Thursday, September 2, 2010



[I wrote this yesterday!]

Just returned from a walk that i didn't much feel like doing...until i got out there.

What a lovely day it was and i enjoyed being out, again, feeling the sun beating down on my skin, seeing the sights in the neighborhood, so nice. I ended up walking for 45 minutes. And i took some very hilly streets. I was workin' hard.

I could have just as easily said to myself, sitting in the air conditioning at home, "A walk? Nah, I don't feel like it." I didn't feel like it. But, i did it anyway. I just got out there. The desire developed. The truth is, you often "don't feel like it" until you're OUT there. You have to push yourself sometimes. Not everything is happy happy bliss bliss.

On my walk, I met a lady who pushes herself, ALOT.

I spotted a LADY TRASH COLLECTOR emptying garbage cans into the trash truck. Wow, a LADY trash collector??? "Hey, great job, girl!" i yelled to her, admiring her for doing a job that usually only strong men do. She was friendly and we started chatting as she joined me on my walk until she reached the next house to pick up their trash. I said, "Whew, it's a hot one! God, I really give you credit for doing this job, you must be exhausted!" She gave me a no holds barred answer. "You have NO idea," she said. "I come home at night and i'm too exhausted to even kiss my husband hello. I come home from work and I'm too exhausted to eat! I come home from work and i'm too exhausted to get the key in the door!" We chatted some more, and I walked on my way, as she arrived by foot to the next house to haul their stinky trash into the trash truck. We waved g'bye and wished each other a wonderful day.

Yeah, a 'wonderful day'. While I struggle over a 45 minute walk and then get to go in the A/C, she's out there busting her butt in the blaring sun.

Meeting the lady trash collector was a very profound experience. "My God," I thought. "What a remarkable woman!" She sweats her ass off in the baking sun, walking miles a day from house to house, fermented trash juices and stenches permeating her sticky and sweaty clothing, the sickening stench stuck in her nose, calloused hands from lifting 20 or 30 lbs trash cans full of other people's disgsting shit every few minutes and dumping them into a stink-ass loud compactor, walking to the next house and doing it all over again, again, and again. No break. Sweating. Exhausted. The smells. The noise. A total assualt on the senses in every sense of the word.

She's doing this to feed her husband, to feed her kids, not because she loves it, or loves trash, I surmised. Exhausting and filfthy work. Yet, she does it to get that paycheck. I hope garbage collectors make a decent living.

But, do you think she looks forward to going to work in the morning?????

Do you think she LOVES trash....?????

It got me thinkin' about a lot of things.

...About my diet and how that's an uncomfortable struggle often, too. I want crispy parmesan rice chips, but have to eat bananas. I have uncomfortable detox symptoms often. Last night i had diarreah again. And i lost my appetite.

..About careers and how you don't always have to believe in or love the thing you work with.

...About life in general and how we have to push through the muck and discomfort ALOT to get what we want.

To reach any goal, the struggle, the discomfort, the process, the pain, the's all mandatory. overrated.

Do you think the trash collector lady feels GOOD all day, comfortable????

I'm sure she feels good when she receives her paycheck.

But, why do we always have to be comfortable?

Comfortable is usually stagnating.

The trash collector lady endures MONGO amounts of discomfort. Why can't we???

Cliff and I watched a movie about rock climbing last night. The rock climbers slipped. They endured freezing and frostbitten body parts. They hung on too short ropes, helpless, lost their footing, had to try for a footing over and over and over again. Failure was all part of the game. What a metaphor for life, i thought.

Accomplishing things is NOT easy. Failure is all PART of it. Discomfort is a taken.

One of the rock climbers in the movie said, "After you reach the peak and look down, you forgot the horror you had to go through to get up here. When you reach the top, it's all worth it."

I'm thinkin' about something. Thinkin' about going back to school. I don't know, it's kinda crazy. One day i want to be a professional opera singer, and today I'm thinking about Nursing.

Many of the nurses at the hospital have been encouraging me to go to Nursing School. $50,000 -60,000 a year doing something i'm doing for free now with my mom (except admistering meds) is very appealing.

I'd like a nice house. I'd like a cleaning lady. I'd like to travel. I'd like to have some money. I'd like the opportunity to get a job in ANY city.

The thought of learning a new really challenging subject, of kow-towing to the pharmaceutical companies, of dissecting a cat and a pig in school, of dealing with people's pain daily, scares me. But, many of the Nurses have said, "Look, you're already DOING so much of the job already!"

Could i just get through the discomfort of get the prize? Health insurance for my family! Three 12-hour shifts a week! A good paycheck! Helping people! Days available to perform singing!

I don't know...somehow everything came together today to bring home the same message. Meeting that trash collecting lady...and that mountain climbing movie...and my walk...and my sometimes hard-to-do diet...and sometimes, oftentimes not feeling great on it....taught me today to start thinking about the importance of accepting discomfort to get to the goal.

My message today: Go for it, and just DO what you gotta do today, no matter how badly it makes you feel. Stop being such a wimp. Do you think that trash collecting lady feels good? You already feel like shit now, right? This way, you'll feel like shit, but will be closer to having what you want! Keep doing what you're doing if you want to stay where you are.

To get the prize, you gotta climb the mountain. Mountains are ROCKY. And SLIPPERY. And SCARY. And you need SUPPORT. And you often FALL. And you often feel AWFUL along the way. Intensely UNCOMFORTABLE. And you often REGRET starting.

But, when you reach the forget about all of the pain it took to get there. Like getting your paycheck for a stinky job. Like looking out over Austria from the Alps. Like staying on 80-10-10 and losing weight when you felt hopeless. Like...child birth! Like any goal worth anything.

Sure, you'll save yourself alot of discomfort if you never climb the mountain. But then, you also never get anywhere.

And you certainly will never get to the top, and you will certainly never get out of the hole you've dug yourself into.

xoxo michelle joy

1 comment:

max said...

i absolutely adore you mjoy. whatever you choose to do, i will be rooting for you all the way. you are amazing.