“Cautious Bad-Ass” sounds like an oxymoron, but that’s how I’m feeling. I’m back in training—shoring up the battlements this last episode weakened, cleaning and loading all my gear, digging out the shrapnel. But, there’s no steam snorting out my nostrils, no fury driving the calisthenics. This was a bad one, and I worry that the physical and mental toll from suicidal depression on top of pneumonia took something vital out of me. I took a hit to the spirit.
But, then I think of Bruce Willis, especially in these “mature” years. I watched him in Looper yesterday—not just his character, but the man. Confident in his skill, but contained. Ready and able to take incredible risks, but only when required and only at the right time. A finely tuned instrument with focus and power.
Holding this version of Bruce in my mind, I know it’s okay to re-enter my training quietly. It might even be prudent. I’ll do what needs to be done in a measured way, step by step, letting the rhythm fill my depleted stores and realign the broken bones. No sudden moves unless required. So, what will that look like?
Clean Eating. I’m grateful that even though I binged through most of the last six weeks, I had no compulsion to return to animal protein. I have no idea what that means, so I’m trying not to attach magical properties to it. My task now is to return to the good habits I had started—keeping a food journal, attending TOPS, paying attention to portions, and spending my grocery money in the produce section.
My friend, Kim, manages a franchise for Lite for Life—a company that focuses on balancing blood sugar as a way to get healthy and lose weight. She offered me a scholarship for the program, which is an incredible gift. I’m not sure yet how this will fit into my plan of “no sudden moves,” but Kim is more about spiritual healing than pounds on a scale. I have a feeling this will be an adventure for both of us.
Strength & Stamina. I’m weak and congested. It will take time to get back to my fighting form. But, I’m already walking everywhere I can, and I’ll keep that up into winter. I’m taking it slow in my water aerobics classes. Yesterday I got back on the recumbent bike and kept up a good pace, but I was exhausted afterward. Slow, slow, slow.
Gather Accurate Intel. I have to be honest with myself. Well, it’s always important to watch for delusion and distorted thinking, but getting back into training requires brutal honesty. I can’t ignore my current physical limitations or block out observations from my team. I can’t blow off stressful situations. I can’t talk myself out of doing whatever it takes to come back to myself.
Plug the Leaks. Compulsions and old patterns drained my bank account, my energy, and my cupboards. Before I can Lay in More Supplies, I have to stop the hemorrhaging—pay my bills, attend to proper sleep hygiene, allow my friends and family to support and assist. I took a fearless accounting of my money and adjusted my budget to one that was more reasonable. I won’t be able to pay down my credit card for a while, but I’ll be able to eat properly. First things first.
While my new Etsy shop is exciting and fun, I know it won’t be a big source of income. It’s more a place where I can put my work on display—the irreverent, naughty, and unsettling stuff I love. But, it was telling to me how much the sales this past week let me breathe a little easier. Just knowing a few more dollars were coming in made all the difference. And God bless the folks who pushed that Donation button! The world is full of generosity and love.
Which leads to Setting Priorities. My Work right now is to get back to my Bad-Assery manuscript and make art. Writing Captain America shorts keep the words flowing while I’m swinging high and low, but I’m committed to this memoir. And while it’s sometimes painful to write, I can’t let that keep me from it. To the front of the line it goes.
I have images and captions pulled together for a batch of Christmas and blank cards. I want to work on those every day and list them on Etsy. There’s a collage starting to coalesce in my brain, too, but that’s farther down the road.
Secure Back-Up and Down Time. Spending time with new and old friends will help me relax and feel real again. Hosting the meditation sit this morning at our UU fellowship will feed my spirit and my sense of competence. Being sick for so long, both mentally and physically, can make a person hold their breath on many levels. Now it’s time to breathe.
I’ve always used images of strong women in my discussion of Bipolar Bad-Assery. It’s a comfort to me to identify with those gun-toting, sword-wielding, no-nonsense gals. But, Bruce fits better today. Not because he’s a hero, but because he reminds me that I’m one, too. I imagine us both on a battlefield as the smoke clears, surveying the wreckage, then glancing across the mess at each other. We’re ready for what’s next.