Dear friends, the past weekish has been a weird one. I’ve been a weird one, as far as humans go. In times of stress, every aspect of our collective personhood is tested. It’s all in how we prepare for the storm. So when The Flood’s a comin’…
Do we occupy our own bodies: batten down the hatches and anchor our spastic psyches with a sandbag or two? Can we still feel our feet inside our wellies as the ever-changing tides of LYFE gurgle and spit and try to swallow us up? Do we wear secret life-vests beneath all of our clothes? (#nevernude) so that we have no reason to doubt that we’re okay and we’ll be okay no matter what happens?
Or do we get sucked up into a torrent of cataclysmic crazy that forces us to survive by however means necessary? I.e. not by charming Beyoncé and Jay Z into an invitation to booze cruise right through the tempest on their impenetrable, diamond encrusted yacht — but by panicking; abandoning all of the practices that keep us grounded and by relying on fear to motivate our endurance?
Let me tell you what happens when we’re figuratively drowning/scared sh*tless: our neuroses bubble up to the surface in a vile froth of our own making and we lose all power to properly take care of ourselves and play well with others. Ok, so…what if I told you I used to live in that kind of panic mode all the time?
This past year has been an incredible lesson in staying present and taking charge of my own attitude. I’ve become so much calmer. But back in my wayward youth, I constantly played the victim to my own problems. I let my obsessions get the best of me, and I didn’t hold myself accountable for how I reacted to inner turmoil. If I was overly sensitive and impossible to deal with, I blamed OTHERS for not cuttin’ me some slack. How could anyone expect me to be a fully functioning lady when I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life; I was wholly tangled up in food preoccupation and body shaming; I didn’t know enough about myself to know how to recharge, so I was constantly running on empty; and friends and family just DIDN’T UNDERSTAND #drama. Omgz and boys just didn’t stand a chance. I’m sorry, boys of yore. (Sorry to some of you. Some of you are THE WORST.)
I was a mess. And grown-ass womanhood is all about learning how to (usually) not be a mess:
How to stay present: how to let your life nourish you, rather than be consumed by it. You know how assholes are always telling you to live in the moment and you’re like, wait, what? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?! I finally figured it out. Enjoy. Build up a life and love the practices and people in it. Engage. Don’t spend a Friday night out with friends texting someone who’s not there, (do as I say… not as I sometimes drunkenly do.) or worrying about money or moving or whatevs (#projecting). Check in with yourself. Mentally show up for your own life, and be responsible for how you live it.
Know your past. Know your needs. Know your flaws. It’s especially hard for women to identify and articulate their needs… but I’m slowly grasping that, although our needs are dynamic, they have a lot to do with who we are. Example: I need new people in my life to surriously put forth effort into getting to know me because I have a complex about being used for superficial means. How’s that for neurotic? I’m pretty sure it mostly has to do with my dad, but it informs how I relate to all men. Oh, you think I’m pretty, do you, because I’m tall and blond and thin? REAL ORIGINAL, YOU DOUCHE. Don’t talk to me. Not normal. Not inherently healthy … but I know it’s there and can hopefully be prepared to talk about it next time, which is really all I can do.
Feed yourself. Soul food. Real food. If we can all go back to my bizarre tsunami metaphor for a hot second: in case of emergency, you need to put on your life preserver first. You can’t be anything to anyone if you don’t take care of yourself first and foremost. That’s not selfish. That’s science.
Yes, I was stressing this week about so. many. things. But I was also equipped to rise to the occasion. Every day, I get better about just handling it, whatever it may be… which is sort of thrilling, right? So this weekend, let’s celebrate our growth! Let’s squeeze every last drop of pleasure out of each day. Let’s know our faults and how to work with them. And in the wise words of R. Kelly (GROSS), let’s have us some fun.
How are you engaging in your life this weekend? What sorts of lovely brain impediments are you perpetually challenged by? I’d love to know.