So, I’m ducking and weaving with this whole idea of letting Life be instead of knocking it to the ground. It’s a weird place for me, the Ultimate Gnat’s Ass Detailer. My modus operandi is to schedule, make lists, revise the schedule, scrap the first list and make a new one. I’m never comfortable without a Plan. But, see, after all this time, the Plan is ingrained. I know what works and what doesn’t as far as my bipolarness goes. And there will never be an Answer. There’s no alchemy, no incantation of To Do lists that will halt the rapid cycling or turn me into someone who can work a day job.
What I’ve got are a few tools to help me be the healthiest I can be in the moment—daily exercise, an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, distraction that does no harm, and an attitude of skepticism when it comes to what my brain says. That’s all really. Turning from “what’s the plan” to “what do I need now” is incredibly hard. I’m giving up my fantasy of the future. But when I take a breath and notice the details around me right now, that unlikely future loses its glamour.
Yesterday, walking around the track at the Y, I had to dodge clots of teenagers. Bored from watching the girls’ volleyball tournament, they hung out around the free weights or wandered aimlessly back and forth across the track, not paying attention to the runners and walkers. Several times, I had to gently push them aside as I marched past. One girl stopped right in front of me and I had to straight-arm her out of my way to keep from falling. But, no one fell. No one stumbled. No collisions or recriminations. No anger or scolding. Just paying attention and making adjustments.
And then there was that golden, winter afternoon light that shot through the high windows and kissed me on every lap. Sweet, blinding sunlight for a moment. A flash of warmth on my face. A gift, if I only turned my face toward it.
Of course, there will be backsliding in my acceptance of moment-to-moment life. Last night I rebelled. After seven months of vegan eating, I ordered a Super Supreme from Pizza Hut, ate half of it with a bottle of wine, and watched “Win a Date with Tad Hamilton.” This, my sad and angry little brain told me, is as close to sex as you’ll ever get again.
Yes, facing reality instead of living in fantasy is a little hard to swallow sometimes. I watched Richard Armitage in The Vicar of Dibley on YouTube and cheered. A handsome stranger falls head-over-heals for an obese, middle-aged cynic—oh, dream come true! But, dreams like that keep me from living. There are no handsome strangers in real life, just banter with the happily married help-desk guy at the Y. Losing weight will not transform me into a young, desirable princess. I am firmly in Queen territory now, fast approaching Crone-hood.
There are pleasures and delights in my life as it is—a purring, furry presence to wake me in the morning, an iPod full of cheer, train whistles in the dark, the kindness and patience of friends. This is my life—quixotic and painful with moments of grace. This is the fight now—to stand side-by-side with my bipolarness and duke it out together for place to stand. To live together in the moment.
To be real.