18 January 2019

Comfort Zones and Less Traveled Roads


Rewrite. Delete Re-film. Delete Re-edit. Delete. Repeat.

Edit: Reset. Reset the clock and start over. Not because it's a new year - the #NewYearNewYou Brigade can keep their hashtag - but because I SAY SO. Because I've decided that re-writing yet another blog post, de-essing yet another audio file and me stressing over yet another instagram photo is the enemy of creativity. So let's sock it to self-doubt and reset. Reset the clock; replace the batteries; turn on the spanish setting if we really want to shake things up! Come on? What are you waiting for? As our friend Alexander says, Simples! Except that it isn't really, is it? 

It may be simple to say, but it's another thing entirely to act. I've blogged before about the divide between saying and doing, particularly with regards to recovery and "walking the walk." In particular, I've spoken about my fear of getting things wrong and, subsequently, falling into the trap of "procrastinating perfectionism"; SopharSoGood did a brilliant post on this and, in a nutshell, it means putting things off and off until it's basically 19 years later... However, unlike the closing words of my favourite book series, can I honestly claim that "all is well"?  Despite months of CBT and years of attempted recovery, I still struggle to put one step in front of another. 

"I took the one less travelled by,
and that has made all the difference."
- The Road Less Travelled || Robert Frost 

On the one hand, I know that my reluctance to try something different must serve some purpose. Why else would I feel so tied to one place, as if gravity will cease to exist the moment I step forward? Perhaps Mr Newton has the answer there too: without gravity, I  hurtle out of control. Without the certainty of here and now, I risk exposing yourself to a universe of unknowns. So what happens? I  avoid "the road less travelled by", because I conclude that the road already travelled is also the place that's never 'wrong.' The place where I can most predict an outcome. When you throw an unpredictable chronic illness like T1 Diabetes into the mix, perhaps this makes even more sense.

On the other hand, who's to say that the place I've been travelling is right is the only right, or the right turn for me in this moment? Maybe 'left' is my 'right' and I simply haven't opened my eyes to see it. For as long as I find safety in certainty, there's always a root that pulls me back to earth. Like the Trees that watch each season pass, I wait for the leaves to come back as inevitably as they fell, even if it means withstanding the harshest winters, or missing the chance of a warmer spring.
Now let's imagine that I were to stop being the tree and became the leaf. I may be far smaller, unrooted, vulnerable... but I'm also free. What if I were to leave those branches and, carried by the wind, see a part of the world I never knew existed? Imagine what could happen, if I were to let go of that one. endlessly trodden place  and allow myself to dwell in possibility. I vividly remember the first time I read this line - from Emily Dickinson's poem of the same name - and it  inspired the original name of this blog: Smile in Possibility.

I have to say, I think Bumble and Be is far more 'me', but it's worth remembering how much I valued those words... and still do. That idea of possibility; starting a new chapter; creating a new story. As the young girl who always pleaded for "just one more chapter", perhaps I need to step back into my age-seven shoes again. Go back to a world where the risk of "wrong" was worth the possibility of right. For as long as there's space for things to go wrong, there must equally be room for things to go right  and I've been depriving myself of this chance

I realise that, in writing this, I might be doing my past self a bit of a disservice. Despite all this talk of trees and leaves, I haven't literally stayed frozen for the past like years (cue scene with Mulan's Dragon Ancestors). I only have to read my 2017 and 2018 Silver Linings posts to know that this isn't the case! Nevertheless, when I stop to reflect on it, a lot of those silver linings came when I followed a new path, whether it be filming a studio vlog, opening an Etsy Store or literally stepping out on a new dog walk! What's more, if there was ever an example of a new road making " all the difference", it was the one that took me back to school and arrived at my decision to pursue Primary Teaching.

So while I'm not one for the binary language of resolutions, I'm going to brave the line of "let's see" in 2019. Let's try something new and see what happens, even if it's just in bumbling, baby steps. After all, the choice of letting go could be the greatest leap of all

 "All we have to decide is what to do,
With the time that is given to us."
- Gandalf || The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R Tolkien  
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