It’s been quiet around here because I’ve been floundering a bit. Which takes a lot to admit, isn’t that weird? We have no trouble posting all the shiny brilliant parts of our lives on social media, but when it comes to the tricky parts, the stressful parts and the sad parts – we suddenly get all shy. I suppose sadness is personal, it feels more private, while we are more comfortable with our happiness being public. This all adds up to a perfect storm, as we’re constantly seeing only the happy parts of someone’s life. It’s completely distorted.
We may see their beautiful beach picture. We don’t see them on the side losing their temper with whining kids. We see them perfectly made up in their sundress and sandals. We don’t see them sick in bed with dark rings under their eyes, covered in flea bites (this is me guys, I’m talking about myself). It’s a complex issue as I think we also do this because we don’t want to be seen as complaining. We live in a very difficult world, in a divided country, and we have so much more than others, so we feel like we can’t express our real selves because that will seem ungrateful, and possibly even self absorbed.
Well I’m here to say that we need to share the not-so-great bits with each other, too. Because it’s real. Life goes up one minute, and then gets bumpy, and then straightens out, and then may crash for a short time before coming right again. Or sometimes there are several bumps, all in a row. Unpredictable is all we’ve got. And only sharing the highs is like distorting the data. It’s cheating. It makes everyone else walk around thinking there’s something wrong with THEIR graph. Which there isn’t.
So I’m here to speak about the lower bits. Like looking in the mirror and not really loving what you see. Worrying about a parent who’s not well. Lying yourself in bed for 10 days, wondering if you’ll ever have energy again. Feeling fear, waking with your heart racing. Meeting stressful deadlines. Wondering why there are so many bills, and why you have to pay so much tax and where does all your money go? Worrying about the country. Keeping a small business going in a tough economy. Lying awake at night listening to your kid cough, and wondering what’s wrong with him (off to the doctor again today). All these things are hard. And while there are harder things that happen to other people, these are the things happening to you, and they are valid.
I’ve been dealing with anxious feelings and general not-so-goodness by trying to remember to breathe when I feel panicky. I’ve been meditating just five minutes a day, before bed. I went for a massage. I’ve started exercising again, albeit very slowly. I’ve been trying to get lots of sleep, and drink tea, and rest.
Good things are certainly coming. I turn 40 next month. I’m heading on the trip of a lifetime next week with my sister, and I haven’t even had time to get excited about it, until now. I have a beautiful life, but beautiful doesn’t always mean perfect.
Hope you are all getting through winter okay.
Here’s to lighter times, and to keeping it real.