Thursday, June 14, 2012

Keeping It Together

Sometimes you can take over the world.

Or at least it feels that way. Sometimes all the things you used to think were impossible don't seem that far-fetched after all.

Like running a 5k. I never used to be a runner. I was a dancer for a good while, and that meant I was exercising, so that was quite good enough as far as I was concerned, never mind that I'd never run a mile.

But dancing costs money, whereas using the treadmill at my apartment gym does not. So I've started to run a little, and now I'm in transition to running outside, like for real. And maybe I'm not there yet, but 5k doesn't seem so impossible now.

Maybe I can do this.

And sometimes you consider something that you always believed was out of reach and you think... but why should it be? Like starting a business. After all, my grandfather started two of them. Oh, but he was a man, and despite all the powerful women blazing the way I still always believed deep down that girls don't really do that. And he was professional and, well, old, and I'm...


[dawning realization]

...not a kid any more.

There was a moment this past weekend when that occurred to me. I haven't been a kid for years, but somehow, in some of the dark corners of my mind, I'd never quite made the jump to adult. Until now. And suddenly I looked at the world and thought to myself, “Why not me?”

Not that I'm going to drop everything and start some bold new endeavor just because, but my mentality shifted just enough to let me see what the world could look like if I'd only stop being my own worst enemy. It was beautiful.

[Dramatic pause.]


Sometimes there's a catch.

Sometimes, directly on the heels of empowerment, comes the dose of reality. Less than 24 hours after my beautiful epiphany everything started to go a little bit wrong.

I said something, a small thing, that was perfectly innocent. But I realized a minute later that it could have been taken the wrong way, and more people than myself might have been affected, and by then it was too late to take it back.

Professional people don't make those kinds of mistakes. Right?

I had to make a phone call, and I got the voice mail and left a message, and it was one of the most convoluted messages I've ever sent. It was awkward and all over the place and I felt like a disaster.

People who are “with it” aren't people who make messes. Are they?

Then I tried to write, but the words wouldn't come (and I took half an hour agonizing over the ending of a chapter before remembering I was only on the first draft), and I wondered if I'd ever get my head on straight, and I complained on Twitter, which I always tell myself I should never do but then do anyway.

And then everything in the world decided it needed my attention. Emails, errands, appointments. One doesn't take over the world by... (well I was going to say “by endless trips to the bank,” but maybe that is how one takes over the world). By picking up graduation cards, let's say. What's more, I did all this in shorts and a tank top, the first two things I pulled out of my unprofessional closet. Not exactly a power suit.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to keep it together, you end up a little bit messy.

But maybe that's ok. Maybe real accomplishment isn't just about inspiration and determination but about working through the messes instead of fretting over them. And maybe “keeping it together” isn't as much about perfectionism as it is about attitude.

So what's that mean? This all comes down to a net sum of... what? Have I gained anything by going through the high and the low?

Yes. One lesson: keep going.

That's it? An abrupt little platitude?

Or is it...

Take the next step, whatever the next step might be. When I want to do something big but that thing seems impossible, be brave and take the next step. When nothing is going right and I feel like a walking catastrophe, suck it up and take the next step.

And when I'm sitting in front of the computer screen, fighting whatever battle I'm facing, close my eyes, count to ten, and take the next step.

1... 2... 3... ...


  1. I identify with this so much right now. I'm still always surprised I'm an adult too.

    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting! Nice to meet you. I'm really glad to know I'm not the only one feeling this way. (Always a little scary to post this sort of thing.)

    2. Nice to meet you too. I saw Jamie's RT and was like, yes, a kindred spirit. :)

    3. Great! :) Always good to meet kindred spirits. How do you know Jamie?

    4. I don't actually know her all that well, she's a friend of a friend, like a writer second cousin or something, haha

    5. That's kind of how it works in the writing world, isn't it? I've got quite a few of those.

    6. Yeah, it sometimes feels like a big extended family. Twitter's done a great job of connecting.