I was in an inexplicable slump the past few days. It's harder to write here (or at all) when I'm feeling down. My spiritual advisor Leslie suggested the word inertia. All I wanted to do is get under the covers and watch many back to back episodes of Intervention on the internet.
It might've had to do with the news that Spangles and I didn't get the apartment we applied for. Of course, I dealt with it maturely and moved on quickly, except maybe I didn't, and what was inexplicable was actually my disappointment sneaking to the surface anyway. As much as I wanted to roll with the punches, the news touched a tender spot for me: the fear that even if you work and plan for a desirable life/future, forces beyond your control will eventually use your hopes and dreams as a port-a-potty. So why even try? (Thus, the mouldering dishes in the sink, the tsunami of clothes strewn carelessly about the apartment, the half-hearted and not very successful attempts at, you know, doing anything.)
I know I have to fight this inclination. I have to talk myself out of it, say "Listen, disappointments come but great apartments are plentiful and the great life you imagined in this one didn't come from the apartment, it came from you." I'm also sort of toying with the belief that life is unfurling according to a higher logic that I can't necessarily understand from my vantage point but ultimately makes things work out OK. It's a comforting thought, but I really don't know if I believe it or not.
When I feel myself get down I also get panicky, because I'm like "oh no happinessFAIL" and I have a really hard time tolerating it and reminding myself of what I really do know, that I won't be stuck there forever. That's the problem, my panic makes my mind slow and I can't remember to do the things I know to do.
Finally I did, though. I called The Twin, and she told me to just accomplish one productive thing, because that usually makes you feel in control of the universe again. I walked my rent check over and it did in fact make me feel like at least a minimally effective human being. I took a shower. Then Spangles called and said F-Money and friends were grilling, and you know I was in a bad place because I didn't even really feel like going. The Twin convinced me, however, to put on civilian clothes and a little makeup and get out there anyway. Fake it till you make it, as they say.
And then I remembered my cache of inspirational books, and grabbed one to read on the trolley. I opened it up to a page where they author was basically like "Hey, you think nobody ever has bad days, gets scattered, makes mistakes? You think everyone else has it all together? 'Cause they don't. We're all perfectly imperfect, all the time." And I did that old familiar inner forehead slap and some of the pressure eased.
And then at F-Money's I drank sun tea and talked of other things, and by the time dark had fallen and the tiki torches were lit and we had supped and drank wine, the panic had slipped away completely.
And a lovely coincidence also helped me. Several months ago, as I was crawling out of the rubble of my bout with colitis and hopelessness, I bought myself a pretty little ring as a reminder that I am responsible for my own happiness. I had lost track of it for several weeks, but as I was dumping out a purse to get ready to go, it fell right out onto the floor like a gift.
I picked it up and put it on my finger, a reminder, a message I'd left for myself from a more enlightened time.