My left eye felt like the nesting site of a large bird, the weight suctioning my lid to my cheek. I couldn’t tell if I had a right eyelid or not. I was too distracted by the weight of the left.
I hobbled towards a park bench, both ankles swollen and pulsing with another long shift. My bike came to rest against a tree–me lacking the strength sufficient to pull down the kickstand. I clambered up the bench from the ground up, like Alex Honnold.
I was tired, physically, after dashing around to cook breakfast for a number of hours. But I was more tired emotionally.
From the constant people interaction, the day-after-day lack of personal space, the feeling of homelessness, no place to simply be Josie. It was heavy. Heavy like that large bird perched on my eyelid.
So I plopped myself on the bench, right cheek pressed into the wooden seat, knees on the planks, bum high in the air.
My mind was foggy, my lips hung open, a thin bit of drool wiggled out. Fortunately it was spouting rain, or else more fashionable Ponsonby Sunday-strollers would have born witness to the Village Crazy on the park bench.
A little woe is me began to sing itself from my consciousness; woe is me who has an hour bike ride back home, woe is me who has to wake up and do it all over again, woe is me who has to share living space. A song I’m familiar with. Woe is me who has to work so many jobs. Woe is me that I don’t have more people to dump my woes upon. And it kept going, in the rain, with the birds, beside my bike, in front of other humans.
a voice cut through. Just cut through all the noise. Like crystal cutting a mirror, it sliced.
None of that is real.
My left eyelid raised.
None of that is real.
You’re completely fine. None of that is real.
It was like a drink of water when you didn’t realize you’re thirsty. I swallowed and sunlight gravy dripped down, refreshing me from the inside out, relaxing my joints and unsticking my face from the bench.
None of this is real.
It’s all completely made up. By me. By me!
The tiredness ceased. My eyelids opened. I swear even the rain stopped. My frustrations over a lack of personal space, a home of sorts, completely faded. I was amused, so amused by this reminder: that none of this is real. My perception is influenced by whatever I am thinking.
It’s not “real”; objective, concrete, fixed. It’s manipulatable.
This is a common theme running through my posts, my poetry, my morning meditations and my self-talk. That reality is my perception of what is real. I am in charge of my own reality.
But I keep forgetting—I have to practice coming back to it, letting the clear voices cut through the noise, letting myself empower myself.
Maybe after 10,000 reminders, it’ll stay.
All the customer interaction frustrations, getting angry about cooking lamb sausage instead of pork, about burning the bacon, being embarrassed about…whatever. Why should that stress me out? Why should that tamper my being?
I don’t need personal space–I want personal space. I tell myself I need it, though, so then my body craves it and reacts accordingly. I don’t need to be liked–plenty of people have probably disliked me without my happy knowledge, and I survived. I want to be liked. I tell myself I need it, though, and react accordingly.
Physically, I am positive I can do a lot more than five 8-hour shifts on my feet in a row. What about the Grecian runners who ran through mountains to deliver messages? What about those who thru-hike the Appalachian Trail? Of course there’s training and physical acclimatization and genetics, but I fail to take account for my mind. I think I can’t do something. I react accordingly.
In a stoic-infused fashion, what if I lived through “stress” as if I were untouchable? As if my mind were a fortress that only the powerful could visit or stay. That if, when I felt offended, I just told myself: nope, that doesn’t bother me. That doesn’t get to stay.
That’s not real.
But I keep forgetting–and I have to practice coming back, letting the clear voices cut through the noise.
Maybe after 10,000 reminders it’ll stay.
Peace and blessings,