Finding My “Why”: How a Message in a Bottle Saved this Shipwreck

, ,

Why? From the age of three when our restless young minds simply must know why the sky is blue (at 3:27 in the morning, no less) to our early twenties when we’re eating a pint of ice cream on the couch, teary-eyed and asking why a hound dog and a fox couldn’t just be left to be friends.* No matter your age, no matter your struggle, “why” seems to be that age-old question we never tire of asking. I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. A lot of “why me, why this, why that”, and a bit of “what, how, how even, because I can’t even” as well.

“What the hell am I going to write about?” as I watch the second week close out without a blog post. I know quality is valued over quantity, but I felt the longer I waited, the greater the expectation for a post that didn’t ultimately fall short like I fear so many before have. Surely the small handful of you who weren’t bribed or threatened into reading my posts are wondering if  I had just finally snapped and adopted all the animals from every shelter within a 50 mile radius**, resigning myself to my calling of crazy spinster. How do I put to words all that’s gone on since my last post? When, if ever, would I truly feel safe saying just exactly what’s on my mind, without this constant nagging self-doubt and second guessing. “Is that my wise mind coming to that conclusion? Is this effective? Is this justified?! Have I checked the facts? Should I say that?” DBT has turned the microscopic focus inward, and inevitably, circled me back to the bigger question.

Why am I even doing this? I’d scrubbed every inch of my room- sorted every drawer in my desk and rearranged furniture, desperate to keep my hands busy while my brain mulled over whether or not to sign a D.N.R if I couldn’t come up with a post by the end of the month. I’d alternated between staring blankly at the screen for periods of time and desperately scouring old writings for inspiration before finally getting sidetracked and winding up watching videos of baby goats wearing pajamas.

I held out, hoping something serendipitous would come my way. Perhaps not something as extravagant as realizing I have a long lost cousin who’s absolutely amazing. But just something that would practically write itself. Like that time I was almost pressured into making my vag go vegan.  It turned out I would find just what I needed in a dusty old Vodka bottle.

I left this for when you’re feeling down and emotions are pushing you around. Love life. I can’t recall the first time I discovered the message rolled up in the bottle or how many times I’ve read it since, if any. It became one of those relics from the past you just feel compelled to hold onto for reasons you can’t quite explain. And here I found it- validation and kindness, bottled up like a self-care mana potion. And not a third of the way down the page: Never stop writing, till your hand can’t carry a pen- never stop.

Yesterday a friend of mine, an elementary school P.E teacher, gave me a virtual tour of his office. Putting so much of myself into the four walls I surround myself with every day, I’m always eager and delighted when others choose to share their personal space with me. On one wall, the words “Remember Your Why” caught my attention. I asked what that was about, oblivious to all social graces or consideration and hungry for a peek inside someone else’s mind. He told me it was kind of his teaching motto. That how matter how shitty things were or how hard they got, “I gotta remember why I do what I do.”

Somewhere deep inside, a light went off. As if I were a freshly wound clockwork doll, I felt the pieces falling into place- questions and answers lining up properly as my gears started turning. I thought back to the letter I’d found. After having looked inside I feel as if I have some of that power to love like you do (…) You have changed my life and me as a person. I will no longer sit back and watch. 

That’s when I remembered my why for IntroAverted. What took the fanciful idea I had while sitting across from Brandon in some restaurant, staring out the window at the bicycle planter hanging from the awning, and made it a reality. It was the same reason I’d written all those old pieces I sought inspiration from. The same reason I found myself playing mama bear to a younger friend when hearing stories that struck too many familiar chords. And the same reason I wrote my very first song the other week after realizing a huge monument from my past was destroyed. There was so much evil and destruction in the world. I needed to be a light– however small, if only to guide my own way. I needed to create- if only for me.

Nietzsche said, “he who has a why to live can bear almost any how”. I’m realizing when I take a moment to look around me, to look within me. I’ve got enough why’s to weather any storm… <3

“There’s no such thing as a painless lesson, they just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you’ll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah… a heart made fullmetal.”

— — —

*If the Fox & the Hound doesn’t make you cry, you have no soul. End of story.

**Number 4 on my Bucket List

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.