Baby Steps Back to Sanity

So, my little one has provided me with some valuable insight about the places where I have been stuck in my life – not even by pointing them out, but simply by modeling the process of moving forward. Demonstration always works better for me than instruction, yes?

Part of the moving forward meant coming face to face with some of the things that have back-logged and log-jammed for me over the past however-much-time. I have to be honest with you. There has been a lot going on, and I’m not even talking about the daily obligations of work, family, and a minimal level of personal hygiene. For me, to get overwhelmed is to shut down. I’ll never forget when the biggest tragedy of my life to date occurred in January 2010. I tried staying in bed for about a week. When that didn’t cure anything, I played Bejeweled Blitz for hours upon hours upon hours upon hours on my computer.

Really. I’m not kidding. It was all I could manage to do. I could manage life on a 10-inch screen in increments of 60 seconds at a time, and that’s really and truly what I did. For a long time.

I had noticed that I was doing the equivalent lately. Not playing Bejeweled Blitz, but getting up first thing in the morning and turning on Facebook. Coming home from work and, first thing, sitting down at my laptop and getting on Facebook. The same non-alcoholic sedative for adults, really: mind-numbing, and not requiring anything more than a witty response from behind the safety of my laptop screen. No need for meaningful and honest communication.

Do you know what doesn’t get done when you’re hiding on Facebook?


I was offered jobs and couldn’t get up the ambition to fill out the mountains of credentialing paperwork. The house was falling apart around my ears and I didn’t stem the time of clutter. Social activities requiring putting on a bra and leaving the house were far out of my reach. Work, and Facebook. That’s what I could manage.

Having Britt here made me remember what I could do, because I could see myself, in her body, doing what I had always done – things I had taught her to do. She made me remember what I looked like, and how that felt.

Today she leaves me and goes back to her life, which is as it should be – the life she crafts on a daily basis for herself with her husband and her kids and her work and her friends and the things about which she is passionate.  And last night, very cautiously, I started taking timid little baby steps to clear out the debris that has backed up in my hibernation.

I cleaned the bathroom – like, the tub and everything – and I threw away some junk that has collected in a basket on the back of my toilet for four years. Baby steps.

I downloaded, printed off, and started filling out forms that had been emailed to me over the last month, including a reference form for a friend of mine who would be perfect at the proposed job. Baby steps.

I sat down with my husband and did some paperwork we had been talking about doing all week – and in so doing, actually looked him in the eye and talked. Baby steps.

I read about five pages of a new book I just bought. I can only manage to read about two pages at a time, although it is one of my all time favorite authors, writing on a subject about which I care deeply. But I read. Baby steps.

If I let myself think about all the things I want to accomplish, I’ll be back where I was. And while my Facebook posts can indeed be witty and amusing, too many of them are a sure sign of not-going-anywhere-or-doing-anything, huddled, immobile, and shut down.

I believe that the world expects more from me than that.

I believe that, however out of sync with anyone and everyone else I may be, who I am and what I do is something that God intended the world to have in just this moment.

So I’m toddling right now, and making baby steps. I believe that, in so doing, I may learn to dance again.


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