Monday, April 27, 2009

Show And Tell ...

Last week – Friday, perhaps – I spent part of the afternoon camped out at my desk, plowing through a pile that had accumulated and wouldn't go away. Funny things, piles. They just sit wherever you put them. How unhelpful of them.

Among the pile were some past issues of O, The Oprah Magazine, and Reader's Digest. I finally took the plunge this year and became part of the O nation. Many of you know of my magazine addiction, but I've let several subscriptions lapse and two others went away on their own. Two of my favorites. Dammit.

But I'd flipped through O at Doreen's house and Amazon was offering a two-year subscription for $24.95 and, for a limited time, $5 off any magazine order.

Two years of Her Oprahness for $19.95? How could I not?

So I subscribed. And now, each month, she shows up in my mailbox, one airbrushed cover after another.

And on Friday – yes, I'm quite sure it was Friday – I was at my desk, leafing through two issues, tearing out articles to send to a friend. (Doreen does the same for me. It's nice, getting a Doreen-o-gram in the mail, an envelope full of things she thinks I might like to read or comics that will make me chuckle, so I've adopted the practice, too. And so can you. Send someone a note today, won't you? It's so nice to reach into the mailbox and pull out something that's not a credit-card statement or the fifteenth solicitation of the month from DirecTV.)

(And Rhonda, since I'd torn into those issues, I'll start sharing with the most-recent issue, the one that's still intact. I'll be by with it soon.)

Once I was done with Oprah, I picked up the lone Reader's Digest. The lone Reader's Digest on my desk, mind you. I have a stack of them in them in my office closet. My mom has read it for as long as I can remember. I renew her subscription each year and she gives me her issue when she's done with it, but the fine folks at RD decided to send me a no-cost subscription to "thank" me for subscribing for my mom, so now I get twice the RD in my house every month.

And so there I was, holding the Reader's Digest in my hand, staring at the coverline, "How To Hide Anything," and I thought, "I don't want to hide."

I thought of that bit on Monty Python of the man hiding behind a rock in the middle of an otherwise empty field.

It's pretty hard for me to hide. I'm too tall not to be noticed. I don't blend in. And yet, I have been hiding. From the world in general.

There's a lot I want to do, yet I let fear hold me back.

I let it. Isn't that stupid? I give it power. So, logically, I simply need to cut off that source of power. Feel the fear and do it anyway. I have a book with that title that I borrowed from a friend. I never did read the whole thing. But the gist of it is that people don't act because they fear they won't be able to handle a situation if it doesn't turn out as expected or planned but that almost without exception (death comes to mind), we will be able to handle the outcome. We'll get past any potential unpleasantness and life will go on.

Nifty, huh?

The good news is that, in recent months, I've begun to change. No, not change. "Change" isn't the right word. I'm not becoming a different Beth. I'm becoming the Beth I was born to be. I'm growing into my Bethness.

I'm getting rid of past issues, in terms of both periodicals and problems. Instead of feeling guilt for not reading every past issue of Reader's Digest, I'm chucking the pile into the recycle bin and starting fresh. Instead of letting problems weigh me down, I'm facing them, despite some substantial psychic pain at times, and moving into a new place where I refuse to accept what is unacceptable.

It's a process. Some days I make steady progress. Other days, I slip. But there is a net gain, distance between where I was then and where I am now. One of the quotes on the wall of my office is from Confucius: "It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."

So I persevere. And I'm learning not to beat myself up when I falter. I just get back on the bike, as it were. (Note to self: Get a bike.)

There are days when I'm sad. Letting go of aspects of my past feels like a loss. But then I realize that I'm making room in my life for the people who will complement me, people who will encourage my growth, not keep me rooted in the past.

And some mornings, like this morning, I wake up laughing.


Anonymous Ethan said...

Spoiler alert: Just wait until you cross the big 4-0 threshold. :-)

1:40 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

I can't wait! Really! I'm totally stoked to be turning 40!

All these people are so doom-and-gloomy about it. Not me. Bring it on! My 40s are gonna rock!

And you know me well enough to know that that is uncharacteristically optimistic of me. : o )

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to get all philosophical on a slow Monday afternoon, but on what evidence do you base your statement that dead people are able to handle the "outcome"?

1:47 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

As my friend Dennis says, "With the exception of murder, every decision is reversible."

So my point was, no matter what life throws at us, we'll be able to handle it, with the exception of death. In which case. we may still be able to deal with it, but it will be harder to tell others about it.

1:53 PM  

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