I hope you're all doing ok? I don't have a lot to report right now other than that I'm finding this time of reemergence quite disorientating and lonely and exhausting.
If you're having any similar feels, well then here is your permission for slow! Speaking of which... Let's go...
At the end of last year — a time I think it’s safe to say held collective end-of-tether energy, I politely presented my doctor a case for (re)trying a particular medication. And because he is kind; because he knows my knowability, he gives me what I ask for without protest. It turns out, on this particular occasion, I got it so very wrong. What I asked for did not go so very well at all.
Which is to say, when I speak to him this last week, when I whisper, I am making some life changes, he replies: I think you should go so very gently.
And there it is, permission for slow.
Permission which I am always sceptical of. Of which I believe has been administrated under false pretence. Whenever someone tells me to go easy on myself, that I have time to figure things out, I assume it’s because they don’t quite know the full truth of how bad things are. Just how un-together I am. Which is perhaps as conceited as it is an issue of self-worth.
But equally, permission which is often offered from the privileged position of already having figured-it-out. Of which makes my eyes roll internally, which makes me want to scream: EASY FOR YOU TO SAY.
Because, a-hem, I am impatient.
And there it is, I am impatient.
When I meet Simone for coffee, masks-clad, we walk through the park and she sighs:
Too many things are changing.
Not enough things are changing, I reply.
Isn’t it funny how we lust after what everyone else has, fully unaware that our own stump is another’s little slice of heaven?.
When I get home from the park I look in my diary to the same date a whole year earlier. I suppose I am looking for evidence that things have in fact changed for me. April 2020: I was having a particularly bad time with my health, as it turned out, (as would be the case for the whole damn unfolding year and counting, but… not important.) And I was dialled into taking extra good care of myself (not a bad practice to have in tandem with a global health crisis). Nothing seemed to be working, I didn’t seem to be getting any better. But I wrote down these words:
I have to keep chipping away at good health like the Coronavirus curve itself. We don’t see the benefit of our actions today, in numbers, for another two-three weeks or so.
I was reminding myself to be patient, to have faith and that I’ll eventually receive return for the kindness I give to myself today. Having future Esme’s back etc etc. Because there is a buffer.
In my impatience, remember the buffer, Esme.
At the start of December 2020, I stopped meditating. I had previously mediated every morning without fail for God knows how long, but then I stopped because of the aforementioned what I asked for did not go so very well at all.
And for nearly five months I have been avoiding the fact that my stopping correlates with my nosediving mental health.
Very ‘sad to report exercise actually helps’ energy.
Because I never felt meditation’s presence when I did it but have certainly felt its absence when I didn’t. Because there is a buffer between myself of today and the self that reaps the rewards of what I do today. Because instant gratification is palliative but not conjunctive to cause and effect. I am bamboo shoots doing their thing underground; working to their own seven-year plan.
And maybe….I don’t feel the presence of all this trying, but I’d certainly feel its absence if I didn’t bother.
That, for all I am doing to bring about change to no such success — with every email refresh that delivers no new opportunity, with every time I pick up my phone to radio silence, I will remember the buffer. I don’t feel the presence of my attempts to change, but I’ll certainly feel not reaching in the direction for change.
Very ‘don’t ask and you don’t get’ energy.
Much like, flattening the curve, there is a buffer period. And it means blind faith sometimes. A goddamn internal eye-roll after eye-roll for the impatient among us.
By the middle of December my yoga teacher introduces me to Muditā — the Buddhist practice of sympathetic joy. Which is to say, joy that comes from watching others succeed. Joy detached from self-interest. Or at least, a concept opposing schadenfreude.
And it takes another kind of eye-roll to look to friends or relative strangers on the internet and see everything working out for them without envy, but I genuinely do see change for others — if not for me, as evidence change is possible, period. Things really are being made manifest every day, all you have to do is look around.
So I guess I must, I guess I have to, keep my eye on that buffering beach ball. Maybe even switch from 1080p to 720p to get things moving, but eventually, life will load.
Very ‘Change becoming Change (Taylor’s Version)’ energy.
As always, I love to hear from you. If you liked today’s newsletter, want to carry on the conversation or have any thoughts or feedback at all, do hit reply. Or feel free to share or forward this email to a friend. Thanks for reading x