As I've mentioned before, in 2006, if any of you were alive back then, there's a frame in my bathroom that holds a magazine cover from the New Yorker with a picture of a glass half-full of what looks to be orange juice.
It's from 1995, probably none of you were alive back then, so it's faded now. The juice doesn't look very appetizing, and the water spots and toothpaste splatters aren't helping much, but for a few reasons, it's not going anywhere soon.
The first is that the issue date is January 30, 1995. That's the day my mother would have turned 59 had she not died the previous September, also on the 30th. The irony of that cover coming out on that day hit me like a wave of...well, orange juice. So there's that.
The other more far-reaching (and less sentimental) reason is an ass-kicking one. Every time I look at that picture and actually see it, which may or may not be every time I need to actually see it, I think about time remaining and the choices I can make about what to do with it.
I can think about how I'm still stuck or about how I've managed to move forward.
I can think about the ways in which I suck or, on a good day, if I'm feeling a mite brave, the ways in which I might possibly be considered to be awesome.
I can think about what I don't know yet or about all of the things I have the opportunity to learn.
You get the picture. (Ha ha.)
A fellow traveler and I had an impromptu conversation last week about being stuck and moving forward and how there's that time in the soup when, on top of a lot of patience, you need a lot of faith and a lot of help to see that you might at some time in the future not be in the soup. We were in our own, individual soups at the same time for a while, and it appears that he has made his way out, had a nice rinse off and change of clothes, and is on his merry way. And I'm happy for his merriness, in no small part because it reminds me that at some point, after enough patience and faith and help, I, too, will be out of this particular soup. (And into another, no doubt, but hey, that's a post for the Future Me to write.)
What's interesting about this time in the soup is that it seems to have lasted longer than previous soup-times, and, possibly as a result of this, I find myself more willing to try some outrageous (for me) things to see my way up and out of it. Like, for example, announcing on the same site where I send potential clients that I am, in point of fact, in the soup. Which doesn't exactly impair my ability to do for them, but does look a bit...inelegant.
And then there's the stuff I talked about previously, the opening up both to myself and to others in a way I may have thought of as silly or weak or too woowoo even for me. (And which, to be honest, I still do sometimes, I'm just doing it anyway. Nyah nyah nyah.)
All this by way of saying the following: if you think change is easy, there's a very good chance you're not actually doing it. Remember adolescence? When your body did it for you? How that felt? Yeah. It's like that, only this time you're picking it.
Of course, being in pain doesn't automatically mean you're changing, either. You can feel horrible and not be doing a damned thing about it: how great is that?!
Fortunately, even the pain of changing doesn't feel like pain all the time, at least, as I've experienced it. There are moments of peace and moments of ecstasy and moments of regular, garden-variety joy. Kind of like...life.
So from here, in the middle of Big Change (which includes the Change, which again, is a whole nuther story), being stuck is a lot like...life.
More notes as I have them...