Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quiet times

I've put together something of a collection of coffee mugs over the years. One's got a big "E" on it - it used to be my mother's (Emily) until she bequeathed it to me (my given name is Eleanor). One's a tiny little thing, holding about a quarter-cup and sporting a bas-relief dragonfly on the side - perfect for very strong dessert coffee with real cream, animated philosophical discussion and a crooked pinkie. One (perhaps my favorite) is shaped more like a short-stemmed goblet with a handle than a traditional mug, and the curves fit securely and warmly in your hand on a cold day. That one was a gift from T.
This one is another of my favorites. In case the picture's not clear, the words inside the lip say "Quiet times are to be treasured," a perfect phrase to be reminded of over a hot drink, which forces you to stop rushing and take your time so as not to get burnt.

That's a motto I have not exactly been living my life by these days.

It seems like these days, almost all of my time is taken up with working, working out, working on school, driving somewhere, or frantically trying to fill what down time I do have with more activities and distractions, trying to disguise from myself the fact that I am 600 miles from where I want to be - literally, that is. Figuratively speaking, the distance is in light years.

T is a great comfort, even if I have only his voice. He tells me I've spent hours and more convincing him that things will get better and making him see how far he's already come, and so it's now his turn to do that for me. I guess I'm not the best at practising what I preach, but when I stop to think about it, it is true. Just over two years ago, I was heartbroken and abandoned by my friends, quite literally homeless and with no idea of where my next meal would come from. Now I have a roof over my head and enough money coming in to save a good chunk every month, as well as being around people who care about me, even if they're not always good at showing me that (and I'm not the best at accepting it, I know).

I've also got the amazing luxury of having to worry about eating too much. Two years ago, I was scrounging restaurant leftovers and begging day-old muffins, eating as much as I could get, which still wasn't enough to support 10-hour shifts at the restaurant on top of walking 5 miles a day and sleeping only a couple of hours a night. I frightened myself when I looked in the mirror - the skin on my face was taut and gray, you could trace my hipbones and count every rib. Fortunately, things got marginally better and I was able to gain back enough that none of my friends or family noticed a change when I moved back down South (and then I just kept gaining...) It still haunts me, though. And I'm sure the fear of seeing that ghastly, destitute skeleton in the mirror again is a large part of my mental block towards losing more than a few pounds.

However, what I'm trying to say with all this rambling is that T is right. I've come amazingly far, and I need to stop distracting myself and recognise that fact more often, reminding myself what the alternative to my current situation could still be.
I just got this book (pic via out from the library, along with another on Zen that I couldn't find an image for - haven't cracked it open yet, but I'm hoping it will go well with some tea and deep breathing tonight. And quiet. Beautiful quiet.



  1. This was such a touching post, Nelly. I love the positive thinking. Things WILL get better. You've already endured the worst and so now, it can only go up from here.

  2. Thanks, Joanne! That's exactly what I keep trying to remind myself, with varying levels of success ;P