tipsy mcgee

On a subway home. Not even that tipsy. You’d think I would be.

People in masks everywhere. Seeing people from my old job for the first time since this all started.

A friend who used to recommend plays she’d seen. A year and a half went by and now she has another play rec. I could’ve cried. And somehow none of it feels any different. But all of it is.

What are we supposed to do with all of this. Is it really just a matter of moving forward with things like they were before. I don’t think it is.

But it’s not about being afraid either. It’s figuring out the movement that makes sense for yourself. It’s learning to ground and get clear and hear yourself. Listen to that quiet voice in your head that knows exactly what it needs.

It’s learning how to alchemize the hard emotions. The anger and fear and loneliness. Thoughts that you know are insane even as they speed by and light up anxiety in your stomach.

Feel them all. Deeply and intimately. That’s what’s recommended. Stare at them even though it hurts. Even though it makes you feel like a gross monster. That feeling is proof enough that something is happening.

Then the skies clear and you see someone else going through pain like that. And you soften in your heart because you have a sense of how that may feel. Pain sees pain. And empathy can slowly emerge. And there’s the transformation.

It’s hard to see that when the heavy hits. It can feel like a train slowly rubbing over you. Or imprisoning you. Or suffocating you. But it is possible to move through them. And that can lead to rewards. One moment of connection can melt pain into empathy. And all of that can lead you into the sunlight.

coffee-fueled anxious attachment

I can’t tell if I have a superpower for sensing that I’m about to get hurt, or if my fear and paranoia muscles are just grossly overdeveloped.

In any case here I am, having had a lot of coffee and now feeling the feels over not hearing from someone.

A long silence makes me feel like I’m on edge just waiting for them to break up with me. But there’s nothing to break up. We aren’t even dating. We are (actually) good friends.

Doesn’t matter! Anxiety will tell you that they don’t even want to be that with you anymore! That now they have someone who takes up every moment and they don’t need you anymore. And lots of mean, hurtful, sad ideas connected to that.

I don’t know if any of that is true. The only thing I can work with, in any given moment, is the swirl of thoughts and feelings happening in my brain and heart. If they feel painful and hard, then it’s time to do something soft. Something that soothes. Or something that lifts me up and feels good.

Exercise! Masturbation! Going on a date with a new person!

And sitting kindly, mindfully, lovingly with myself. Mm.

meditating on meditating oh god

I started meditating. Not after a dark night of the soul. Not to chant myself into bliss. Mostly just to try and not feel bad.

My practice didn’t have a dramatic beginning. It started with a woman on a wellness podcast, who didn’t sound anything like what I expected. She was warm, not pretentious or unreachable. She laughed, made jokes, told stories about her life. She made this whole thing, “mindfulness,” feel like it could be something easy and natural — if you just let it be.

I realized that, up until then, I’d dismissed “meditation experts” as creepily disconnected, monotone robots who sat in caves and floated on enlightened clouds of self-righteousness. But had I ever met one? Maybe some of them could be humans. At least one of them seemed like she was.

The podcast led to some internet research. The research led to an app download. And that led to me sitting alone and cross-legged on a bed, eyes shut.

The first thing they tell you — they the mysterious meditation experts — is that the point is not to shut off thought. That shutting off is, in fact, impossible. Willing yourself to stop thinking is akin to willing your own heart to stop beating. It creates a frustrating loop, where you think really hard about not thinking, and then beat yourself up because, surprise, you are still thinking.

I’ve spent many years on paths like that one, and I can assure you they all lead to madness.

The big secret (that many seem unwilling to accept) is that meditating is the act of sitting and feeling things as they happen. So I did that. And then did the same thing for a few minutes the next day, and the day after that.

At first it was just for one day. Then two days. Then a full week, and nothing scary had happened. The whole thing actually felt good. Not nirvana good, just… quiet. I didn’t feel anything different, but I had realized something surprising: that my mind did not naturally want to hate itself. It just wanted to be, and observe, and have ideas.

Some nights it did all of the above with the full-blast force of a firehose.

Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes it’s blissful. Sometimes it’s nothing.

Just sit like that for a few minutes. And then a few minutes more.

And see what happens.