When I set out to clean my apartment this morning, I never imagined the kinds of breakthroughs I would have while picking crud out of my dishwasher filter with a toothpick. It wasn’t until I was on my stomach, cleaning the dust filter underneath my fridge that everything clicked together.
I know, what a visual, right?
2018 has been rough for me but if I’m being honest, I’ve been struggling for about a year now. There have been ups and downs, yes, but mostly, it’s been this weird limbo. I’ve felt like I’ve been walking around with that feeling of needing to pop my ears but never being able to, no matter how hard I blew my nose.
I’ve been stuck emotionally. Mentally. Professionally.
I’ve been stuck in a walk-in freezer, unable to push the handle while the words I need have been haunting me through the frosted window.
<Insert endless metaphors about feeling stuck and depressed here.>
A few weeks ago, I had another candid heart-to-heart with one of my best friends. Right before my 30th birthday, she had asked me if I was freaking out and at the time I wasn’t. My 30th came and went with the regular amount of fanfare and not too much freaking out. I was happy.
“I think my 30th freak out is hitting me now, 3 years later,” I confessed while crying into a glass of red wine. That night, I went home and sat down to write.
“Finally, a breakthrough I can put into words,” I thought, except it wasn’t. Not fully, anyway. There were still a few pieces of the puzzle missing and until I truly figured them out, there would be no writing. No healing. No resolutions.
Of course those puzzle pieces came rushing at me while I was covered in rusty dust as my cat yelled at me from the hallway.
The ending of a season
I firmly believe that there are seasons in every life and there are certain people who are only meant to be in your life for a season or two. I’ve always thought that the seasons changed during major life events: Key birthdays, beginning/ending relationships, new jobs/careers.
When I packed my car and moved cross-country to Seattle, with each mile heading west, I thought I was transitioning into a new season in my life. I left so much behind and had so much hope for a brand new life in Seattle.
Nearly six years later, it’s becoming clear to me that while it was signaling the end of a season, that end didn’t come when I moved to Seattle. Nor did the season end a few months after I got settled. Or after I got the major career opportunity with Google. Or when my relationship ended this August.
This season has been winding down slowly, painfully, for eight years. The reason I’ve been so stuck and in limbo is because the new season is waiting around the corner, for me to finally come to terms with certain endings and open myself up for brand new opportunities.
Moving to Seattle, turning 30, beginning/ending a relationship, making big moves in my career – these were all new moons in the final season, signaling the changing of the tides.
Over the course of the past 6-7 months, a lot of loose ends in my life that have been lingering were taken care of, either with my own conviction or with the Universe finally taking the reigns.
What does all of this have to do with rusty dust under my fridge?
The way I clean is very much the way I deal with issues in my life. There’s a spill? I clean up the spill. I have a hairy cat who sheds a lot? I vacuum every few days to take care the surfaces and corners around the apartment. I’ve got anxiety? I’ll deal with it by doing some more rigorous cleaning but never truly getting into the nooks and crannies.
Then there are days like today. When I finally stop fucking around, pick apart everything, and go at it with sharp objects to find what’s been hiding in all the nooks and crannies all these years.
Let’s be real fucking honest: We all do this. We can only deal with so much when it comes to the crap that life throws at us and some days, it’s about doing the bare minimum. Other days, we go headfirst into confrontation and just do a deep clean because it makes us feel satisfied.
But looking under the surface?
That only happens during the changing of the seasons.
So here I am. I’ve got a trash bag full of dirty paper towels and crud/dust that’s been building up for a couple of years.
In my heart, the crud has been building up for eight years.
Mistakes I’ve made and can’t stop reliving. People who have hurt me that I allowed to keep coming back over and over. Emotions I’ve denied myself. Decisions I’ve put off because the timing was never right. Tears I never let myself cry because I thought I didn’t deserve to mourn. Disappointment I’ve been holding on to as a measuring stick for my future relationships.
This season has lasted eight long years.
Looking up at this full moon tonight, I know that it won’t just be a new tide but a new season coming in my life.
I don’t know how long it will last and what challenges it will bring but I know one thing: I’m ready for it.