• Cristina Waldner

Stuck in the Middle with Me


 

Hi friends! Besides wanting to start off with this treat of an ear worm (you’re welcome), this one-hit wonder captures so much of what I’m feeling right now.


[ID: pic of myself in a greenhouse filled with pumpkins and yellow, orange, and red coloured mums. I am facing away from the camera, which shows the back of my wheelchair and black backpack. I have brown hair and wearing a deep coral sweater]

Call it what you will—writer’s block, identity crisis, mid-life crisis— I’ve felt so stuck lately. Like, really stuck.


Being in my 30s I hope I'm not in the middle of a mid-life crisis, but you never know. People with SMA have a possible shortened life expectancy so this could be it. Look out for me getting Botox and starting to date a 22-year-old guy named Fender.


But seriously though, It’s been tough as heck y’all. I’m hoping my writing skills haven’t gotten so bad you boo me off stage. In the last few months I have written three different blog posts and can’t bring myself to publish any of them. They are all 100% raw and vulnerable but I just couldn’t share them with the world; maybe one day, or maybe not.


I am slowly realizing not everything I create is for everyone to consume. After a lifetime of hustling, monetizing, and creating for a purpose, it's been strange to think I can spend time doing something just for myself.


To be honest, this goes against the very fibre of my being... although I wish I could say with more certainty what my fibre is (the nature/nurture debate applies to my life big-time). I would like to believe I’ve had an intense inner drive from Day 1, but my ambition could also come from life-defining moments like when I was 11 years old and someone told me I had better not grow up to be an unemployed drain on society.


Yup, this person was a real gem.


I will never forget the sickening feeling of embarrassment washing over me when they said that. It was the kind of humiliation where your blood instantly turns icy cold and your skin turns sweating hot.

While I realize this was just one person’s opinion, it doesn’t change the fact that such messages, either implied or verbalized, left scars that motivated me to prove otherwise.


Work harder. Work smarter. Or as Rihanna says, work work work work work. (Another ear worm for you. You can thank me when these songs are playing on repeat in your head at 2am!)


During the pandemic lockdowns, it was important to find ways to stay fulfilled at home. Having the Beautiful Complicated online shop gives me a sense of purpose and I absolutely love it. But to continue the small shop at full speed ahead while going through the excruciatingly slow recovery from long Covid is difficult.


It’s definitely a dilemma when the very thing that’s a life-saver for your mental health is taking a toll on your physical health.

That's why this year has been all about guarding my energy. I gave myself permission to go for walks with our family dog, read books, go through rabbit holes on Google, and spend time at the lake. (If you are wondering, “Wait a minute! What dog?”… yes we got an adorable puppy named Teemu! He is our little teddy bear!)


ID: pic of myself smiling as I hold a small blonde dog. I am wearing a purple sweater, with a living room in the background.

However, the time off has been as rejuvenating as deeply unsettling and I've majorly wrestled with guilt about the lack of hustle in my life. You can take the girl out of the hustle, but you can’t take the hustle out of the girl.


But how far can that hustle go with decreasing energy, increasing migraines and brain fog, and a deeply persistent feeling of disillusionment?


I continue to ask myself this question everyday. I am praying God will show me the way forward, but all I feel is an air of silence; and while the silence is peaceful in a way, it is also alarmingly unnerving.


Usually, silence indicates a significant absence of something and I don’t know of anyone who wants to be lacking in their life. To live well is to experience an abundance of love, meaning, and joy. But to live can also mean experiencing a lack of purpose. As much as we might dislike it, stillness also gives us an opportunity for rest.


Maybe this entire post doesn’t resonate with you at all. Maybe you’re thinking, “What are you talking about, Cristina? You’re going on about silence and slow living and I'm so done with that. I had enough of that during the lockdowns. I wanna get on with it and never look back.“


If that’s you, great!


But maybe it’s taking you a longer time to heal both emotionally and physically from the last two years. If so, I see you.


ID: Pink background with colorful words with the quote: “Have courage, heavy heart. Find joy in the in-between.

This image is from visual artist and poet Morgan Harper Nichols and is such a beautiful reminder. No matter where we are all at in our lives, may we find the grace to embrace living with ease in our own bodies so that we have the mind space to enjoy moments of abundance when they arise.


- Crissi