1pm, Monday, after meditating
The sky this morning was every form of weather at once. Blankets of grey cloud, but also a shroud of sickly yellow cloud too, the autumn leaves flocking in the air like birds, the rain hammering the windshield. Then, driving back the way I came, bright blue and huge, puffy white clouds that looked painted, and the sun behind me a hazy orange. The weather moved fast, refusing to be named.
I’ve been getting back into meditation recently, focusing on the breath and the present, reminding myself of how something as necessary as breathing is biologically designed to calm us, to settle our nervous system, though in moments of anxiety I don’t believe it until I try it.
I’m reading a book on happiness too - the reminder that happiness can only be found in the present moment, but also that we make our own happiness and we do it haphazardly. The absurdist notion that the world is chaotic and cares not at all for you and your plans, so you may as well create your plans and happiness anyway. Something will tear them down, but you’re tasked with building them back up again, over and over again, before the rubble begins to trip you.
And things go wrong a lot. My weeks have been like the sky this morning - a riot, disordered. Work and therapist training and change forced upon me. A bathroom being renovated and no opportunities to read or write, to connect with the one thing that makes me feel whole: words. I forget to buy my dad a birthday card for the first time and get one last minute, just in time, delivered by hand on the day. Stress and medication-withdrawal-induced dizziness combined make me drop things, walk into things, postpone tasks I’ve already postponed once before. Many of my houseplants begin to droop and I look at them with anguish, thinking of how I don’t have time to water them right now, though in that minute of looking at them I could have done just that.
My weeks have been a wall of that yellow cloud, a sense of looming, of something beyond my control. We can only exert so much control over life, but we try anyway, wrestling with things that shake us off like someone brushing a spider from their shoulder, hurriedly and with disgust. Life goes on despite us, whether we are ready for it or not. I remember depression did not feel like wanting to die but wanting time to stop. I knew life was magical and worth living, but then that sense that it wouldn’t wait for you, wouldn’t hold your hand, and it makes sense that some people would choose the only way to stop, to press pause permanently as life shrugs and moves on. Life holds out its hand but it won’t wait for you.
Outside, the cat chases leaves on the patio as they whirl in the storm winds. To him, this weather of yellow clouds and sunshine means play. It is a good day for him. Life whips past, begging to be chased.
the mumble and muse. is a Substack newsletter from recovering perfectionist, therapist in training and writer, Caitlin Evans. You can subscribe for free.