I was at war today.
A war with myself, but a war nonetheless.
The voices in my head were winning. They started murmuring about two days ago. Yesterday, I could no longer ignore them.
Louder and louder they got.
They don’t read your work.
They don’t value you.
Louder and louder
They take you for granted.
They don’t see you.
Louder and louder
You’ve made a mistake.
A big one.
Louder and louder.
It’s never going to change. I can’t do anything about it.
My heart is broken.
Over and over and over.
I woke up at 3:30am as the voices crescendoed.
Thought of all the things that were good, going well, not wrong. That didn’t work. My brain was determined to churn.
I read, completed Wordle, almost finished Spelling Bee. Started another word game having given up any hope of sleep.
Bill rose to pee and saw me awake on his return.
I usually turn off my phone so he doesn’t see me awake in the middle of the night. I don’t want him worrying.
“Whatcha reading?” he whispered.
“Not a thing. I’m playing word games hoping I’ll fall asleep.
He laughed softly. “I know that,” he burrowed under the blankets, his body warming the bed immediately. He curved his body toward me and put his big warm hand on my shoulder.
I put my phone down and curled in, snuggling in to his warmth and shelter.
I woke with a start as Bill shifted a few hours later. It took a moment to remember that I wasn’t still angry at my world. I put my foot on his warm calf to remind me of his presence.
Lightness crept in. The door cracked open with Bill’s laughter and possibility began taking shape.
I sabotaged my morning plans. Bill left to work out and I intended to head out for a walk as well. I knew I needed time by the ocean. Needed to see something bigger than myself. Gain perspective by feeling small in a big, big universe. Allow the ocean air to clear out the murmurs gathering momentum in my head. But I dawdled, enjoying the emptiness of the living room as I drank my coffee and ate breakfast.
I listened to what was under the voices.
Bill called to check in.
“How are you?” he asked.
“I’m at war with myself,” I laughed, surprising myself with the truth.
Also surprised, he laughed back.
“Well, I hope you win, but I suppose if you’re at war with yourself, you’re going to win AND lose.”
Remembering his warmth in the night, my foot on his solid leg, I said the thing that was on my heart.
“I need to plant a seed with you. I have a five month plan for my work. I want to be writing my book, and creating a card deck, and working on launching my workshop. And that means I’m going to have to let some stuff go. Can we talk about what you can pick up so I can really give myself this time?” I took a breath. “I actually have a couple of books I want to write and really want to spend the year doing that. Can we figure that out together?”
“Absolutely,” he said confidently, calmly, clearly. Without hesitation. “Let’s do that.” I remembered the first time I heard his voice over the phone many years ago and how I’d fallen for him in that moment.
Relieved, I up and left the house. Didn’t bring anything other than my keys and my phone as I headed over the mountain and down into Stinson Beach.
Fog rolled over my car spitting water on the windshield. Dismayed by the weather, I wondered if, yet again, I was making a mistake.
Don’t doubt yourself, I chided myself silently. Some of those voices might be right but there are other voices speaking truth as well.
You write for yourself.
You value you.
Don’t take yourself for granted.
Ask for what you need.
No one’s going to give you permission but when you ask clearly for what you need, you’ll get it.
As my car rounded the bend, the beach came into view at the bottom of the mountain. Cars were parked along the cliff’s edge. Six nuns dressed in white robes and habits poured out of a white van, laughing.
My heart lifted. My mouth stretched into a grin. I sat up straight and leaned forward into drive.
The battle receded.
I moved on.