Tonight, I fed the guinea pigs. Real cuties, those two are. They squeaked and squeaked until I had to get the salad from the fridge, sit down on the floor and hold leaves for them to munch on.
Most importantly: I was right there, in the moment. Watching them attack the salad, listening to their adorable chewing sounds – chomp, chomp, – laughing like a little child at the petting zoo.
I was there because space has opened up in my head. I can finally exist in the moment. Because the thing that kept me from living my life is gone.
The thing was there for over a year. Like a viscous liquid you constantly have to wade through, or a boulder you need to constantly carry on your back. Talk with your kids? First set down The Boulder. Go for a walk? You have to haul The Boulder along. Try to escape it, and it rolls along behind you, trying to crush you. You can’t get away. It takes effort and stamina to always, always push through a mental block in order to do literally anything. But that was The Boulder: a sink of effort, energy, emotion. And all the while, nobody can see where your exhaustion comes from. They don’t feel your brain working in overdrive trying to manage life with an invisible burden you lug around, day and night.
Today, for the first time in over a year, I didn’t debate making coffee. I kid you not, I’ve constantly had to convince myself it’s worth the effort to grind the coffee beans, clean the coffee machine sieve, fill it with coffee grounds, press the button. But today, I thought to myself, “oh, that’s actually not much work,” and I did it. Just like that. You can’t imagine how proud I was of myself. Not for the coffee itself. But because for the first time I realised The Boulder weighing me down is truly and utterly gone. Festering limb severed. Healing progressing nicely. I finally have the energy to deal with my everyday life, including the little or big crises that inevitably come with children. And I have the emotional and mental stamina to make a damned coffee.
What the hell is The Boulder, you’re wondering. It doesn’t matter: it was just another obsession. A difficult problem. An emotional drain, a fixation that outlived its usefulness.
When I look back now, I realise there’s always been an obsessive thing in my life. Maybe not as prevalent or oppressive as The Boulder, maybe not as acute, painful, all-consuming, but always there, in the background, draining mental resources, forcing me to multitask to execute the simplest of tasks, because the thing was always there, a process running parallelly in the background. Every other thought was on top of the default baseline of worry and mental wear that the thing induced. Now, after the final break from careers, expectations, conventions, traumas, disappointments, and after a spectacularly successful course of therapy, I can finally be. The background is fading. No all-consuming parallel process running silently inside my skull. The mental space that’s opened up is huge. Is this the capacity, the emotional and mental energy normal people have? People whose brain is not working against their reserves of patience, energy, endurance?
I don’t know how I’m going to put this newly discovered capacity to use, but for now I’m just enjoying not being mentally and emotionally exhausted all the time. I’m enjoying being able to concentrate on one thing at a time instead of constantly having to juggle two. For the first time in my life, I can enjoy things for what they are. Because I demolished The Boulder.
See, freedom ultimately comes from the inside.