Killing Me Softlier

Nearly eleven years ago, I was purging, selling, and packing up my life in Florida to begin anew in America’s Last Frontier. That single decision has changed my life’s trajectory and me in ways I couldn’t have visualized then. I had a little background knowledge and even fewer experiences. I moved above the Arctic Circle and I had never even seen snow! This is the kind of thing I do. It’s my shtick. I like to call it pulling an Aeriale. I discover something that piques my interest and chase after it with all my might without considering the potentially negative consequences until I’ve crossed the finish line, after I’ve already said yes.

I’ve pulled many Aeriales over the past decade and every single time, I recycle the same emotions, though with a bit more maturity each time. I wrote the blog post below on July 29, 2005. As I revisited it tonight, I thought, “yep. That’s it right there! Not quite as intense, but that IS it.”

As I prepare to embark on the last leg of my journey as a TGC Fellow and my newest adventure as a Heinemann Fellow this summer, I can’t help but be uncomfortable with leaving my comfort zone. Today I read an article about India’s current extreme temperatures and imagined my Alaskan body sprawled out on the ground, half dead, while the brilliant folks in my cohort shook their heads. I’ve pored over my Heinemann Fellow application ad naseum since I got the invitation call wondering why they selected me, asking myself if I’m worthy. I agonize over these thoughts until my body is in distress and I become. . .sad.

At this stage in life, I know it’s just fear manifesting itself as anxiety and depression. As a vagabond, it is my plight. Perpetual movement and constant growth require that you bulldoze yourself sometimes in order to expand. I also know, without doubt, this too shall pass. My life is about to change for the better, in ways I am presently unable to visualize. I’m going to have to tear some old things down in order to give rise to the new. And I will because I want it. Whatever it is. . .

Eleven years from now, I hope I’ve pulled many Aeriales and that doing so continues to kill me a little “softlier” each time.

(I hope you can endure my e.e. cummings phase below. . .)

killing me softly

july 29, 2005

overwhelmed. yes, boys and girls, that is the word of the day, the week, no actually, the month. my equilibrium is off. i am suffering from emotional vertigo. save some sort of divine intervention, i am undoubtedly about to tumble gracefully into the doldrums. it is not so much the leaving, for that was my choice, but the stress of the process of changing that has catapulted me into an abyss of sadness.

as an experienced special educator with undergraduate and graduate level training, i am privy to the symptoms of a myriad of disorders. such knowledge makes one a clinician who is apt to diagnose both others and self. i’ve labeled myself with just plain crazy disorder. it’s a combination of adhd, acute anxiety, and a heart that’s empathic to a fault. generally, people with such issues need to have structure in their lives. though this is mostly true for me, in an apparent attempt to make reparations for inflicting me with emotional disturbances, the cosmos gave me a brain that i love, the kind that requires continuous stimulation. hence i am in a perpetual predicament: in order to prevent enduring the misery of intellectual ennui, i must suffer the ephemeral pain of demolishing and rebuilding my life’s structure. me, myself and i are currently in the demolition phase. and it’s killing me softly.

in a nutshell, it is not the change itself that vexes. it is the process of disconnecting, trading old for new, familiarity for the unknown, stagnancy for kinesis (and jon stewart for going away gatherings) that is so painful.