All posts tagged: mental health

on a capsize, and righting again

I’d learned the basics, how to guide the boat up and down the lake, and how to get out of irons. The instructor announced that our next lesson would be the climax of the series: how to right a capsized boat. I had come to adore sailing, but I thought he was crazy–we would capsize the boat on purpose? Create a catastrophe in the middle of the lake just to (try to) fix it? Was this some kind of Navy drill? Had I been drafted? Was this necessary? At my desk this week, hands shaking uncontrollably above my keyboard, I likened my state to a capsized sailboat; I’d tipped over a bit too far, it seemed, and now found myself somehow upside down under water, trying to figure out how to right myself again. From underneath the surface, without oxygen, light filtered through brown muck, every normal thing is pressurized, every mundane task, every movement a thousand times heavier, a thousand times more difficult. Everything is scary, and the accumulation of fears starts to hurt, and starts to wear, and takes its toll. 

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mid-week link love

Hopefully when you read this, I’ll be somewhere in Kenya, fresh covfefe in one hand, bagel with cream cheese in the other, and sushi in the… other? Below are a few links to see us both through the rest of the week. Here’s to Rest & Relaxation, or getting nearer to it, anyway. 

on disappointment

One strength that comes with age, to my utter satisfaction, is the diminishing of Fears of Unusual Proportion. Those situations or conversations that years before might’ve rendered you weak in the knees with stomach in knots are now set in relief against such a breadth of life experience that their power over you is a fraction of what it used to be. That’s not to say the fear is eviscerated. I think that only comes after a lifetime of transcendental meditation, or the sudden bequeathal of super hero powers; I’ve achieved neither. In fact, I’ve noticed that old fears are simply replaced with newer ones, the latter more concerned with community than ego, with inner well-being than with outward presentation. Nevertheless, difficult conversations and weighty responsibilities are more and more the things I push through, small prices for a career, or growth in relationship, or simply growing up. Yet when it comes to conquering one particular fear, I may be a late bloomer: The fear of disappointing others. Last week I had a triple-threat lesson in this particular theme, …

on a message

An excerpt from a recent email between close friends: In all honesty I’m terrified, and my confidence is shaken to the core. Nevertheless, I can’t deny the everyday gifts: the kindnesses, the peach cobbler, the call to prayer and the hypnotic, beautiful dikhr that pours out from the mosques on special occasions; the birds in the morning; the cool floors of my house; the farmer who insisted on giving me two giant, leafy heads of lettuce for free. I try to compose my days of those gifts, building out the time like the homes here that are indefinitely under construction. And of mindfulness, and of quiet and gratitude as well. Not easy, but worth it still. Photos from Tunisia’s striking Sidi Bou Said

on broken hearts

How many times a day does your heart break? Are you open to it, or do you turn away? Hearts are breaking, lately (Valentine’s day notwithstanding). And by breaking, I mean any state of disarray, from fully shattered to fractured, from weathered and worn to aching. Even those who remain intact still strain from the weight of fear, sadness, anger, deep confusion. Does your heart break from too little, or too much? Does it break on behalf of others, on behalf of tragedy or injustice, or on behalf of your own trials and more than the occasional tribulation? Does your heart break for questions? Do I love her enough? Is he the right one at the wrong time, or vice versa? Will she ever know what she means to me? Is this the sunset of a best friendship? Will she get through this without me? If they are good people, why do they do horrible things? How much hatred can the world withstand? What’s our breaking point? What’s mine? How will I know when enough is …