Get Small

get smallWhen life is at its most excruciating, most painful, at its most “I can hardly deal with this minute much less imagine how to deal with the next one,” I get small.

Small like wind tightly around your very core, curl up, tuck in, get low kinda small.

It’s a strange dichotomy. If you know me, you know I have always been drawn to living a big life. In J-school in college I realized I didn’t want to be a journalist because I couldn’t stomach the thought of having to write day in and day out about what was happening right next door. Like, in my town? Blah, blah, snore, BORING, save me. To this day I never watch the local news unless there’s a tornado warning. I’m all about 30,000 feet. Big Picture. National, if not INTERNATIONAL. I don’t want to travel in my state, I want to CROSS THE SEA. I don’t want to work in the field, I want to SET THE OVERALL STRATEGY.  I don’t want a few people to read my blog, I want it to be MILLIONS. “And my heaven will be a big heaven, and I will walk through the front door …”

This isn’t a value judgment, it’s simply a statement of what I I found interesting and what drew me forward.

Yet when life slams me square in the gut I’m driven to get as small as I possibly can. I want nothing more than the most smallness that small can be.

I don’t care about social media. I couldn’t give a flying fuck about Donald Trump. Or what’s gone viral. Or what everyone is going on about today, or the next day, or the day after that. Go on loudly if you must. Rant and rave to your heart’s content. I can’t manage international, country, state, or county. Not municipality, suburb, or even street. I’m focused on square footage about the size of the skin I’m in. Over here in the quiet. In the corner, with the Strugglers.

You don’t get to judge the Strugglers. You don’t get to tell me what I should be doing. What I’m supposed to be speaking out about. Or caring about. Taking action on. Feeling. You don’t get to decide anything at all about me because you don’t matter. Not a single iota. What matters is breathing.

I care about breathing right now. Can I breathe today? Can I not spend the day crying, and if and when I do cry can I allow myself that moment, embrace it and then move on? Can my feet feel the energy radiating out of the sun-baked earth? How thinly can I slice this radish and what are its nutrients? How long will this laundry stay toasty after I take it out of the dryer? I am 100% the wide, embracing foundation of the pyramid of needs, thank you Maslow. Air. Food. Safety. Warmth.

I move slowly. I talk less and to fewer people, if almost none. I notice small movements and the littlest sounds. Early every morning I get up, make myself a cup of coffee and go sit outside on the patio. I just sit there. I look at the trees. The sky. I watch the breeze flutter Bentley’s fur. I listen to the birds and I wonder about them. Thirty minutes pass by while I contemplate everything and nothing.

I got an app on my phone called Calm and I sit there and do the daily meditation even though I’m terrible at meditating, honestly, but I don’t care. I don’t care how good I am at it because I’m not about achieving a damn thing right now. No my breath work isn’t that great and yes there’s all sorts of stuff coming into my head and hell yes I’m going to scratch that itch, and screw it because, whatever, I’m sitting here trying right?

I’m achieving nothing other than living and providing care and love to my children and that’s it and that’s cool. It’s as big an achievement as any other. That’s my entire assignment, the one I’m giving to myself right now because NO ONE ELSE is allowed to make any assignments for me but me. I am no longer in your jurisdiction.

I’m sorry that I’ve let you down by not focusing on you and making your life better. I’m sorry I’m not doing or saying whatever you think is important. I’m so sorry I can’t save your life today. I’m just super busy over here trying to save mine.

For the longest time I believed I had no value in the world unless I saved as many lives as possible. And so I did. I don’t regret that for one second. I’m so glad and grateful to have been able to dedicate more than a decade to other people’s health and welfare. Some people will scoff at me saying that because they like to scoff at things, they love scoffing and grumbling and sneering and snarking, and well, those people have a whole different set of problems and I see you shaking your head because you know exactly what I mean.

My set of problems, a different set, has had a lot to do with focusing on everyone else. What I could achieve for everyone else. How I could make sure others were happy. Because then? Then, I will be okay. I will be worthy. THEN, my biological mother will love me. It will happen THEN. I will earn a place.

THEN, I’ll be enough.

Now, though, I’m at a place where simply breathing is more than enough. And as bad of a place as that is, it’s also a very good place. A strange and wonderful place. Because breathing is … enough. What?!

If you’re in the Strugglers’ corner right now, and if you’d like to, you’re welcome to breathe with me. Get small with me. Come look at the way the sun casts shadows in the afternoon. Listen to the fly buzzing in the kitchen. Ignore the phone calls and the shoulds and the listicles and the cacophonies and just breathe with me. Live. Just live. Just be. Exalt in the expansive BIGNESS of the smallness.

And to those who can’t stand when the Strugglers turn away and focus in? Get over yourselves. Your sputtering self-righteousness is honestly the only thing we find utterly hilarious at the moment.

Right now, almost nothing is everything. Living is enough. Breathing. Seeing. Walking. Sitting. Sleeping. Feeling your heart beat inside your chest. It’s more than enough.