Act Now

Procrastination is a sign of depression. The more I come across such instances (examples in my life included), the more convinced I am this is so. When you’re enthusiastic about something and you have the energy to do it, you just go do it – right? From reading a book to cook a good meal to develop a business plan, you can’t wait to get it started. Procrastination is a constant delay of an action which you could start right away – but you don’t, for no clear reason why not. The reason is you don’t feel motivated enough.

Both “motivated” and “enough” describe the state pretty accurately – or rather their opposites: un-motivated and not enough.

For instance, I have a few projects in mind now, some of which are already started, some which I could start develop right away. I don’t work on either. It’s mainly because all presuppose that I trust myself to do it and/or I can see a point which excites me to complete them. Re-write some parts to finish the book manuscript from my PhD thesis. I would do that to get an academic position or to promote a small tourism business I’ve been thinking about. Otherwise, it’s not worth going into the trouble of revising a manuscript. I have come to not like or trust the academia, do getting a job in its midst doesn’t provide the motivation. To start the tourism business, the main problem is I don’t trust myself to make it successful. Thing is I listened too closely to a few (close enough) people who subtly discouraged me: do you think it’s gonna work? What if you don’t have enough customers? How are you gonna battle the big sharks, the other tourist agencies? There have been others who encouraged me too: go for it! That’s a great idea. You’d be so good at this.

Who to trust? But maybe not even that is the right question. In the past, every time I planned to succeed in an endeavour, I had to fight the naysayers. I ended up doing that thing just to prove them I can do it, all along trying to keep true to my desire of doing it. The fight had exhausted me to the point of giving up the sweetness of victory, each and every time – and the result was useless for me. I passed the exams to go to architectural school but I did not practice architecture. I finished the doctorate, but I am not teaching in the academia. I immigrated to Canada but I’ve been unhappy ever since I set foot in Ottawa. I have a beautiful family who I fight with every day although I truly don’t want to.

I am very tired, that’s why I procrastinate. The only little joy I’ve found lately was in making little projects for dear friends – but, dear as they are, they didn’t even make the time to meet and pick up their gifts. That’s very discouraging. It’s like being abandoned by friends of the last resort.

The joy would then be found in doing little things for myself. Finish that summer jacket I’m knitting for me. Make some drawings to put up an exhibition just for fun. Put together a little business plan for those tours even if I don’t make money out of it. Do a better job at promoting the sewing course which I started two weeks ago. Enjoy the moments and to hell with those who don’t see a palpable worthy result. These are worthy for my sanity.

And now I’m gonna go skating. ‘Cause it’s nice outside.


The Ugly Caterpillar

She didn’t know what to believe anymore. Serena hadn’t been serene for a long time, so long in fact she had lost track of when she had been truly peaceful. Somewhere in her childhood – that, she had fond memories of, and they kept surfacing like drops of oil in a sea of too deep sorrow.

The sorrow puzzled her at times, especially when she tried to get to the bottom of it and understand. There seemed to be no understanding, no logic to the blockages in her life. She had trusted so much, she had given so much, she had been so lively and bold and honest… and one after one, people had betrayed her, turned around after getting her help, even stabbed her on the back. Situations weren’t better either. Blockages everywhere. Why?

She prayed for an answer. It was all that was left to pray for. And of course, health and a path to God’s way for her children. She didn’t know how to get rid of the sorrow and the anger and all the negative feelings which were dragging her down to the pit, and which were not allowing her to resurface. Every time she tried, another blow. Every little drop of courage and faith got dried up by invisible forces too overwhelming to fight. And she had been a fighter! Oh, the days…

A few days ago, she had looked in the mirror to realize that despite the smile, her shining beauty was gone. She looked not old, but worn out. Where had the glow vanished? She tried to imagine herself in a successful posture at this moment in life. Well, if life had been different, if people had been different, if she had known… she would have been happy now. Maybe. But then would she trade that everything for happiness? Elusive concept, happiness. Trade the real for an imaginary “what-might-have-been”. No. If anything, her children and their lives she’d never trade.

Change me, God – she had read it in a book once. Trade me for another me. Now. Not in the past, not in the future. Now.

She went to bed with same old tears in her eyes, her constant companions. At times, she had been sick of crying – lately, it seemed to be the normal comforting state. I’m still sick of crying, though – she thought. It would be nice if I could miraculously figure out how not to be so sad. She opened the Bible at a random page. Among other passages, she came across the one when Jesus was telling the apostles that anything will be forgiven to people, except for being and speaking against the Holy Spirit. She put down the book and wondered why that passage. She fell asleep and dreamt, as always, of nasty stuff.

The morning came and she could not remember the moment when it struck her. She had sinned against the Holy Spirit. All her depression, all the sinking without resistance, all the giving up the fight were part of the blasphemy. If one did not take care of the Spirit inside themselves, it was an unforgivable sin. A capital one, lack of faith. The biggest tears of her life engulfed her unworthiness and she fell to the ground hoping that God would somehow rewrite that unrewritable passage. Please forgive me. I have no words to ask for this kind of forgiveness, I only have this dirty soul. I have nearly destroyed Your Spirit in me. With whatever is left of it, impure as it is, I’m begging for pardon. Thy will be done.

She did not feel at all like a caterpillar being transformed into a beautiful butterfly – as a friend had wished her the previous day, trying some encouragement. She opened the email inbox and read a message from a coaching counselor she had written to, and who reminded her the results of a test she had done some years ago. Among your top 5 strengths, you have Command and that makes you instantly unique in my eyes – the counselor wrote. It is very seldom that command is among those top strengths in someone and that means you are truly a natural. Command can be easily misunderstood if overused and you may come across as way too bold and frightening to people who don’t get you.

Serena looked over the laptop. I have been swallowed by a flock of ducks. And I let them sink me. I had stopped fighting, I had accepted their “logic”, I believed when they told me I was too angry to succeed and that I need to do something to fit, preferably calm down.

There is no way to fit. I am no duck. I am a commanding swan, darn it! I let them kill my Spirit. And now I must forgive them all, if I want my Spirit back. The ironic economy of things. God’s, not mine. Right.

There was peace and freedom in that realization. Anger was nowhere in sight. Sadness was gone too. It felt strange. She didn’t know what to believe anymore. She didn’t understand fully but she understood enough. That her life had true meaning, even if still hidden. That she was perfect the way she was, though this was not quite clear either. That she could have repairs and another chance at things. And she could only go up from here.