The clock is ticking and my life is not heading in the direction I had always envisioned. Not only am I stuck in the middle of nowhere, I am literally stuck, with no driver's license. I've lost control of my circumstances, I'm feeling totally isolated, and I'm walking around on the verge of tears all the time.
I am a control freak and yet I have no idea how to control these feelings. Instead, I am being blown away by the intensity of an emotion and accompanying physical symptoms that I cannot name. Cannot identify. I try yoga, I meditate, I breathe. But they are not making a dent in this. I'm anxious at mealtimes and succumbing to carb and sugar cravings that I would not have tolerated at home.
But I'm not at home. I'm at Border Village, the most isolated and challenging environment I have ever been in.
And I need professional help.
This is exactly how I felt only a few short weeks ago before I downloaded an app called Talkspace, which allows you to text your therapist twice a day. Within a week of talking to her, I had identified the main source of my anxiety. Once I knew what relationship in my life needed attention, I could take meaningful action towards changing it. I was certainly avoiding this action for months. Easy when you have so many life distractions. Impossible when you're alone in the desert. Simultaneously, I had decided enough was enough, and I started (and maintained) eating the way that I know I need to eat to be happy (as much as I can in this place anyways). And as soon as I made that switch, my anxiety completely disappeared!
I didn't connect the dots until weeks later, but I really think the emotional hurdle that I was conquering, galvanised my ability to listen to my body. And once I was listening, I was strong enough to follow through emotionally. I mean, we all hear what our bodies are telling us, don't we? But do we have the strength to listen and respond? Don't beat yourself up because you've given in to your cravings, or feel you lack willpower. It's biological. You have to take care of yourself, in order to be able to take care of yourself. Is it any wonder people are told they have 'guts' when they do something tremendous?
I wrote this poem a few weeks before coming to the outback, and I thought this post was an appropriate time to share it.
In my guts, that's where I feel the fear
In here, right down here
Like a dump truck full of lead in the dark and sticky bowels of my being.
It's a familiar feeling, an intestinal instability, hastily fleeing of the toxic
Refuse caught in all the corners and drain catchers
Built up gunk
And it smells, what a funk!
Better out than in hell yes but what a test
To detest the very flesh beneath your skin
Bare like when you were born
Exposed to the sun baking
Flaking and shedding the dead layers of time and waste
So much waste expelling the stench like forgotten french
Piles and piles, miles and miles
They say you can stretch your insides around the length of the Earth but
Can you fit the Earth inside the walls of your body?
Since it's always changing, every seven years
Every cell renewed and you didn't even feel it
But maybe that's what I feel
Right down here in my guts
I feel pain but that's ok because pain is real
And real is what I feel
When I'm about to explode!
The winds of change and a flatulence dance
I have no shame
But I DO have fear it just lights my flame
And I just want to give a big thanks to a special someone who helped me with this post. You know who your are ;-)