Holy hell, hi there. Let’s not waste any more time. First, it has been so long since I wrote my last post that I lost track of both my username AND password. When I finally got logged in, the format to post had also changed. Everything feels super unfamiliar and updated beyond what I’m capable of following. And that’s exactly how every part of life feels right now. It feels like I’m going through it.
The Recent Past
I spent the past 20ish months working on pouring the time into myself that I pour into other people, or work, or doom scrolling. I felt physically better, mentally healthier, and emotionally more even-keeled. While my weight has bounced up and down, I’ve overall lost a few of the pounds that have plagued me these past few years of post-menopause. (Fine, like, literally, MAYBE, three. On a good day.)
But for the past month or so, everything has felt out of control, sometimes wildly so. And something I keep wondering, as I keep making myself do the work: is it actually better to be self-aware? Because sometimes it feels terrible knowing that my thinking is flawed, and staying true to myself in the midst of my own human error and folly.
Yesterday, after a week absolutely full of said errors and follies (I’m an event planner in my day job, and let’s just say that I wasn’t living my best planning life), I sat myself down for a good, deep inner reflection. And then I stood myself up and went for a walk-and-listen. That’s when I found the thing that I needed to remember, in the form of the We Can Do Hard Things podcast with guest Tracee Ellis Ross.
Ross did not say anything I didn’t – that any of us don’t – know. There was nothing revolutionary in her message of finding inner peace amid the struggles of being a human in the world. I’ve even written about it in previous blogs. It was the way she said it. She asked the questions, she revealed her own struggles. And her words led me to those big, gusty, exhales we sometimes release that tell us just how much we’ve been holding in.
Her question is also my question – to myself and to all of us. What is it that we need today to hold space in self-acceptance when life doesn’t feel good and we feel unlovable? Having done so much inner work these past months, it feels like I should be able to handle what would have once dropped me. Instead, I’m on the floor half the time. I’m wondering how something (like a week of event stressors) could have sideswiped me so severely when I know that I’m a flawed being in a world of the same.
For me, Ross’s statement “I don’t know how to be anything but me” clinched it. When she followed that with “Don’t compare your insides to someone else’s outsides,” my inner defense dropped.
Going Through It
After the listen, I realized that I was putting expectations on myself that I would never put on anyone else. This is a common thing that I do – that a lot of us do. Even knowing that, and working to remember what it is that I love and who it is that I am outside of my job and assorted life roles, I still hurt myself with my expectations.
The phrase “going through it” is one that I toss around so casually – another favorite is “back on my bullshit” – that I don’t really stop and break it down anymore. We’re literally going through life every day. Sometimes that means we’re sailing. Sometimes it means we’re slogging. Either way, we’re progressing. Every day holds a lesson, and if every lesson was that life is great and there’s nothing to worry about, we would quickly take happiness for granted.
So, sometimes we have to go straight through it. There’s no skirting around it. No avoiding it. Going through it is dealing with it. Going through it is growing through it. Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.
Thank you, Tracee Ellis Ross and the We Can Do Hard Things team for the reminders. It led to a weekend of simple pleasures and forgiveness. This week, I’m going to try and remember that none of this extra shit is as important as we think it is.
Love you. Mean it.