I am a sponge. As I make my way through life, ideas, feelings, opinions and emotions surround me on all sides, swirling about, and I soak them up. They are big and loud and bright and demand to be let in. And so I absorb them all. I am a sponge.
As we talk, your energy, your experiences and your emotions drift over in the space between us and land right on me. I can absorb you in the smallest ways, just a saved song on Spotify or your new favorite podcast or a quote from our conversation in my phone. Energy, coming out of your eyes and voice and stories and soul, transfers over. I might’ve talked with you for hours or just seen you in the briefest moment. It doesn’t matter. Part of you, in some small way, has become part of me. I am a sponge.
I like this about myself. Because it means I’m always learning, always taking in new lives and letting them into my ever-growing self and making them my own. It means that I am ever-changing and adapting, never settling and drying up, because there is always something new to learn.
Of course, the dirty water comes right in with the clean. Some days, I can weigh heavy with the grief or negative energy of others. I can look around in disbelief as people in my Midwestern city go about business as usual when terror and sorrow wreak havoc on countries far away. I imagine all day what this or that person must be going through, wondering how they carry on when they’ve been wronged. I sit heavy on those days, the dark water seeping in through my open pores.
Luckily, I’m starting to learn, there’s something else a sponge can do, after awhile. It can wring out, rinse, and let go. Where, you ask, have I begun to put the insecurity, self-doubt, unfair expectations and fear? Turns out a lot of that comes out in the wash. Turns out a lot of that isn’t even something I absorbed; it was a story I told myself and let become reality. Turns out that almost every long struggle with myself, spent locked my head in imaginary situations and conflicts, could be solved. Solved by sending a text, by going for a long run, by getting a reality check, by waking up, by getting help. A rinse.
There’s balance in all this that I’m finding and really starting to love. There’s parts of every stage to appreciate: Absorb. Learn. Experience. Grow. Rinse. Let go. Repeat.