Friday, December 3, 2010

Limbo, Not My Game...

Remember this post? The one where I kinda explained my sporadic posting habits this fall. The "darkness" post.

Well, I think I've been able to put a finger on what's been going on with my emotions the past 2 months. It's about limbo. Not limbo the dance (oh Wikipedia, you never disappoint), but limbo in the sense of being in a place of waiting.

I'm not so good with waiting.

After our move I had several check points that helped to keep me focused more on getting settled and a little less on how much I missed our old community/routine/predictable surroundings. First I was focused on getting unpacked. Then my time was spent getting the girls settled in school. In September I turned my focus towards finishing up my year of yoga studies in Iowa City and opening my studio. And then, once mid October hit, having accomplished all of those tasks I felt a bit lost. I started to experience teary, anxiety filled days. Some mornings I could predict that a bad day was ahead. Some days it was just a word, an email, a simple event that triggered the tears. I'm pretty sure I was driving my dear husband just short of crazy with my mood swings.

I'll be completely honest, I was ready to pack up and head back to my comfort zone in Grinnell. I was feeling sad and resentful and unsettled. Other struggles and disappointments felt magnified by my already sour mood. I felt terrible about the fact I couldn't just be OK with our move when the rest of our family has transitioned and settled in so well. I wasn't being a good wife, a good mother, or a good friend. For that I apologize to all involved. It was not my intent, but an ugly by product of my internal emotional chaos.

The past week or so I've started to feel a shift. I started to realize my craziness has not just been about the move, but rather more my feelings of being in limbo. Yesterday as I was writing this post over on my business blog, I started to make a connection between my feelings of the past 6 weeks and this period of waiting that needed to pass before I could honestly make a decision about the future of the studio and my professional pursuits. It feels freeing to see how it's all been connected and to have hope that lighter days are ahead.

When I opened the studio I really had no idea how it would be received. My business model is about as grassroots as it gets given our very limited financial resources and the fact that I am honestly a business of ONE. (Plus all you lovely supportive friends and family!) While I was excited to give having my own space here a shot, I was hesitant to commit to taking on a lengthy lease for the financial strain it could cause our family if things did not go well. So I signed a sublease for 3 months to get a feel for whether the studio could at least sustain itself. I put together a class schedule, started promoting, and showed up to teach class, fingers crossed that I would have students to teach. The whole time with "Plan B" floating around in the back of my mind. Only even Plan B had no clear direction, which made it no more comforting.

This past week, knowing that I needed to make a decision about extending my sublease, I've been able to feel more at ease about finding my place here in our new community. I've committed to extending my sublease for 6 more months, after which I hope to have the option to take on a longer direct lease...meaning I would move from sharing a space to truly being able to make a space of my own. New students are making their way into the studio every week. I'm looking ahead at arranging some special events after the first of the year. I've made a commitment to being a part of the local business community and have become a Chamber member. I've started to reach out to other groups in the greater DSM area to expand my service area. I've started to worry less about the fact I'm working just about as many hours as I was in Grinnell, but only contributing (at this point) about a third of the income I was able to with my teaching contracts there. I'm confident that in time the numbers are going to shift allowing me to start to once again be an income contributing member of our family. Until that happens we'll get by. We always do.

Maybe one of the hardest parts of this whole transition had been the need for me to honestly look at my inner dialog and beliefs about who I am. To admit that the only person who is keeping me from fully committing to expanding my professional (and personal) horizons is ME. That if I want to own a yoga studio, and start to grow my business as a photographer, then I've got to stop listening to that little voice inside that causes self doubt and just go for it.

Easier said than done. But I've never expected success to be easy. I just know in my heart that it's worth the work to be able to do, and share with others, what fuels my passions. I fully trust that when I confidently do that, everything else (including our strained budget at home) will see the benefit.

Thanks to all, near and far, who have checked in with your words of support. It means more than you may know and has helped to even make the dark days a little brighter. I'm looking forward to a few less days of darkness...and many more days of brilliant light.



Kate! said...

Thanks so much for this! I've been feeling the same way after the move, getting married, starting a new job all I wanted was to go home and have things the way they were. I thought I would be good with the changes, but all of a sudden it crashed down and I thought- now what?!

Things are settling down, but limbo and change can really suck, huh?

Donna said...

Jenn--Your honesty and willingness to share your journey are always inspiring. I understand, on so many levels, every word you wrote about limbo. I feel my whole life has been about the next transition, the next journey...and for a long time I couldn't accept that I never fully 'arrived' at the place and space I thought should be at. The older I get the more I realize I have arrived, over and over and over again. :) There really doesn't seem to be a beginning and an end. You are a brave and beautiful soul. The dark days are just a reminder of a place you don't want to be and they offer perspective. Thinking of you! Big hugs!