Being Present

I wanted my first post to be good, honest, and something you’d like to read, but last week held a lot of events that even when written down and made flashy with em dashes and explanation points ended up being not very good at all. The phrase “Should I write about this?” has been said multiple times over the past week, but my mind has been elsewhere, too foggy to concentrate on that question. I’ve been constantly going over the to-do list in my head and adding new bullets and pushing other “to-dos” further into the future.

“Why don’t you write about that?” The “that” in that question is the list I made late last week, which was not a to-do list or not intended to be a to-do list, but a things-I-absolutely-need-to-be-happier list. This list included everything from “I need to be more self-confident” to “I need to buy a vacuum” (really opening up to myself on that last one, I know).

Perhaps it’s the endlessness of summer heat, but I am having a hard time staying present and it’s wearing on me. I am overwhelmed, I have a pinch of sadness, and I am desperately looking forward to October – a month that currently has few to-dos.

There’s something about the DC humidity that causes me, in very real and very inconvenient ways, to lose my mind. I find it hard to focus. I get easily upset about minor things. I cram too much into every day, or I do nothing at all. It’s a challenge to stay present – to hear stories, to remember conversations, to appreciate sensations: sights and touches, the heat of a September afternoon.

My roommate, Ben, came home last week to find me mid list making and close to tears. He had work to do and I had a to-do list that felt miles long, but instead, we went for a walk. We left the apartment with no destination and ended up getting ice cream.

“Can you believe,” I said “with everything we have to do tonight, we’re doing this?”

I took a spoonful. It was a flavor made with spices and the man behind the counter had informed me that despite being cold, it would taste scalded.

I ate for a moment, and thought. I closed my eyes. I lost myself in the act of tasting, which, for only a moment, seemed to require my full attention.

“Are you getting it?” Ben asked.

I looked up. Yes, I said, I was.

– Melissa Grant

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