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In your own time
In four weeks every day will be wildly different. Come on, let me read you a poem.
Twenty-five, maybe twenty-six days left in Chicago.
Here's what I'm after: longer days.
I want enough time to do not everything, but at least exactly what I need to do—and not much else—to feel like I had a whole day. Hell, let's say a good one.
By now you maybe know this: like you, I am what I am. I've made it my business to learn how to love that about me.
What I am is someone who needs to think about it and by it I mean everything, anything. I try to say what I see and ask a question about it. I try to make sense. Of the world. With words. It's the way I've kept becoming.
The me that I am now, with twenty-five maybe twenty-six days left in a city I've lived in and loved for eighteen years, says something ambitious—yes, but also reasonable—like I want every one of the next twenty-five maybe twenty-six days to feel like good days, and the me that I am then, obviously, of course, asks: What do I mean by good?
I love this about me, who I am, and becoming. The way I keep learning the next question. How I'm always talking to me. I am not a lonely person. There was a time I was. Just a decade, maybe two. Three tops. I did not enjoy my own company. Had something to do, maybe, with the loudest voice in my head calling me a dumb bitch all the time. Who wants to hear that?
I did, for a while.
Because it worked.
That voice is me too—not the whole person, a part.
I have high expectations of myself and others.
I notice mediocrity and despise thoughtlessness and I hunger for heaven.
I can be demanding. I can be critical. I can be cruel.
I know how to weaponize shame.
I have called me awful names and told me I'm garbage, treated me pitifully, convinced me I must do better, be better, what then? I have tried. God, I’ve tried so hard. I have worked myself ragged. I have tried to make myself pleasant. Tried to make me smaller if it helped someone love me. I have made me rigorous and disciplined, if not always discerning. Made me try hard things. I have been hard on me most of my life and I know what I am capable of. In four months, I'll be 40. I’m ready to be different.
So I’m learning to quiet that voice. I would like her to take a nap. She’s been loud because she thought she needed to be to keep this ship from sinking. She's smart, but she doesn't know anything.
I want to make space for more of me now.
I will let more of me take the wheel.
Frankly, I like my chances.
The me that I am more recently doesn't call me names, not the worst ones anyway, but asks how I'm feeling, how I'd like to feel. I care about my feelings. Which is pretty nice.
The me that I am more recently understands leaving a city you've lived in and loved for eighteen years is a massive shift. Change is loss. It will be hard. It will be stressful. I will be tender. The me that I am more recently knows what stress does to my mind, my body, my ability to enjoy my self and anything else. I’m not going to bully myself through the next three weeks. I'm asking me: What do you need to have a good day?
I do it every morning.
If you've been here a while, you already know.
If you're new here, here's how it goes:
I write down the words
Today I would like to feel…
then I write down the words that come next.
Today I would like to feel sharp.
Today I would like to feel generative.
Today I would like to feel at peace.
Today I would like to feel everything.
Each of these will be wildly different days. If I want to feel sharp, I’ll need good morning movement and high-energy snacks. If I want to feel generative, I’ll need to remember to be careful with phone time and to practice yes, and.
A good day, for me, is a day I spell out my intention and try to move toward it, make choices that bring me closer. A good day is a day I do what needs to be done, and not much else. It’s a good day when I get to the end of it and remember what happened, and what happened was I tried to move consciously and I tried to be present, and I washed my face before going to bed.
In twenty-five maybe twenty-six good days, we’ll start a three-day drive to New Mexico with what we can fit in a 5'x8' trailer and not much else. I would like to feel ready.
What do I need to feel ready?
I need to get rid of everything, as much as possible.
Furniture. Dishes. Clothes and cute things. Lamps and linens.
The incidental objects that have made this house my home.
I need to decide what I need enough to carry.
I'm keeping all of my rocks.
I need to use up all of these post-its.
I need to use up all of my lotions. My skin will be incredible.
I need homes for my plants. I would like these living things I've loved and kept alive so long to keep living. I need help.
I need at least seven hours of sleep a night. Eight if I'm being for real.
I need whole foods and all my nutrients. I’ll need at least 2,000 ounces of water.
I feel so strong and my best, fed and rested. I feel cared for, fed and rested.
When I am cared for I can do hard things. I can say goodbye to everything.
I can hold what I've loved in my hands and say thank you, everything, and let it go.
I need to be kind to me now, and who I will be in twenty-eight days.
I know what I am capable of.
Wish me luck and read your poem. Then tell me what you need to have a good day.
To the Book
Go on then
in your own time
this is as far
as I will take you
I am leaving your words with you
as though they had been yours
all the time
of course you are not finished
how can you be finished
when the morning begins again
or the moon rises
even the words are not finished
though they may claim to be
I will not be
listening when they say
how you should be
different in some way
you will be able to tell them
that the fault was all mine
whoever I was
when I made you up
how can you be finished