the simple minded suburbanite

Phantom Limbo
November 19, 2010, 4:27 pm
Filed under: authenticity, culture, suburban, suburbanite, voluntary simplicity

I have my days.  They are fewer and further between now, but I have them still.  Those days of pulsing, pressing, breath-holding rushes of motion.  Those days when deadline debris is swirling in the air and you don’t know how you are going to land.  I still have ’em, weeks of them sometimes.  But I, as you know have made a concerted effort to cut out as much crap as I can.  And I have.

But sometimes my mind plays the phantom panic game with me.  It creates stress, looks for stress.  Every time one of my girlfriends says, “Holy crap!  I am so up to my eyeballs!”  I respond, “I know, me tooo!”  Wait, I say to myself, no I’m not.  I’ve cut out many activities.  I’ve focused my time on what is important.  I honor my body with rest and exercise and simple foods.  But still, my brain doesn’t believe me. 

“You’re forgetting something!” it’ll scream at me mid-day as I sit down to calmly organize my kitchen desk.  “You don’t have time for that!”  It guilts me as I read for twenty minutes before my middle-schooler wakes. It works to fill my day with non-neccessary errands or tasks, whispering, “You must be in motion at all times.  There is no place for planning for or following your dreams.”

Even as I write this, I feel compelled to say, “No!  I’m not laying around all day.  I am doing something of value.  I am developing a small business.”  This gives me some validity, I think.  This keeps other women who are truly busting ass from shoving the toe of their new wedged-heel, black patent leather boot up mine.  And I am doing something of value.  I am looking to the future and taking time to do what I love and develop myself in that way, but…I am also taking it easy.  Doesn’t that have some value in itself?  Slowing down?

Yet, I am so ashamed.

Wierd, right?  I can’t get my brain to accept my slowing down, even while I know it is temporary and will soon gear back up.  It presses it’s lips and raises it brow in judgement, like my mother.  It’s conditioned to misfire, like an amputated leg through which one still feels pain.

This morning, during my twenty minute read of Walden, Thoreau says something like, “…to have a southern slave master is terrible, to have a northern one, worse.  But there is nothing worse than being the slave master of yourself.”  And he is referring to the need for quiet and the whip crackers in all of us that just won’t allow it to be so.

So, I wonder, when will it be so that I quit looking over my shoulder for that dogs to find me.  I wonder when my phantom limb will stop pulsing, or if it ever will.  But I continue to take these breaths.  I continue to focus my energy.  And I will continue moving on, if at a much slower, methodical pace.

Did I mention that I am writing this while my mother puts unloads the dishwasher downstairs in the kitchen and the washer hums with the load of whites she has just put to wash.  What is wrong with me?  Writing while my mom does my dirty work!


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