You’ll pretty much just scratch your head and say “WTF? Did she buy a sailboat?” and I’ll say “no, but yes, exactly.”

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

I’m struggling with reality.

Not in the sense that I’m hallucinating or thinking I’m Marie Antoinette or that my cat is telling me to build it so that they will come.  I’m not hearing voices, however much I’ll admit to listening very intently for them on occasion.

No, I’m not crazy.  Although, wouldn’t that be cooler and easier, I think.

But even still, I’m struggling.  Perhaps it’s more with perspective than reality, but the two seem desperately intertwined right now.

I am the moment in which I stand.

I have the ability to suck the marrow from a moment until it is lying empty and lifeless at my feet.  I prowl through life in search of the next moment to feed off of, devouring each one completely in an effort to sustain myself.

And I have clearly been watching too many vampire stories.

And yet, the analogy fits.

It’s a blessing and a curse.  It’s the reason I can write about an emotion with fierce clarity, because I can completely lose myself in it until I’ve discovered every nuance and subtlety.  It’s the reason I laugh harder than most, because the humor of a fleeting second seeps into my toes and fills me up until I’m overflowing.

It’s the reason I can cry for hours, at a death or at a movie.

And it’s the reason I’m so terribly lost right now.

I don’t know what is real.

I know that I have been heartbroken.  I know that I have been empty.  I know that I have felt despair and anger and resentment and fear.  I know I have felt shame.  I know that I have felt a desperate desire for more, as well as an overwhelming guilt for my discontent.

And yet, too, I have felt peace.  I have felt serenity and calm.  I have felt love and connectedness and security.  I have felt the sweet relief of being loved and a surge of pride and respect.

And while I know there are times when the dichotomy can exist simultaneously in one life, I sense that if one is truly more real than the other, then that reality must be the one that guides me.

I have no idea what the next right thing is.

I look to my values and my truths for instruction, but even they cannot be trusted right now.  Do I believe them out of guilt?  Do I value them out of obligation and responsibility and an entire world telling me what I should?  Is it fear of disappointment and loss and failure that I’m clinging to?

I can’t tell.

Or rather, I don’t trust myself to tell.  Because what I can tell in this moment is hopelessly tied to this moment.

I’m searching for an anchor, for someone who can see beyond the boat to the ocean and the shore and tell me where I’m at in this big, bad sea.

But there is no neutral anchor.  There is no dead weight to quietly sink into the sand without an inclination towards one tide or another.

You are swayed by the shore, because your feet are firmly planted on it and you believe firmly in the happiness it brings.

You are swayed by the open water, because it’s where you’ve found the freedom of being alive.

You are afraid of the rocks, because you know the destruction they bring.

And you, you cannot fathom being lost at sea.  Because you have always known your way and your vessel is always exactly what it should be before you untie from the dock – if you ever untie at all.

So I drift alone out here, knowing that all the maps I’m pouring over were written by someone with their own destination in mind.  Knowing only that it must be my compass that guides me – but having absolutely no clue where North and South lie.

Except that compasses and North and South are, in the real world, permanent.  They are universal and unchanging.

And there is no compass or North or South to connect my right to yours.

What do you want?

What do you believe?

What will make you happy?

And all I know for sure is that I haven’t got a clue.

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  1. bo says:

    “The good traveler casts aside her map and is not intent upon her destination.” ~Lao Tzu

    If you can and do get that lost in a moment, I’d say that’s where you’re supposed to be, as opposed to moving through it to something else.

  2. LeSombre says:

    I was expecting pictures of your new sailboat.
    ;-)

  3. I get the whole lost, drifting feeling.

    And that feeling of being up a creek without a paddle.

    Just watch out for jellyfish.

    But, should you get stung by one, please know that I will totally pee on your leg.

    Because that is what friends are for.

  4. Restlessness is a characteristic of an active mind… and of a writer.

    John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley: “I would like to sit still for a while but I’m restless you know and sitting still is only an ideal like celibacy and complete cleanliness.”

    I don’t think celibacy is an option. I hope. And complete cleanliness should be an ideal. Yes. So you might need to do some traveling. Pull up your anchor and set sail… it’s the perfect combination of the temporary and the permanent. It’s one answer in discovering where you are in this big, bad sea without severing your anchor to life. Thinking of you with great love…

    • Finn says:

      @Sharon – Mom Generations, Excellent insight. Creative people are ever restless, never satisfied. Imagine what would not get created if that weren’t so.

  5. Finn says:

    Does any one thing keep rearing its head? If so, that may be the direction you need to go in.

    Can you be still for a little while? Quiet? Can you sit and listen to your heart and hear what it says, without all the background noise of “should” and “have to” and what he says and she thinks?

    And can you stand with one foot on shore and the other knee-deep in the surf?

  6. Becca says:

    Beautiful writing Britt!

    C and I both get very antsy and want to move out of our spaces. I think given the option we would leave all this behind and start over. But there are children.

    I say all that to say, I understand. Maybe not totally, but somewhat I understand the feeling of being in the moment and still wanting to move and be free.

  7. Maria says:

    I can relate to this, immensely. In fact, it feels like you clawed into my brain and wrote the post I’m choking on.

  8. Nanna says:

    We have talked about this before but it is in these moments that you sit back and go back over your values and say, what is it that I value, and in what order. Because values are nothing if not tested from time to time, right? Once you have that road map in place, decisions come easier. Not EASY, but at least easier.

    Just please don’t shut yourself off, baby girl.

  9. I am feeling this way right now. You expressed the thoughts so much better than I could have.

  10. NYCWD says:

    I used to believe in others, trust in others, and take their perspectives, values, and lessons to heart from which I would then take action because obviously they were wiser than I.

