This weekend I slept for 21 hours. That’s pretty near equivalent to the amount of sleep I got during the workweek. This weekend I was entirely alone, well void of any human interaction anyway. I still had my doggie sidekick with me. I spent the weekend alone with my thoughts. I deactivated my Facebook account. I walked everywhere as I’d left my ailing Subaru at the mechanic’s.
Being still is something I rarely do.
I was frustrated not to be able to go on the backpacking trip I’d worked so hard to prepare for. I was saddened by the potential loss of my trusty old four-wheel friend. I was fearful of the forthcoming financial impact.
What hit me most was that I realized despite my best efforts, I couldn’t control everything in my life and that with all the upheaval I’d done to set up my new life in Santa Cruz, I just wasn’t quite all there yet. I felt defeated. I closed up. I cried. I got quiet. I cut off social media and didn’t try to do anything but just be. I wallowed.
My car problems hit Friday night. That night was exhausting. Being broken down on the side of the highway waiting for the first distress call to be answered and when that one ended up being a false fix, waiting twice the time for the second one to be answered and all the while it was getting darker and my reaching out to friends went unanswered or invalidated, I felt more and more alone. I didn’t know how I was going to get home from the mechanic’s. I felt hopeless.
Late that night, two of the most unexpected people deciphered my cryptic distress calls (I am not one to beg for help or be dramatic) and called and instant messaged me. They listened to me cry and they just listened. Then they asked how they could help. That was something. Something I didn’t know I needed until I heard the words and so I slept. I slept for 10 hours.
The next day I felt deeply saddened. The man I’ve been dating said in a text, “I have a feeling there’s something more than the car, am I right?” My response was, “car and money.” I realize now that was an oversimplification. Though it was these two things, it was more that despite all my hard work, my planning, my doing the right thing and being a good person, shit happened AGAIN and my shit is not together. Despite all my efforts, my fucking shit is not together!
Saturday I really wallowed. Typically, I bounce back. I go right into solving mode. Solving is what I’m good at. Coming up with a plan is what I’m good at. I just didn’t have it in me though.
I listened to one of those cheesy self help videos near the end of the day and something she said snapped me out of my self-pity a little. She asked, “Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food?” I of course do and I immediately thought that there are many out there that don’t. Then she asked, “Do you love yourself? Do you treat yourself and do you see yourself the way you would want others to treat and see you?” That’s when I turned it off.
Silence. More wallowing.
Then I slept for 11 hours.
Sunday I had a tiny bit of bounce in me, enough to go for a hike with my canine best friend. Oddly to me, on this hike my brain started ticking. As my body hiked rapidly, my mind began to come out of its paralyzed state and began cranking to come up with possible solutions. I remember getting to certain points of this trail route I know so well and realizing I didn’t remember any of the journey to get there. I was so wrapped up in my thoughts. I got home and I started researching and crunching numbers.
I looked up how long it would take me to ride my bike to work. Two hours. Yuck! I looked up how to take the bus to work. I looked up Car and Driver articles. I went to Honda’s website. And Subaru’s. And Toyota’s. I wrote my dad an email. I filled out an Excel budget spreadsheet my uncle made me back in January. I was too scared to see the results up until I felt like I finally had to. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I felt some relief.
Sunday I also called a few friends. None of them answered but I left messages. I also gave Shilo a bath and I baked banana muffins. I was still in silence but I was feeling a coming out of the debilitation. A little.
I don’t know what is going to happen next but I realized some things about me, which deep down I think I already knew. I’m just good at suppressing it. I keep so busy so I don’t feel alone. I surround myself with people but keep them in arms reach so I don’t feel so alone and so I don’t get hurt. Yet when I’m forced to be still and be alone, and when I’m hit with something that feels overwhelming and unfixable, really, the utter truth of it is, it’s ok. It’s going to be ok.
While I’ve been wallowing and in my bubble of silence and debilitation, everything around me just keeps on keeping on. (Well, maybe everything except my car). There is something magical about the contrast between silence and buzz. We can’t appreciate one without the other. In the same way, I couldn’t appreciate how good I actually have it without being snapped into the thought of how many out there have it so much worse. I also couldn’t appreciate sleep until I fully realized how much my body must have needed it when I just let it because I had nowhere I could be.
Though it remains to be seen whether my Subaru has seen the end of her adventurous days, it took her being towed away from me for me to stop, get still, get silent and start over.
Do you go off the grid every once in a while? How do you feel when you’re either forced or force yourself to stop? What changes? I’d love to hear from you! Please reply in the comment section below.