I don’t know how to do what the book wants me to do today. I think I might be confused. The way the book is set up there is a short chapter for each day and then sometimes it tells you to turn to exercises at the back of the book. Today is titled “Writing Meditation” and it says “Now it’s time to slow down a bit. This would be a great time to Recharge. Turn to page 215 and then come back here for the guided meditation” But the exercise on page 215 involves taking a day of rest or unplugging for 24 hours and then write about it. But if I took a day of rest right now I wouldn’t be able to do today’s assignment. I thought this was supposed to be 30 days straight of writing.
Also, I’m going, to be honest. I don’t even understand the concept of a day of rest. How the fuck does that even work? I keep a daily task list of all the things I do every day, on a day of rest would I just not do any of those things? Would I not do my exercises, or take vitamins? Who feeds the cats? Who feeds me and washes the dishes? What do you even do on a day of rest, do you just stare at the wall? Do you read a book or watch TV? While I was injured and I couldn’t do my chores and tasks I got super, super depressed. Putting the little checks on my list is sort of the only reason I get up in the morning. I feel like taking a whole day off and not doing that stuff would be super stressful, because I would have to do it later.
I guess when I go on vacation, away from home I am not doing most of my tasks. So it can be done…but why? I’m willing to give it a try I guess, but I don’t think now is the best time to take a whole day off. But then again, it might be the only time. I should be starting back to work soon and I am going to be starting to move in June if everything goes according to plan. Once work or the move starts I can’t take a whole day off. Could I instead take a long time one day off? Like 4 or 8 hours? I think I could manage that without guilt.
Is it fucked up that the idea of not doing stuff for a day makes me feel sick levels of guilt and anxiety? I’m not actually doing anything super important as it is. I’m not lying to myself about this, I know I mostly do my own made up list of busy work. I feel “productive” with all my little tasks if I don’t think about it too hard, which I am now, and starting to question why I’m even alive. I think this is getting into a personal journal or talk to a psychiatrist territory, moving on.
So, I’m not doing the exercise today, but I am as a compromise I’m going to put on my to-do list “Day off” this will be a day when I do my body upkeep stuff (15 minute PT, eat, take meds) and my most important household stuff (Feed cats and Do dishes) but other than that I will not do anything. I’ll get food delivered. I’ll not write, clean, or do “high-value tasks”. I’ll spend a good solid 8 hours watching TV or something. Moving on.
The next part of today’s assignment was reading a sort of guided meditation and then writing about a time when you felt free, happy or at peace.
The Beach, at Night
I’m on a beach, it’s near sunset or night time. This isn’t one specific beach or one specific date. It’s all the times I have ever been on a beach, alone or nearly alone from sunset to sunrise.
It’s a night in Hawaii, sitting the sand, looking out to the black waves, which are louder than the music behind me from the Monona Surfrider Hotel, the music, and the waves sound right together, natural. I had been feeling hurt and ignored when I walked out to the beach, but the sound of the waves and faint music pull the pain out, leaving my soul silent.
I’m a child, we’re staying on Tybee Island. I’m standing on the pier by myself, it nearly high tide. The place where I played and searched for shells just hours earlier is gone, under the waves that crash against the wooden legs, shaking the pier. There is no one to hurt me here. No one to judge me. I have never felt so completely alone before, so amazingly free. I think about stepping off, into the water, giving myself to the waves. I don’t do it, but I realize that I could and that gives me comfort. On some of my worst days to come, I’ll look back at that night, half wishing I had joined sea, but more so reminding myself that it’s still there, it’s always there, always waiting. If I really, really need to get away she is waiting, ready to receive me. There is a place I can go, that never changes, that always will accept me. I guess, that makes it home?
It’s sunset, near the north shore of O’ahu. We get to the beach just as almost everyone else is leaving. The only other people are two guys down the shore fishing and an old lady with lots of cats who lives in a tent near the tree line. Aside from them it just me and my husband, we have had a nice day, a perfect day. With sea turtles, peacocks, weird local honey and tiny bananas. We are both tired and happy. He wants to leave, to go back to the hotel, but he indulges me this time, letting me do something that I really want, even if it’s a little stupid and inconvenient. I am so happy. The sand here is deep and hard to walk on, the changing area far away. I have a sarong in my bag, I put it on and strip out of my clothes under it. I walk to the water, and take it off quickly, before jumping into the burnt orange water. I swim alone in a tiny tropical bay as the last rays of the sun fade. The only light comes from the windows of multi-million dollar homes in the distance. Those people get to see this water every day, but I wonder how many of them have ever skinny dipped alone in it? Right now the whole ink-black ocean is mine. The moment is perfect, my life is perfect.
It’s two hours before dawn when I hobble up the sand, using one crutch. It hurts a lot, but I don’t say anything. My injured leg doesn’t like the shifting uneven ground or the beach plants that try to grab at my support. I’m afraid of falling. I’m tired, we have been up all night. My boyfriend drove me 6 hours away from home so I could watch the sunrise on the winter solstice. I feel grateful and oddly melancholy. We reach the beach to find it totally deserted, the only sound is the waves. There are lights in the distance, lights from the hotel behind us, but not so many that I can’t see the stars. It’s not as cold as you would think, but cold enough. I sit in a camp chair, wrapped in a flannel blanket and wait for the new sun to be born. I feel like I’m at the edge of the world. I feel hopeful, maybe the worst year of my life is going to end this night. Maybe the sun will dawn on a new world, where I don’t hurt all the time, where I don’t feel trapped and afraid all the time. Maybe the darkest part of my life is over. And maybe not, at that moment it’s enough to listen to the song of the waves.
I have others, but I don’t want to do this all day. I love the ocean at night. Someday I’m going to live near the sea, someday I might die in it.
That’s not all! Today is going to be a long writing day! Now the book wants me to pick a card from the prompt stack. I had been wondering when we would start using the cards.
Prompt “How do you define living on your own terms?” 5 minutes
Money. It’s all about money, that is the only possible freedom. And I hate that so much it burns inside. But I accept it, because I can’t change it, that is our world. I have spent my whole life needing others, obeying others, bowing down because that is how you live. To live on my own terms would be to have enough money to pay all my bills, to have my own home, to have enough money for food, healthcare and medicine. If I had twice that amount I could travel, I could see the places I have dreamed of, I could be the person I wish I was. I’m not submissive by nature, but by nurture. I learned subservience equals survival.
I still need to do my WIP writing. But short break first.
I did some edits my friend suggested on the story I finished yesterday and then did some research on my next story, but not any actual writing it yet.
Total time today 2 hours 13 minutes