The Truth Behind My Messy Inbox
Last night, I sat by my bed and finally did it – I cleared out my inbox.
There are two types of people in this world; those who couldn’t care less about the rising numbers on top of their mail app and those who can’t deal with the mess of it all. I definitely find myself represented in the latter.
I’ve admitted before that I love control, as I’m sure most of us do. The idea of not knowing, not seeing, not understanding, not having full grip, well, that kind of freaks me out in crazy ways.
When something bugs me, whether big or small, I find no rest until it’s settled. Sometimes, it’s as simple as an excruciating need to pick something out of place off the floor whilst I’m deep in my bed having finally laid in the most comfortable position. It could be having to hang a jacket in the wardrobe or getting rid of something I’ve held onto too long. Now, I’m sure I could sit here and question the psychological reasons behind my constant need for control, but that’s one for another day.
The point is, if I don’t change it, I think about until I do. It lingers in the back of my mind like a shadow that doesn’t know how to leave. It haunts me until I face it, confront it, set it free. No matter how long I procrastinate (and I’m sure damn good at that), it’s a task I can’t help but complete sooner or later, and it’s always in the back of my mind to remind me – whatever it is.
That’s where my imbox comes into this. I watched it every single day like clockwork. I’d open my phone, tap on the blue box at the top of my screen, and stare aimlessly. Each morning, and some evenings, I’d stare at the numbers climb up. From ten it became twenty, and from there I guess I lost the will to actively keep track and read through my emails. The numbers kept rising and rising, and I kept ignoring the loud urge in my mind to fix it. ‘Fix it! Fix it!’, it screamed.
You’re might be thinking, what’s all the fuss about a mailbox? What exactly is the big deal?
That’s a great question and I’m not entirely sure how to answer that without sounding a bit ridiculous. Here’s the thing, I never let the numbers on my mailbox climb – I never used to at least. I check my mail almost daily, so I’m used to sorting it out as I go. It’s just the way I’ve done it over the years by my own volition. It was never super thought out and it rarely ever felt like a chore – until the last few months.
At some point, I began ignoring all my emails and I’d wait as long as possible before answering back to anyone that needed my attention – even the important ones. The more the numbers grew, the less inclined I was to do something about it. The more I stared at the clutter I was piling up, the more I just wanted to hide away from it.
As I said, I’m pretty good at procrastinating when I want to and hiding away from problems isn’t always the hardest thing to do, but here’s where I think I lose against myself: the freaking bug. Remember that sensation I talked about earlier that never seems to go away until the task is done? The shadow that lingers in the back of my mind and never seems to go away until I settle it and put it to rest with action?
Here’s the thing, it truly is just a mailbox. Most times there’s nothing so great about my emails. A lot of times, it’s mainly ads and receipts that fill up the space and make the numbers soar higher than I’d like them to. But here’s the problem; it stops being a simple issue when it begins to be something that causes anxiety or panic.
I noticed that every time I try to run away from situations in my life, I start from my inbox.
I start by ignoring the little things, the things that can easily be changed, shifted and fixed. Next thing I know, I’m ignoring text messages and watching my phone ring until the person at the other end gets bored of trying. I pick up letters with my name on them from the living room and leave them by my bedside for days and days. In other words, I hide from all the things that could lead to more things; I avoid the ripple effect.
I guess a way to describe it better would be that idea of pushing people away when you don’t want them to see a truer version of yourself. It’s sort of like running through a maze filled with mirrors while trying not to catch your own reflection in the process. It’s like trying to run away from yourself even though that’s all you keep crashing into.
Every time I ignored an email, a phone call, a text, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I chose each time to ignore the real things I was running from. Every time I tried to lie to myself, I guess I got hit by the reality that no matter how good of a liar I can be, that’s the only person I really can’t lie to.
Finally, I cleared out my inbox. I did it because it was haunting me. It was reminding me of everything else I was choosing to ignore. I replied to my friend’s messages on WhatsApp because, in the end, other people can make you feel a little less down, a little less alone, a little more alive.
I’m facing myself head-on now. I’m looking in the mirror, straight into my eyes and allowing myself to feel the discomfort of all the things weighing on my shoulder. In all honesty, I’m facing myself; my fears, my failures and my future because running won’t change a damn thing. I’ve spun in circles for weeks now and I’m done spinning; it only leaves me drowsy, confused and dizzy.
Basically, I’m choosing to be a bit more still. I’m choosing to take action. I’m choosing to come face to face with myself.
I won’t lie and say I’ve figured it all out or that clearing out my inbox has given me the deep clarity I desperately need, but it’s a start and that’s the most important part.
Your restless romantic roamer
One step at a time, one day at a time. ‘Feel the fear and do it any way.’
Thanks for your kind words!