“What am I supposed to do now? What’s the process?” I asked through my fingers, hands smashed to my face, as I was sitting with my mom out on her deck.
“I don’t think that there is a process. I think it just takes time. You just have to go through it one day at a time,” she said shrugging her shoulders.
“But there’s always a process!!! There are always some steps you can take to make things better, something you should do. It can’t all be passive! There are rules, strategies, steps, processes, voodoo, Faustian pacts, virginal sacrifices… no, wait, that’s off the table… shit like that…” I said with a dismissive wave.
“You just take really good care of yourself,” she said, cutting me off.
It’s the same thing she’s been saying all along. It’s the advice she gave when things ended with That Certain Someone. It’s what she told me to do right after the rape. It’s the instructions she gave when I got anxious because of job hunting.
“What the hell does that mean, anyway? It’s awfully vague. Does it come with a friggin instruction manual?” I asked with a slightly petulant tone.
“Green tea and running.”
Apparently, several years before, she had seen a comedian talking about what to do when you break up. Their advice was to take really good care of yourself, be the hottest you can be, and make that person wish they hadn’t given you up.
The proposed method for doing this; green tea and running.
My mother had followed this advice with a religious zeal at the time. I suppose it worked for her since she eventually married the person about whom she was taking the advice.
I tried it. I drank my weight in green tea. Yeah, not my thing.
Perhaps, I realized, that’s because I am not my mother. So, what is my green tea and running?
I’ve spent the last few days thinking over this and trying to decide what “taking really good care of myself” means. I have an inkling that chocolate is not involved, which is a good thing since I don’t actually like chocolate.
Last night I was sitting in my apartment with my best friend from high school and her fiancé. They were spending some time with me because I had just had yet another meltdown and really didn’t want to be alone. We discussed the fact that I’ve gone through this sort of recovery process before.
“You know what to do here, Kendra. You’ve done this before and you did it without all the coping mechanisms you’re leaning on this time. What’s the difference? Do what you did last time.”
She was right, I have been through the recovery process before and it didn’t involve running or green tea. Yet, I think my mom had a good point about taking really good care of myself and maybe there is something to the whole “green tea and running” thing.
Nourishment and Outlet
I think that’s what it really comes down to. I need to find a healthy way to nourish myself and find an outlet that creates a positive net result. Very little of what I’ve done thus far has fallen under either of these umbrellas.
I’d also guess that the manifestation of each of these is constantly evolving through the healing process. I remember when I was healing from the trauma of being run over I listened to audio books for hours on end. At a point, though, that got stale and I started listening to opera again; learning the songs that were in my range and learning the roles that I might someday actually get to play. That was my nourishment during that time.
And the outlet? Walking. I left my apartment, took a bus into downtown Seattle and would walk until I was too tired, grab a bus back home, and go to sleep.
Music once again seems to be that thing for me. Yesterday I listened over and over again to my old favorite versions of a few Mozart operas, singing along to the roles I know.
The outlet, clearly, is blogging and telling people what happened. I’ve held the secret for so long that actually sharing with people what happened feels like I’ve finally taken a breath after four months.
Maybe, this being a weight loss blog, I should say that green tea and running are the answer. I’m sure that running will come back into the picture soon but as long as I run the risk of running into him at my gym or on my running routes, it’s just not going to happen. I have to rework that game plan.
Right now, time with friends, devouring a book, losing myself in an opera, writing and deleting and rewriting posts, dancing along with the aforementioned operas, and calming exercises before bed seem to be what I need and what will get me back to that point when I’ll be ready to put back on my running shoes and possibly (but probably not) pour a hot cup of green tea.
My mom was right about one thing; this is a “one day at a time” process and you have to go through it. I can either resist feeling the emotions with poor coping mechanisms or I can grow through them. I’ve always believed that we have a choice in our circumstances to either grow and learn or simply stagnate. Today I’m choosing the former and I’m going to do my best to continue to make that choice.