When you’re afraid of your thoughts

I’m a big believer that our thoughts are powerful things. I am bigger believer that when you vocalize them or write them down, they have even more power. That does not mean that I believe a lot of the stretchier manifesting nonsense that if I open myself to more/plenty/abundance etc. magically a flying unicorn will fart money onto my lawn, for example.  That said, I do know thoughts can take deep root within you and affect your actions and feelings. 

Gratuitous evening image of my beloved beach with grey and soft blues from the sky reflected on the wet beach with dark rocks and small waves in the background

Last summer, in the midst of everything going wrong with my house, I was SO unwilling to think that I hated my new house. That maybe the move here was a mistake because everything seemed to be going wrong and overwhelming me. I didn’t want to acknowledge those thoughts, and I certainly didn’t want to make them more real by saying them out loud or writing them down. At one point after telling my bestie some new and expensive house problem, I said something like, yeah, but it’s fine. And she called me on it. “It’s not fine.” True, but if it’s not, then what? It’s still my house, and my $$ problem, and… if it’s not fine, now what? 

 And it was only in December with the safety of time distance and feeling like I’d addressed the problems and the house was no longer the enemy that I could admit and say something like “I started hating the house back in the summer”. And I wondered if I would have felt better or worse in the really hard moments in the summer to just say. Yes, this blows monkey’s ass. Yes, this is total bullshit. Yes, this house just might be the devil.

Well, now I might find out. Insert newly discovered, massively expensive to rehab (no option not to though) issue discovered. I hate that this house has so many problems and will likely continue to have huge, money grubbing problems the entire time that I live here. I hate that it’s hard to dream about spring, to dream about making a wandering garden here because it’s not a place of solace and love. It’s a place that engenders my worries. And yet. 

Most of the important rooms I live in are fully changed to my tastes, decorated with new and old personal treasures and a delight to be in. I can look from my bedroom out at the tree branches and see the naked limbs trembling in the cold breeze (or straight up thrashing in the arctic winds) and see the beauty in their swaying. I can remember the delight I felt watching the summer light filter through the plentiful green leaves. Or remember the marvel I felt realizing that I’ve never lived anywhere with tall trees when I had a second story to feel like I’m perched up in the tree. It’s a fun and sort of novel experience at nearly 50. Makes me think of seeing snow fall for the first time in my life at 17, at midnight after being ensconced in the campus library all night and then learning that snow really does glitter as it falls and when it’s on the ground under the cold night sky.

Image of evening sky through white paned window showing black tree leaves and a purple, blue and pink sky

What if I do actually get everything needful fixed? I mean, I thought I’d achieved that in November only for December to come and shit on that parade. But what if the house is just old, wasn’t well-taken care of (and had shitty prior owners who covered that up instead of fixing anything) and needs proper TLC and isn’t actually self-destructing? What if I really do get to the end of finding the big $$ problems and get them fixed so that my house is a home and not the enemy? What if in a year from now, I’ll have had so much peace and solace in this house that I can’t stop from dreaming up my wandering garden for the following summer? 

What I’m learning right now is that not saying the problem or writing it down sure as hell hasn’t stopped me from worrying about it, obsessing over it, planning contingencies etc. Is there a place for genuine acceptance when I hit a problem, so that I can really acknowledge it, how I feel about it and decide whether it has any deeper meaning in my life? What if I stop worrying about it and learn to actually accept all kinds of things instead of white knuckling it pretending that it hasn’t happened or that it’s “fine” when it really, really isn’t? What if that gives me the energy and mind space to let myself relax enough to actually live here? 

Image of sunset beach with grey, blue and orange reflected in the wet sand from the sky

What if I find out that I can live in this house, relatively happily and just roll with its punches as they come in a way that doesn’t enable me to retreat from engaging in the rest of my life – of building a “home” not just in the house or my yard or my beloved beach, but also feeling like belong in this little town on my little island, in this new state so different from anywhere I’ve lived before? What if that might lead to generally feeling happy and peaceful and more enjoyment in living? What if I am accept things as they are instead of what I’d want them to be in an ideal scenario? What if that acceptance gives me the freedom and courage to have, say and write any thought that I have in a moment. Even if it’s really negative. Let it be for whatever it is in that moment? Do i get to move on? Do I get to find a way to live better within it and cease living from crisis to crisis? I don’t know. I’ve never been particularly good at that in any facet of my life.

But I tire more easily now from the effort it takes to pretend things are “fine” and from the effort it takes to be the “master fixer”. I don’t want to feel that way anymore. I also don’t want to pivot so hard that I land in fantasy-corruption land called toxic positivity. Ew. Hard pass. So, honesty first. It might be “this sucks – I hate it and it’s not fair”. It’s there. I see it. Maybe it’s poking my feels. Maybe it’s not. Then a quick assessment of whether it’s something that has to be dealt with or not. If yes, what are my options, execute those and move on. It’s a problem being fixed and it doesn’t deserve my worry or fixation. If it doesn’t need to be dealt with, same – it’s been aclknowledged. My feels around it have too. I’ve decided it doesn’t need attention, so it also doesn’t deserve my worry or fixation. Either way, move on.

Sounds simple. Execution may be another matter.

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