Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Confessions of an Insomniac: The "Epiphanies" that keep us awake

If you've ever had the unpleasant feeling of lying in bed, in the middle of a dark room; in a silently sleeping house, with a tired body and an unquiet mind, you understand what I'm feeling now. And so, without the ability to do much else, and reflecting on the fact, among other things, that I have only blogged once this entire month; I have decided to contemplate things on paper (or computer screen) rather than continuing to torture my brain any more tonight via internalizing.

I really thought I'd kicked this ole insomnia act but then again it doesn't really ask for permission when it decides to reappear, and it always does, at the most inopportune moments. Like when you have to wake up at 6 am the next day and work. Yet here I sit, while the whole world sleeps, (or at least my half) reflecting, analyzing and just overall not sleeping. But, I will admit there is something beautiful in the silence. The god-awful silence that keeps me awake. This is the only time of the day I can really hear myself think with no interruptions. Is it any wonder that I can't get my mind to stop moving? It's been silently shouting all day. So perhaps it can be said that I do some of my best thinking at this hour?

Anyway, on this particular night I happen to be considering a certain quote that was written by a friend of a friend and sent to me by the latter. The email was entitled "Epiphany". I'll regurgitate it here word for word but there are specific pieces in particular I find myself mulling over most...

"I don't understand why people hang on to things that are so hard to keep. if it's so "right" it shouldn't be so difficult to hold onto. I don't understand why people can't let go of the things that hurt them most. Just because you're in pain doesn't mean it's worth fighting for. I promise you that. I don't understand why people say relationships are such hard work. Being good to someone, having that amazing, fairytale relationship will be automatic if your love for each other is natural. "Loving" someone shouldn't be a chore, for you or the other person and it won't be when it's meant to be. Simple. Happy endings do exist. I don't understand why people whine. If it is then it will be. If it's not then it won't. It's as easy as that, really. I promise. So, if you want crappy things to stop happening to you, stop accepting crap. If you tolerate it you lose the right to complain about it."

I've read this quote today more times than I would like to admit and I've come up with a lot of questions and a few conclusions. I think these ideas are something we can all relate to. Who hasn't, at some point in their life, held on to a dying relationship only to continuously find yourself falling short? And really, what is the point? Why do we do it? Is it the fear of starting over, are we afraid to fail or are we just addicted to the roller coaster ride of emotions? Somewhere along the way relationships seem to have become more about a conquest and less about the genuine connection two people can share.

I don't know the author (so I hope she doesn't mind me quoting her) but I admire what she's saying here. The first time I read it I'll admit I had a small "come to Jesus" moment, but there are also a few things I have to disagree with as well. Disagree is probably too harsh a word, It's more like adding my own two cents to this insightful yet simple piece of advice. I for one do understand why people say relationships are such hard work. Because they are! Even the best relationships have problems, because here's the kicker, at the end of the day we're all human and inevitably flawed because of it. But I do believe that there should be a maximum amount you are willing to put up with before you decide it's time to cut your losses and throw in the towel. However, I also know that this is easier said than done. We cling to things that are the hardest to keep because they are also the hardest to let go, usually because we have been holding on to them so tightly for so long.

What we should be doing is looking for these red flags from the beginning. No, relationships are not always a holiday, but I do think they should start out like one. If a relationship feels like work from the beginning, it's not going to get any better as time goes by. And the "honeymoon" stage should last longer than a few months. I have yet to have that "amazing fairytale relationship". I often find myself wondering if it even exists at all. Maybe it's not about the fairytale ending, but just the happy one. I do believe in happy endings, and the fact that mine is out there somewhere, but I don't think we can find it by searching for the fairytale. We have to find it within ourselves first, and stop looking to someone else to make us happy. And yes, we could all probably whine a little less often. Things will fall into place as they are meant to be. Dwelling on a past and what went wrong or hoping for a future that can make everything right will only cause anxiety at best.

I do love the call to action to "stop accepting crap." I think this is something we could all reflect on in our relationships. In the end you are all you've really got. So I for one want to respect myself enough to recognize the crap in my life and to get rid of it. Because I refuse to tolerate anything less than what I know I deserve. And I definitely don't deserve crap.

Well, until next time...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Finding my own inspiration

Today I was reminded of why I want to be a writer. Not that I had forgotten really, but it was more one of those "light bulb going off" moments that jolt you so hard you're forced to pay attention.

After quite a traumatic holiday (the details of which I will politely decide not to offer up here) came tumbling to an end, I spent the day reading, writing and just overall soul searching. I guess sometimes it takes us completely losing our way to really find it. Even if it means finishing up right where we started.(Again)

Anyway, as I was perusing the aisle's of Border's after a long afternoon of therapy via writing, I stumbled upon the memoir section. I typically prefer to read, and write, fiction - mainly because I find that real life tends to disappoint us more than the stories we make up in our heads - I decided to give reality a chance.

I'd recently read Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat.Pray.Love" and the beauty of the truth in her words is something I'll admit has surpassed most of what I've read in fiction. Her book stood displayed on the outside wall of the bookshelves holding the stories of real people, brave enough to put their lives down on paper.

I took this as a sign and made my way into the depths of the truths that lined these bookshelf'd walls surrounding me. There is a quote by Vonnegut that has been a long time favorite of mine and oddly enough is entirely appropriate for how I was currently feeling. It goes like this:

"I am eternally grateful...for my knack in finding in great books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on." - Kurt Vonnegut

It seems that in these hard times there is something guiding us to these such books. And that's what happened to me today. Now sitting here reading Cindy Guidry's "The Last Single Woman in America," I feel like I've found a stranger who knows exactly how I feel, regardless of the fact we have never and probably will never meet. Someone whose words feel like words I could have written myself. And, if only for a moment, my hope is restored in humanity and the fact that maybe we really are all in this together. And maybe everything really will be okay? Maybe.

To reach just one person with my words in this way is what keeps me writing, and ultimately, what keeps me living.

So I wanted to send a thank you out to the universe, and specifically to Cindy Guidry.

Until next time...