live in a false world full of ends. Stories end, films end, days end, years end… But that’s not true. The story continues, the film could go on, and we live in an unending time continuum. It would be better just to say ‘here’s where the story stops’ or ‘here’s where this day becomes the next’. ‘End’ is a misnomer.
We have come to expect ends. An end to life, an end to pain… We tend to call the culmination of our dreams ‘the end’, although it’s really just another beginning. Dieters dream of their restricted meals ending, schoolchildren long for the end of the school year. Focusing on ends pushes our vision into the past: the end of an era, the end of ‘the good old days’, etc. We want to wrap things up in tight bundles: here it is; finite and complete. Take a picture, and bemoan about your memories for the rest of time.
This behavior blinds us to the continuity surrounding us. To the flow. To seeing how one thing leads to another, then another.
Too many people seem to be asking ‘how did we get here?’ when the answer seems obvious to me. Stop viewing time as frozen bits of truth. The past does not contain our truth. It only contains the seed of what we are now, and if you’re blind to that you’ll never recognize it even if it bites you on the nose.
Look to the past to discover who you are. Look to the future to find who you can be.
I have looked to my past. Kept my eyes inwards, downwards, searching, asking. I can’t bemoan any of that right now. It’s served me well in many instances, and made me a better person.
But now I look up. Literally. Used to walk down the street looking down, watching where I put my foot so I didn’t trip or turn an ankle. Now I look at the sky and trees. It’s amazing what I see when I stop looking at the ground. I forgot the world held so much color and variety.
Often I’ve been called a ‘starter’ rather than a ‘finisher’. I can finish projects – make no mistake about that. But I’ve started more than I’ve finished. In the past, that’s been used against me. Shamed me. This morning I can only see my behavior as evidence of my underlying optimism. I kept starting. Kept trying to reset. Toss away the shame of ‘not finishing’ and see what you were really doing: continual movement, continual attempts to change things in positive manners. Me grasping for me. Oh, little girl! You did so well! You just never gave up, no matter what. You hated yourself, you hated life, you didn’t understand so much, but you just kept at it. … Now, that’s a solid feeling. One that doesn’t flutter in briefly and leave me the next moment. It is deep and heavy, yet light…
I have allowed so much shame to cover me in the hopes that it would bring me love. I let myself be used physically, like a bag of garbage. I let myself be lied about, let the worst be thought about me, without one word of defense. I let others’ judgements rule me: how I should act, what I should want, how I should look or be.
…I suppose in my world, being yelled at for this or that was the only attention I really received. Being good never got it. I was never good enough to be praised for being good, only told I could never be the best, the prettiest, the most talented because there would always be someone better than me. Getting yelled at, though… Now, that I excelled at. I was the worst ever. The most base slut on the planet, the worst drug addict, the biggest liar, the most horrible thief, the worst person you could ever know.
It seems I could be the best at something, then.
…Yikes. That’s a hard one to swallow. Years of bad behavior in a textbook case of an unloved and unwanted child seeking attention.
That’s my seed from the past. It grew me into who I am today. But who I am today, when I step outside the door, is totally up to me. I can go out there loaded for bear, ready to take issue with everyone and everything.
Or I can take my seed and go out with gentle patience and understanding. Knowing my seed can’t grow under certain conditions. It’s part of what it is.
My new beginning.