    Now I believe in myself, and while I value the lessons and perspective of others, I no longer take action based solely on them, for there is no one wiser about me than myself.

    So now that you have this boat, when are we going fishing?

  11. NaysWay says:

    Are you my sister? I know I’m an only child and all, but I’m starting to think you’re related to me somehow. Do you mind having a black sister?

    I’m going to have to agree with @Finn. Being still has been the only thing to help me when I’m feeling exactly how you are (which has been fast and often lately). If I don’t get those moments where I shut down the world, it never stops. Then I’m right back where I started. And I live in constant fear (hence my site). And that’s not a shameless plug. I’m just sayin’.

    It’s overwhelming, especially when you don’t know how to make sense of it all.

    And can I just say, @NYCWD, you are my new hero?! I love that advice.

  12. I think, for me, it’s about rocking with (rather than fighting) the waves.

    That ocean is infinitely different every single second. It has never once looked the same as it did the minute before. I can keep trying to capture it, or I can go with it.

  13. Habbala says:

    What a beautifully honest post.

    I think everyone goes through times like this. But you are SO not alone. Not even kind of.

  14. michael says:

    In the water or on the shore. This life or that. This moment or the one that came before. Or the one that comes after.
    Clearly, the choice is more complex than The Places You’ll Go, but couldn’t the solution be a little like the one Forrest Gump comes to at the end of the film? When he thinks about whether or not “we each have a destiny or we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze.” Ultimately he believes that perhaps it’s both – both are happening at the same time.
    Could you do that?
    Or is this a case where balance is less important than the choice?

  15. Robin says:

    Are you sure you aren’t Marie Antoinette?

  16. Not all who wander are lost, but figuring out where you want to be can be the hardest and most frightening question to face in life.

    Just know that there is no wrong decision. It’s only a matter of the best decision under the circumstances.

    (hugs)

  17. Poppy says:

    I believe in you.

  18. Kris says:

    I recently had my tarot read again (I have trouble reading myself), and basically it was this: it doesn’t matter which decision I make…just as long as I make one. The process is more important than the outcome. (For me, I guess that means shit or get off the pot.)

    Simply put “it doesn’t matter where you go from here…just go.” We deal with where we are when we’re there.

    You are not alone, and you have a lot of people behind you…we’re all here for you. And as Mr. Myagisaid, “There is no try…only do.”

  19. Faiqa says:

    Love you, woman. Whatever it is, you’ll come out smelling like roses. Or jasmine. Or lavender. Something good like that.

  20. Sybil Law says:

    I think you need an hour long massage, from someone paid to do it. And then a quiet evening just relaxing, and NOT thinking about this stuff.
    It’ll hit you, eventually.

  21. muskrat says:

    Let me guess–this all started when you drove by my house and Daddy D’z bbq without stopping after Brittlanta, didn’t it? Figures.

  22. Lizzle says:

    Britt,

    It’s posts like these that keep me coming back to you. Not because you are lost and the cat is no longer talking to you. But because you can express emotion, or confusion of emotion so well in words. I struggle with trying to find the words, then I come here and can just point at the screen and say, “that’s what I’ve been thinking! I just didn’t know what to call it!”

    As for your real question I don’t have an answer or advice. I’m too busy pointing at my computer screen saying, “those are the words I’ve been looking for all week!”

  23. This post is the story of my life.

  24. i have read this a dozen times and still am at a loss as to what to comment. all i know is i will support you regardless of the size and brand of boat. after all, you are the light!

  25. Tonz says:

    You just have such a way of writing. This sounds so familiar. My doctor says that I get depressed when I’m feeling like this and I get depressed because I’m depressed.

    Sometimes when I’m feeling like this, I sit, eyes closed and try meditate. If I can quiet all the crap, sometimes what is actually the problem just floats to the surface or I figure out what is important or where I should be.

    This is a such an incredibly powerful post.

  26. I would like to have a million and five slumber parties with you.

    I think you get me.

  27. Selma says:

    I really like Dawg’s comment. I think that we all have the power within ourselves to find what it is we’re looking for even if we’re not sure what that thing is. We have to trust in ourselves that we will discover what’s in our hearts.

    I know you’ll find the answers to your questions. Just give yourself some time.

  28. But, I think we’re all like this Britt. Or, at least, most of us. When that moment of happiness or sadness occurs, don’t we all just sit there in that moment, covering ourselves in the tears or laughter?

    I think you’re OK. I think you just need to remember that we’re all like this. It’s not just you. You’re normal. :)

  29. Allyson says:

    I am right here, right now. Your words are the vessel to my thoughts and feelings. I don’t know what is right either or if this is where I belong, but I do know that if I wait long enough I will find the North star and continue my voyage. It may not necessarily be in my time, but it will be in time. I hope your journey continues and makes you happy.

  30. Michelle says:

    This is a truly inspiring post — beautiful in its honesty. I think you very accurately describe what it is like to be caught in-between moments, almost a neither here nor there. I think every person has a time like this, where there’s a questioning and a loss of understanding; every person seems to work through it, too. It’s a good time for re-evaluation and figuring out where you want to head. Thanks for the post.

  31. Jen says:

    This is like you opened the top of my head and took a look at my hidden thoughts. I’ve been in a state of disorientation for over three years now (when I was so sure of my way before).

    I’m wondering how long – how much searching – it will take feel I’m on the right path.

  32. Al_Pal says:

    Powerful writing. I hope you are a little closer to figuring out where your emotional North and South are.

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