Over the last few weeks, I’ve been binging on fluff audiobooks, not really listening half the time, just to have something playing while I do other things. Out of the blue, a line popped up in one of them: “You’re filling your time so you don’t have to face how much you’re hurting.” The line struck home. I feel like most of the last four years have been an exercise in this exact activity. It’s easier to read too much, exercise too much, watch too much TV, listen to too much music, crochet too much, do too many puzzles, etc etc etc than to actually sit down in the silence and face all the things that I feel and all the things that I’ve struggled through since April 2014.
Honestly, I’m not sure what to do about this. Back in early 2011, the time when I really got serious during my first weight loss journey, I made a plan to yes, lose weight, but also do so with balance. I cut my reading from 200 books a year to 50 or so, a much better pace for me. I signed up for classes in activities I’d wanted to try (like making stained glass). I taught myself other things, like calligraphy and henna-painting. My health goals were divided – not just eating the right kind of food, but drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, starting new good habits, exercising moderately, etc. It was the perfect storm to help me to fill my time but in a meaningful way, in a way that really brought me forward to become what I wanted to become. It’s not the same as binge-watching SVU and playing phone games and listening to a dozen fluff audiobooks.
The difference is, when I started 2011, I was in a mentally stable and healthy place. I’d been working for a month to dig myself out of a pit of shame (regarding my body), and I wanted to create a journey that would be longterm sustainable. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to find that balance again. Some of it is external (between lack of schedule, chaos at home, and emotional blows), and some of it is my own lack of strength at the moment. But I don’t want to just fill my time anymore. I want all my steps to be leading me forward.
In writing, there’s a common piece of advice that says you should cut anything that doesn’t move the story or characters forward. Setting aside the finer points of this advice, this seems to be a valid way to live as well. Walking toward something, not just wading in place or trying to go backwards. Unfortunately, about 75% of my time is the deadweight of a manuscript that would get cut in editing. And I don’t know how to fix or address the internal mess that keeps me from fully living. But it’s about time for me to figure this out.