'Slow Down'

Thursday, March 12, 2020 / 11:03 PM

First thing's first: Wash your hands.

Now, onto the post:

I haven't been writing so far this year. Actually, this blog has kind of slowed down a lot in the past two years. So much of it, I now know, was because I had given up. Somewhere between my year of creating and now, I found myself unsure if I really had a voice.

But this can't be a post about what I've lost. It has to be about finding it – whatever that is: voice, faith, agency, trust – again.

When I was in college, people knew me as a bit of an Energizer Bunny. I couldn't stand seeing a blank space on my calendar. If I wasn't in class, I was at the newspaper; if I wasn't at the newspaper, I was filling my time with friends and friends of friends.

But it was exhausting, and I felt guilty about feeling exhausted. It wasn't until senior year when things came crashing to a halt because my anxieties merged too deeply with the stress of...well, everything. And suddenly I changed from someone who liked keeping busy to someone who needed to be busy in order to feel worthy.

"Slow down," my friend Jason would say to me, over and over. I started forcing myself to paint my nails at odd hours of the evening so that I couldn't do anything but sit there and watch them dry. No multitasking allowed. It worked. I still do it to this day (although now you can tell how anxious I am by how often I change my nail polish).

But isn't that a problem? In the 9 years since I've graduated, I still have trouble slowing down. If I'm not physically running around, my mind is bouncing from one worry to another – all things that I typically have no control over.

When that happens, I try to remind myself: Take a breath. Slow down.

The most recent journal I kept regularly updated has entries marked at late hours of the night. To remember what I turned to in order to keep my anxieties at bay then is somehow remarkably comforting right now. I know the answer. I've always known the answer. "Sometimes the mountain that needs moving is inside you."

We're in a storm. And we've weathered them before, and there will continue to be more storms. The world is filled with so much uncertainty right now, and so many things that can end up being out of our control. But what I know can control is how I walk through this storm. The rest is out of my hands.

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