“… you have to start to take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time just like you did in the first days of sobriety and childbirth and your very own brand-new unfamiliar life.”
When the gratitude lists and the shit lists are coming faster than you can write them down.
When your feelings are as layered as a Ukrop’s birthday cake — debilitating fear, eerie deep calm, grief, joy, surprise, denial, wonder, confusion, hope, loop and repeat.
When you consider lying on the couch in yesterday’s pajamas eating Easter candy and watching gorilla videos on YouTube a pretty huge win for the day.
When your entire calendar suddenly vanishes into thin air, dragging with it appointments and concerts and conferences and weddings and road trips and doctor’s visits and visits to see your dad and the rest of your child’s ninth grade school year and the hinges holding your weeks and days together are suddenly unhinged and you have to start to take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time just like you did in the first days of sobriety and childbirth and your very own brand-new unfamiliar life.
When you have to cancel your Metamorphosis Writing for Transformation Retreat and you sob uncontrollably because you’ve been dreaming about it and planning it for a year but then it dawns on you that metamorphosis and transformation are what’s happening now and they are completely beyond the realm of your imagined control.
When you fantasize about hugging the very people whose presence in your life just last month you took as much for granted as the living room couch or death or taxes and now your accountant has canceled your appointment and you know you can’t take anything for granted anymore.
“… it dawns on you that metamorphosis and transformation are what’s happening now and they are completely beyond the realm of your imagined control.”
When it suddenly becomes clear that there was never a chance in hell you could rescue, fix, or save all those people you’d meant to rescue fix or save.
When you realize the practices you’ve been practicing for the last ten or twenty years are actually the thin line between you and a head first dive off the deep end and so now you begin to practice them with every single thing you’ve got.
When practicing surrender has been on your to-do list for a couple of months or years now but you always had something else you that had to get done first.
When you know that your outlook and attitude are the difference between war and peace within the territory of your own home and you lay your weapons down.
When everything that’s been simmering just below the surface rises to the top because you’re no longer busy enough to keep it pushed down.
When you pray like a motherfucker for serenity now and then feel it flash through your body for a second before it’s gone, so you start to pray again.
This piece was first published on Lifein10Minutes.
Valley Haggard is the author of The Halfway House for Writers and Surrender Your Weapons, and she co-edited Nine Lives: a Life in 10 Minutes Anthology. She has also published numerous essays, stories, and reviews, including an essay in Broad Street’s “Small Things, Partial Cures” issue. In Richmond, Virginia, she founded the online literary magazine Life in 10 Minutes and its affiliated writing program, as well as a year-round creative writing program for youth, Richmond Young Writers. She invites writers to submit their own ten-minute memoirs here — whether the topic involves the pandemic or not. She welcomes writers from every location and level of experience to share their own stories.