It’s the holiday season, traditionally my lowest time of the year. I had a snarky thing to write about how I’d been convinced it was my lowest time of the year by someone else, but really what do we really know anymore? But the real truth is that I set the tone for these expectations. “The holidays are my lowest point” I declared, early on in my courtship with my ex.
I was all about creating realistic expectations. I didn’t want there to be any surprises. This is me, I thought I was saying clearly. “this is me, WYSIWYG, take it or leave it.” I felt powerful, forthright, progressive.
Here is what’s also true: I will never live the same day twice. I will never live the same MINUTE twice. What right did I have, do I have, to declare myself and my state of mind before the situation even becomes an issue? I don’t. I simply don’t.
Recently someone asked me “Are you the type of person who_____” and suddenly I realized I don’t know. I’m the Summer type of person. I am funny, I am strong. I am fallible, I am sensitive. I am this person, this minute and in five minutes I’ll be someone else. This is normal; this is regular, this is happening to us all every day, all day long.
I fall down, every day. A stack of old letters makes me instantly regretful and contrite about my deep distrust of history. I throw away perfectly useful items because when I touch them, they radiate pain.
And, I get up. Every day, several times a day, I get back up. Sometimes I bounce out of bed, joyous at the sight of the coffee machine pre-heated and ready to serve me. Sometimes before the alarm goes off, I am playing on social media, grateful beyond containment in that way that makes you just HAVE TO TELL THE WHOLE INTERNET how lucky you are. (just me? oh.)
Sometimes though, I get up as if I am wading through the sticky, slimy mud of an overgrown lake bed. I rub my hand up and down my face, blinking away nightmares. Sometimes it takes me an hour to fight my way out of the blankets, haunted by dreams that none of this has really happened. But no matter what, I get up. I must get up.
I get up because I am ready to be done with THIS and I want to move to the next minute and see what THAT feels like. I want my kids to see me strong, smiling, happy. I get up sometimes knowing that I only have to stand on my own for a moment and then I will feel the utterly magnificent sensation of being propped up by my incredibly fierce, loving, loyal and brick-wall strong group of friends. I get up sometimes so that I can be a propper instead of a propee. Because I can do that now; I have that in me.
I always did. I always will.
How? A few things work for me.
- Gratitude list, especially about things that suck. So contrived, but I’m not kidding; even if I don’t actually feel thankful, when I post (publicly) a grateful spin on something that is hurting me, the power goes out of the pain. I am literally tricking my mind and it works. I don’t care why.
- This prayer: I love you, I’m sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank you. – I know, right? I’m an atheist. Whatever. This prayer is about my soul, my own memories and the things that I myself am doing to hold myself back. I love you, I tell myself and my memories. I’m sorry, I exclaim. Forgive me, I ask myself. Thank you, I tell myself because I’m already forgiven. I am a good soul and I love myself. Sometimes, I need a reminder.
- Actual prayer. I KNOW RIGHT. No joke, I’ve done it. “help” non specific, out to the universe. Saying it lets me see where the help is. Spoiler alert: it’s everywhere.
- Selfies. Yeah. I’m a narcissist, full of insecure ego. Whatever. I post them to remind me where I am, have been, want to go. I post them to let my friends know how I am, that I got up AGAIN HELL YES, and how #divorcerecovery is going.
- And since I’m taking selfies: fashion. Not normal fashion, you guys. Just the kind of fashion that says “I’m out of my pajamas now and I am good to go to leave the house. BOOM” Also makeup. And hair products. And scarves. I’ve been known to decide to go in to the office just so that I could wear an awesome scarf out in public.
- Work. It’s not much, but it’s there. I rented an office and I go there every weekday. I rented the office space instead of working from home because I wanted to be accountable and responsible and for it to be necessary for me to leave my house.
- Vulnerability. I cry all over the internet. I tell people that I need help. I say that I’m hungry, that I need child care, that I am hurting because I just read 18 handwritten letters from my husband. I don’t hide my pain and I don’t hide from it. In that action, I make connections. In connections, I find pillars of support. Fountains of experience and strength that I am humbled to witness.
There’s more. I also eat junk food and play with my kids and make plans that scare me. A hundred ways to love yourself. A hundred tiny reasons to find out what the day will bring.
If you’re out there, if the holidays is your “hard time of the year”, if you’re stuck in bed or a TV coma or even under the bed- contact me, reach out, call someone. Write a note. Know this: five minutes from now you will not be the person that is reading this post. You can do anything you want, five minutes from now. You have worth. You’re valuable. People love you. YOU love you. It’s in there.
Merry Holidays Happy Christmas or Yule or Solstice and all that other stuff. I love you, internet. Thanks for being there.