The Pain in Rest.
I am not a good rester. Like at all. It kind of feels like dying to me. I am so much better, happier when in motion. But for reasons not yet known to me, I am still sick. Now it feels like I have a cold, which isn’t the horrible COVID death battle that I had early this month but it is fucking annoying. Like a lot.
But I am leveled right now to the degree that resting is really my only option. I took like three naps yesterday. Which sounds completely ridiculous to me! I am not ninety for crying out loud. But I just hit these walls where I was so tired. That laying down for a few was just required.
So I did what I needed to. I stayed home. I rested. I wrote. I surfed Facebook way more than is healthy. I hot tubbed. I played with goats. I read. I helped some people. I ate. I drank a ton of tea and water. I had a fire in the backyard. I watched a movie and went to bed at 8:30. All in all, it was a pretty lovely day. That when I list it all out, doesn't really sound all that restful...
That being said, I also looked for exits all damn day. Being alone is fine. Being still is fine. But when I am asked to combine to two, being still and alone, that is where the pain comes. Actually it almost feels like panic to be honest. I get all twisty and weird. And I start looking for the exits. Yesterday the only real exit I deployed was Facebook. The rest of the time, I was engaged and present. Which I am going to call progress.
But I wanted to go to dinner with someone. I almost drove to Woodland Hills to go to a convention at the eleventh hour! I was gearing up for that when my friend told me that I would have to get dressed up. I might have been able to pull off jeans and a sweater, a whole get down out fit was out of the question though. And the hair was pony tail only material. So that idea came and went as quickly as it came.
I think that being an only child, and a very active child, probably hyper active, made me lonely. I spent so much time alone. I was always alone really. Not that my parents didn’t spend time with me. But I longed for companionship from a young age, a sibling but I settled for dogs and cats. They were my “friends” when there was no one else to be found.
I can see now that my childhood that moved me from place to place a lot, instilled in me that company was better than being alone. I would spend time with anyone over choosing my own company, often people I didn’t even like. Which is super fucked up, but I think it will come as a shock to no one that I was not a healthy kid. I was a fucking shit show dumpster fire, wrapped in an over achieving wrapper to fool everyone into thinking I was F I N E! I so wasn’t fine.
But I think it was there in childhood that I seemed to associate aloneness with boredom, isolation and loserville. And I set about ensuring that I was never, ever alone. I dated people not because I liked them or they even liked me, but mostly because they would hang around. Then I would treat them like shit because they annoyed me. I resented them for needing them.
It has taken me a long time to come to terms with this in my life. I actually do like spending time alone. I do enjoy my own company and it has been a very long time since I dated someone just so that I wouldn’t be alone. It would also be a long time since I actually allowed anyone to invade the alone time that I have come to need on a very deep level. Kind of has resulted in a stalemate in the dating department but that is an issue for another day...
But resting, sitting still, this is still painful for me. Yesterday I let the goats out and just watched them do their goat things. The played and fought with each other. They freaked each other out in some sort of goat game of “BOO!” Where one would freak out and start running, so the other two would follow suit. I watched them for about forty five minutes. Just doing their goat thing, me just laying on a sun lounger watching. It took me at least twenty minutes to settle into it. My mind kept telling me that I should water the plants, blow off the deck, pick up dog crap. These things to do were eating at my ability to rest, slowly chewing away the fabric of peaceful idleness. Forty-five minutes was all I could do. Then I had to get up and do the stuff. And I realized that I am happiest when I do the stuff. It doesn’t even really matter what the stuff is. I like to be busy and stillness feels like a living death to me.
And because it is so painful to me, I know that I have to work through it. I am perverse that way, move toward the pain, not away. I know that is how I grow, shrinking away from the pain, makes me shriveled and smaller. And I do not want the life that comes with that action. So I have to do the hard work and right now that appears to be in resting mode.
My mom tells me that my rest is still busier than anyone else’s busy. And she is likely right. I have had ants in my pants since I was born and that isn’t likely to change. My dad used to be the same way, before dementia set in. He is still pretty active but way less than he used to be. He seems to be mastering the art of rest, even if it is being forced upon him.
I hope that I am able to make some progress here and not because I am saddled with dementia. I hope that I am able to face whatever I am trying to evade with all the busy. I hope that I can find the joy in the rest and not just pain. Right now, the rest feels like it is going to kill me, but that is just me being overly dramatic. This I know.
There are no accidents. Stillness and quiet are things we all need. And they are the places where I learn who I am, where I am broken, where I am healed and where I am headed. Being still and quiet is where life really happens on the micro level. Pulling me back from the far flungness of my inner agitator and giving me pause to just be here, resting in the moment and not trying to change it into anything other than what it is.
There is pain in rest for me. But I am finding that there is also something else that I can’t quite name yet. It is so new and foreign that I am not sure what to call it. It might be peace but it feels a little lofty to claim that yet.
Today I will just own that resting is psychically painful for me. But like all painful things, the best lessons are at the bottom of the thought you fear to follow. The action you fear to take. There is much to be learned in the places that scare me. I have the whole of my life as exhibit A. So this weekend, I will rest. I will do my best to sit with the pain of sitting still and allow whatever feelings I have about it to bubble to the surface and just be there. And I will try, with all effort I can summon, to allow whatever arises to teach me what I need to know...and as always, for me, it has to come with a certain amount of pain.