It’s been super gawky being reborn. Turns out that if you’ve accidentally been using your survival instict as a default function, over time it becomes your standard operating system. It’s been clunky unmaking and remaking myself, rediscovering and improving myself but here’s what I’ve got:
It’s not that easy to take pictures (but you totally should) or (gasp) to watch movies. I think I miss the contractual obligation of renting them (and it’s why I’ll still leave my house to see them in person). Having all these choices from my couch leaves me exhausted because somehow having so many options to choose from makes the choosing (and sticking to said choice) a paradoxically difficult task: it’s just so much easier to rewatch The Office for the 10th time instead and then look up each day in dismay to find that it’s way too late to start watching Casablanca or The Godfather or any other classic (modern or otherwise). I finally saw The Matrix properly as an adult last month though, and I really enjoyed it. Although at this point I’ve seen and heard so many references and homages that I I had grasped the general footnotes. I felt the same way when I finally saw Chigaco (and found that I knew every song) and Star Wars. But there’s nothing like seeing an orginal idea at the source. I rarely regret seeing a new old movie but my goodness the inexplicable effort required to do so is wild to me.
Speaking of source;
I’ve been feeling excruciatingly guilty about not doing art. At least not in the way I’d envisioned myself doing art but it’s dawning on me that I totally have been practicing it: my clothing and outfit risks have been a source of great experimentation and delight. My eye for cute design choices and visual harmonies has been gradually sharpened with each risk, successful or otherwise. I fell off the Artist’s Way wagon several times (and got back on several more): I repeated weeks and then Week 6 kicked my ass and brought me to a screeching halt for SIX literal weeks. I start week 7 next week (major win!). I think I’m going to read this manual on repeat for the rest of my life and I can already tell its going to be a different experience each time.
I was equally gutted by how little I’d been reading physical books. I don’t know what’s happened to my attention span, I used to be great at hallucinating to ink on repurposed trees. I can barely read in the bath anymore and instead inhale inspiring/beautiful images and whisper poems to myself among the bubbles (which is actually such a wonderful way to pass the time and I’d enjoy it more if I wasn’t so fixated on what I wasn’t/should be doing). I genuinely wonder what effort it will take to get back to reading for pleasure full time and the dormant bookworm in me is quaking. I’m learning that you don’t just get to wish something and make it so. It’s why rich people don’t have all the answers or all the time in the world. I’m finding that the art of living is in that tension between who you are right this very second and who you could be and enjoying both versions equally with patience and gladness (stubborn gladness). That being said, my dream of reading 2 books a month has taken new shape in the form of audiobooks. In this strange way: I’ve easily exceeded this target. I’ve listened to more books in the past 6 months than I’ve physically read in years. Books I’ve been dying to find the time to read and now I’ve listened to them instead! I still miss the original form but a need to both be gentle with myself and accommodating of my warring needs (acquiring knowledge and rehabilitating my attention span) has required the creative solution of Audiobooks and I am grateful. Bonus points: traffic is now a background nuisance as opposed to a marathon of annoyance.
My body is doing so well! I stretch, I breathe, I dance in my mirror most evenings. I do yoga for fun (I’m not very good at it) and I pay a big man to bully me into lifting heavy things twice a week. My favourite part is the loving gentle encouraging internal monologue that goes on during these grueling sessions. I’ve started taking lessons and courses (filmmaking, film history, acting), I’m considering giving Masterclass one last try. I’m trying and for the most part I’d say I’m succeeding. I saw a picture of myself in a bathing suit the other day and I was pleasantly surprised. When I politely asked the lady at the Clinique counter what eure cream would do for (I’m still not entirely convinced eye cream isn’t a scam) she said I had dark circles and laugh lines. I took a look and couldn’t decide if I could see the darkness; as far as I could tell that’s how my eyes have always looked (maybe I’ve always been tired?) but most importantly: they don’t bother me. And then I laughed, emphasising my point and said “the laugh lines aren’t going anywhere, if anything they’ll only get worse”. I hope I’m right, I plan to laugh for a long time. It’s part of my beauty routine. My abs depend on it. It’s one of the ways my body lets me know it is doing well.
I’m calling this section Announcements in Accountability
I’m finally writing the scrapbook (coming soon-ish to a 2022 near you). It’s been 5 years since we all started and it feels like a lovely time to revisit where we started as we collectively branch out far and wide.
I’m also in the process of brainstorming (launching) a podcast in conjunction with YoungMD where we’ll open up intimate dialogue about what we can do for and about our profession as a whole after what can only be described as a brutal couple of years (while I work in the background on a teaching workshop for health professionals in clinical spaces). Bottom line: we need to do better by each other. I think we should talk about it. And keep talking about it until we know what (and how) to do better.
My plans: as above.
I’m risking delight. Being vulnerable. Being as hot as possible and enjoying my version of a Hot Girl Era (that’s literally been my mandate to my trainer. When he asked my goal I said: “to be as hot as possible at my earliest convenience”). I’m appreciating synchronicity. Allowing failure to become an old friend again. Being a beginner (this one is still surprisingly difficult). Remembering that the plan wasn’t to do more things but to be more Me. Living the Desiderata. Changing the world (well, even if it’s just my tiny corner of it).
I like that I’ve accidentally been creative in my expression of creativity, that nothing is going according to plan but seems to be falling into place anyway. I love walking the tightrope. Nothing is perfect but I am (dare I say it?) happy. And if that’s not the goal then what is? In the words of Corinne Bailey Rae: “it feels like caramel… And it’s like seeing the sun again/after years of only pouring rain/oh my soul”