And So it Begins

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And So it Begins:

Starting something new; exciting time, no matter what it is. Even if it is a diet. Really. Or school. Yes, when we start a new “something” we get into it and start thinking how this new thing is going to be different; open doors and new options. Maybe even change our lives somehow. Starting. There is that word, again. Just in case you missed it: starting.

When things are in such dire straits that you have to make a change, there is little option except to change then this new and exciting thing you have to do will take on a new and different outlook. Motivated to change, wanting and desiring to change are not mutually exclusive to actually making that change. I think that the only time you will really change is when it is so bone deep and crushing your soul that this change calls out to you saying, yelling, whispering – articulating – in your very being that: you need to make this change, or else. “Or else” becomes this very real, very dangerous and very scary thing that is worse than change. And this will scare the beejuzus out of you. Whatever that is, it doesn’t sound that healthy to be in you anyway. It will not only scare these things out of you, it will do something almost infinitely more important, and I use “almost” rather liberally here. If this change is something you will need to do, have to do, desire, want, be forced to do; it will do something more than scare the crap out of you (even if that is literally, which I will touch on later I am sure). This change will:

Scare the reality into you.

That, my friends, is the real measure of if you must really change. No matter what it is there is this “or else” hanging above your head that makes reality seem closer, angrier and ever growing in size and scope that you are unable, incapable, of ignoring it any longer. There is no more space under the rug and the elephant just sat down at the dining room table waiting to be addressed. Change like this may seem inevitable to those with the lofty view from outside your head, on their high horses and comfortable in their peanut galleries. Yes, those people who tell you what you already know, what you have acknowledged in the recesses of your mind, or in the forefront, but can’t seem to do anything about for the moment. Until that moment when everything clears and you seem to be kissed by a rose, or feel that the rain is gone and you can finally see clearly. Or something like that I hear.

I am at the cusp of this change. I didn’t want to ignore it for so long and thought somehow I will wake up one day and all will be well in the world. Somehow. Not only would world hunger be solved, or the cure for cancer be placed on the desks of family doctors everywhere but I too would be cured of these things that plague me. These ills that have made it so that the or else has been smashed over my head, not by those around me or the things that are happening in me, or looking in the mirror and honestly not recognizing myself, or realizing that I have three little boys who need me (like I could forget that, I seriously wonder at those peanut gallery holders). It was what all of these things together combined to set out in the “or else” that reality so politely handed me as I flushed the last of my dignity and pride down the toilet with lunch. The “or else” when my partner, my other half, whispered to me that he finds it so hard to look at me and know what is going to happen if I don’t stop and listen to reality, sitting patiently beside the elephant who had the wonderful attitude that he didn’t need to go up the gallery to set out his peanuts. It was the or else that I wouldn’t get a do-over or another chance or even a chance in the first place if I didn’t shape up; if I don’t shape up. If I don’t take the pink slip, the sealed envelope that is being held out to me by reality who is on the phone with Death and telling him that perhaps he may not need to wait too long, I did take the papers, I have been served – by Reality, no less, but I have yet to open it, pack my big girl pants and get down to business. If I could just get this “getting started” thing happening. If only I could somehow find a courage that is bigger than fear and apathy. A courage and hope that I don’t need to be like this all the time, that I can get better and do better and be better. That I can. Simple, clear and active. Feet don’t fail me now; or heart, mind, soul, tongue, brain, hands, fingers, eyes. I need you all, right now, not to fail me.

So, this getting started thing. This getting the first step: admitting the problem is not always the first step; acknowledging what you have to do is not always the first step. The first step is getting off your ass and moving - somewhere. That is the first step and let me tell you, it is a hard one. Some say, it may even be the hardest. They say that in a diet the last ten pounds are the hardest to lose. I call bull. Sure, they are difficult but the most difficult thing, to me, is just starting to eat the food you should and learning how to change your mind about yourself. That is what change is.

Learning that the state that you are in is not the one you will always be in. That is hard and tough and will get you down easily every time you end up trying to do it. I feel like crap right now. This is an understatement, yes, I don’t feel like crap – I can feel every ounce of crap in me and where it is. That is more accurate and a little gross. I don’t mean literally, I actually puke out almost anything that goes in at the moment so perhaps I could say I feel like puke right now. Anyway, it hurts and the nausea and dizziness and the inability to eat or metabolize takes its toll to the point that I stopped eating and then reality had to come in and kick my ass. That is when things started to unravel. I am intelligent and educated and live in a country where food and all else you could possibly need is readily available; really, it is simply a matter of going out and getting whatever you want from close by too. And yet I was starving, malnourished with the body I had when I was 12. I think I could fit into my oldest son’s clothing and need to tie the pants tighter…he is 8. So yes I needed that elephant to sit on me. And then I finally acknowledged that that the problem was not going away and I had to make changes.

Change comes in many shapes and sizes. I know some wonderful people who are contemplating changes in their own lives and when the time is right, these changes will happen. Even though out of all the places I have been blessed to visit I have never been to the paradise islands she inhabits or the hilly streets she wishes to, I know it will happen for people as brainy and footsy as her; she came to mind immediately when I started writing this. Perhaps it was because in her I saw a little of my nineteen year old self: the desire to do things and make things right. Right by the standards of humanity, right by the standards of logic and most importantly right by me. So, although she is transitioning and we see it in her works, as many people on here, there is that beautiful moment when you see change that happened when you weren’t seeking it. So, yes although we need to actively seek change (think diets, job switches, mid life crises) we also sometimes can allow change to sneak up on us and tell us that it is time. You can say that in a very wonderfully Freeman voice, that would be nice if change appeared like that. It will happen, when it is supposed to, how it is supposed to. That doesn’t mean that we should sit back and wait, patiently or impatiently. Whatever will be, will be; or whatever people say to cover the fact that they were not at the stage to make active change. To think that the sob story could change into something magnificent and real; that you could, perhaps, in some time be proud of where you are because of where you came from?  This is the marker of change I am looking forward to. That time when I can look at those people and say, yes I know that my children need me; that my husband would be lost without me, but you know what? I need me more than they do. I need to be me, so that I can help anyone be them, and more importantly create an us. But I don’t need everyone. So if you are going to stay on that high horse perhaps ride into the sunset and I am closing the peanut gallery and my elephant is out in the yard but Reality, he stays. He is my new companion, the only one who told me straight up, well the second one because my husband is great at being Reality’s voice if he is late, they told me this “or else”.

Change, or else you will be forced to accept whatever change is thrown at you whether you like it or not. Change, or else the only change that is going to happen to you is that your eyes will be closed and your clothing changed, body washed and scented. Only this time, you won’t be doing it.

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