Last weekend it was 96° in L.A. At least in my part of the city. The San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys were in triple digits. It was hot. I was miserable. At some point, a sense of frustration began to intensify.
I reached for my cell. Scrolling through contacts, I saw no one to call. Not under the circumstances. If I dared complain about anything to one certain friend, she’d attempt to out-story me with her ongoing displeasure with her various life issues.
Earlier, I’d left two messages on the voicemails of two friends and hadn’t heard back from either one of them; therefore, I knew not to reach out to them (again). So I felt stuck, uncomfortable. And I had this self-pitying feeling that no one needed me in their life on that particular day.
Undoubtedly, every single person experiences a form of isolation periodically. When we get in a moment of feeling disoriented, or a rising sensation of being misdirected by life starts to kick in . . . Such feelings can make us feel irrelevant. Disconnected.
Just a few days before the heat wave, I was talking with someone about being a traditionally published author in the 21st century. I was candid with this person, and said despite having two novels published, I was experiencing a nagging awareness of being a professional failure.
The person interviewing me said, “Seriously!” with this voice that suggested she was–well, taken aback! But this feeling accompanies me just about everywhere I go. I can no longer shake it. While I don’t make it a habit of juxtaposing myself to others, this inkling–that gnawing over professional failure–could be related more to society’s idea of success and failure and not my own ideas on success and failure.
Thus, I am observing my professional life through society’s perception of success/failure. Ergo, experiencing non-fulfillment as a published author. Most likely the conversation I’d had about feeling like a professional failure stayed with me and remained beneath the surface of my conscious mind. And, well, with the heat and other stuff bouncing around my head, I felt extremely uncomfortable. And being uncomfortable is exceptionally hard to move through. Even pulling out the big guns (one’s spiritual armor) doesn’t quite cut it.
Uncomfortable can be initiated by deep-rooted feelings which have been underground for years. This includes unworthy, unloved, not good enough. In addition, uncomfortable can also be a sign the universe is nudging you to make a change. One of the toughest psychological places to sit through is personal discomfort.
A few days ago, when I felt an uncomfortableness I’d not felt in some time, I didn’t even make an attempt to reach for my go-tos: journaling, and meditation. I knew, based upon how I felt and what was running through my head, those weren’t going to cut it. I needed someone to complain to. Luckily I’m not a social media butterfly, so I didn’t do what so many people would do to rid themselves of feeling very alone in a very strange and imposing universe.
Using social media to feel better about yourself is a band-aide making futile attempts to stop the flow of blood oozing from a fatal gunshot wound. When you’re in a state of irrelevance, social media will only make you feel smaller, or you’ll communicate from the I-feel-like-a-loser place; however unknowingly. Although I hear it enough: social media offers the lonely a safe haven, and they don’t feel so alone.
The Internet is another form of drug. Another dependency; another obstacle in the way of not facing real life issues. Any form of addictive behavior–which includes endless time online–enables us the opportunity to sit through an uncomfortable feeling; to confront it. Trying to avoid whatever low place we’re at in a fleeting period of time keeps healing at bay.
So, eventually I came to the place that would lead me out of my madness. This choice has never led me astray. And it does work. However, first there’s the issue of finding a way to let go; and second, trust that this too shall pass. Once you’ve managed to accept these ideas, the heavy-lifting is left to whatever you trust or believe in (outside of yourself). Just. Let. Go.
Sitting in uncomfortable is something no one I know well can do for long. At some point the need to be placated will win out, so they will reach for the remote, food, have sex–anything so not to feel uncomfortable. Even if they’re a Bible-quoting, God-fearing person, they will run, work-out, or shop online before they sit in uncomfortable.
This is what I’ve learned–and what I eventually practiced during the heat wave–how amazingly clear you get once you sit to the bitter end in uncomfortable. Until uncomfortable becomes comfort. Genuine comfort doesn’t require appendages–a cigarette, a joint, a glass of wine! But uncomfortable is a moment. An experience that passes if you yield to its presence, stop shadowboxing and simply go through it. As is the case with all things, the uncomfortable shall pass.