Unreliable Narrator: Turn and Face The Strange
"Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.” — Gail Sheehy
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
It’s been flaring up without warning for the past few weeks, often more than once a day—an insistent twitch in my left eye that persists for several minutes at a time.
Likely stress-induced, it’s not the first time I’ve experienced this. I have far too many memories of pulling all-nighters in college and feeling that familiar flicker pulling at my eyelid, always my left, just before dawn.
Lately, though, the twitch has been catching me off-guard. I’m busy, yes, but approaching the issue with what to me feels like maturity. Wisdom, even. I’m not loading up on greasy finger food to keep one hand tapping away at my keyboard. I take actual breaks—in front of my laptop, sure, but breaks!—to eat salads and rice bowls. I’ve been trying to drink eighty ounces of water each day.
Unlike the days in which my depression yielded just enough for me to meet the bare minimum of my work requirements but made showering seem like an insurmountable task, I’ve been making time for hygiene and planning outfits the night before to cut down on unnecessary stress. I’m evolving, learning how to better take care of myself, and still—this twitch.
Each time I feel those first involuntary flutters, it feels as though my body is scoffing at my attempts to do better.
Then came the blemishes. Despite my longstanding monthly facial habit, vigorous day and night skin routine, and aforementioned water habit, I began to develop tender nodules all over my face, one after the other, each one leaving behind a dark spot in its wake. This, no matter how gently I treated the offending bump.
We tend to talk about change in the abstract. It’s good, it takes time, it’s not easy, it’s gonna come. When we’re in the throes of it, we tell each other that “things are crazy right now,” stick our heads down, and later, when we’ve gained a sufficient distance from the ordeal, we realize how we rose to the challenge.
To change is harrowing; to have changed is a blessing.
I’m stuck in the middle of the harrowing part. I recently started a new office job after more than six years spent working from home. Aside from the shock of that adjustment, I love it so far, but it’s a temp-to-perm role. Every day, the overachiever inside me tries to show up and show out as a means of snagging that permanent role. Meanwhile, nothing is guaranteed, so I continue to say yes to freelance gigs. You can see the dilemma. Did I mention I’m getting married in two weeks? Most of the details are actually coming together quite nicely—it’s the weird personal things that get stirred up just before a large family gathering that are brewing in the background, making my stomach knot in worry.
I admit there’s a lot going on. Change is happening all around me, but I’m trying to benefit from the lessons that past change has taught me, so far to no avail. Whatever is waiting on me on the other side of this transitional period appears to be insistent on leaving its mark on me, no matter how hard I try to smooth its sharp edges.
I suppose this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you how I’m surrendering myself to the process, but I’m irritated, to be perfectly honest. Worse than that—I’m irritated and trying not to be irritated, so as to trick my body into calming the fuck down. My wisdom reserves are sapped. I guess I just have to ride this thing out and see where I end up—that’s all I have for you. Things are crazy right now.