Wallowing

The muck in which those pigs walked was so deep that one of the pigs kinda just scooted around on her belly. She was the one who made the most grotesque snorting sounds.

The other, smaller, more determined pigs energetically pranced through the muck. They were the ones whose activity made that sucking sound in the mud as their feet plunged in and out.

The images haunt me still. I keep thinking about the Portrait of Dorian Gray. If somewhere, all the awfulness of my thoughts was visible, if someone could just look at me and know, like with the mud on those pigs, or look at some strange portrait of me in an attic somewhere, and see what was actually happening to my insides, my brain, my heart…

Gravitas

I have all the Gravitas of this dame right here.

Today’s Ideal Life Theme is Gravitas. Gravitas is the idea of carrying oneself with wisdom and grace. It is admittedly one of the more esoteric Ideal Life Themes, one of the more “life goals” things, something that is hard to define and equally hard to pursue. It is certainly something that I have never considered that God might be interested in.

Part of Gravitas is a coherence, or consistency between what is going on inside my heart and my thoughts and what I look like or how I behave.

I could justify my general lack of Gravitas by saying, “Well, I’m a creative type. This debilitating, constant ebullience of thoughts and dreams is normal for people like me.” Unfortunately, there is a tiny scrappy bit of wisdom that lives deep deep deep in my soul that doesn’t agree and begins to bark nervously when I start justifying myself this way.

I wish I could be specific about the thoughts I wallow in, but I need, for once, to preserve my own dignity. Suffice it to say that I have all the self-control, all the kindness, all the reserve and all the magnanimous benevolence of an adolescent. My emotions are about as constant as a teenage girls’. I wish I could blame this on something different than what a teenager could blame them on, but unfortunately, my sentimental life is very much ruled by my hormonal cycles.

My biggest stumbling block to Gravitas comes from inside my own body, from biological processes that I cannot control.

Just like the pig can’t help being gross and living in a muddy mucky pigsty, I seem to be condemned to wallowing.

Tracking and progress

Yesterday, I suggested that there may need to be a project to help me breakthrough on this topic, because living my Ideal Life is just not possible—having Gravitas, being competent and respectable—will not happen if I don’t give it some serious attention. I can’t make others find me deserving of respect. But I would like to respect myself.

I am certain, ever since that thought popped into my head, “I need to stop wallowing”, that there are ways: through prayer, about the condition of my heart and my earthly-focused desires, and through careful inspection of my thoughts and the slight shifts in them which cause me to behave unbecomingly or develop unbecoming attitudes.

Do the easy things first

First and foremost, I need to renew my efforts to track the subtle shifts in my thoughts which happen during different points at the monthly cycle. I mentioned once that I suspected there was a link between my “coveting”—wanting things that I didn’t, couldn’t or shouldn’t have—and my monthly cycle. This is absolutely true, but there are other correlations which I haven’t spent much time reflecting on. There are moments when I am feeling more effervescent and other times when I am feeling more reserved. I give myself whiplash with these extremes. Surely this is hormonal, too.

To get slightly more serious about this whole process, since it is one I do regularly, just with less careful attention than it would deserve, would mean I need to pay more attention and take better notes. This is easy. I just need to get motivated.

Second, and I think that this will provide the most helpful insight, will be to stay away from my personal social media accounts for a specific time. (Not my Lily Fields Challenge, of course! I only surround myself on LFC with people who are encouraging, whose successes do not inspire jealousy, and who, for some reason, inspire me to be way more real than my IRL accounts.) I only pop up on social media on my personal accounts 1. when I have something exciting to say 2. need to feel like I still exist 3. want to creep around being jealous of other peoples’ success. (Incidentally, I believe point 3 must be the second definition of “wallowing” on someone’s dictionary entry.)

If I can just take these two points seriously, then I will hopefully already start noticing some ground shifting on this topic of Gravitas and wallowing. Figure out my emotional triggers, my biological factors, the specific thoughts and moments of the day when I tend to start stepping into the muck.

By knowing what those triggers and sensitive moments are, by making this subject one I am willing to talk to God about, and giving him my consent to get involved in this area, I can start equipping myself with the tools to stay out of the muck. I hope.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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