A few days ago a young Facebook friend of mine posted a link to this article: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person.
It was a difficult read for me, partially because of the language, I, personally, am no longer comfortable with the use of the F word as part of my regular vocabulary. When I was in my teens and twenties, I spouted it often, loudly, and proudly. These days, something about it jars my psyche. That’s just me and I work very hard to not judge or be overly distracted by how others use it, unless it’s within hearing of my four year old daughter. That being said, I don’t usually willingly choose to subject myself to movies, television, comedians, and entertainers who liberally use that and other curse words as part of natural dialogue. I guess I’ve gotten prudish in my old age. However, since I respect this young woman’s insight and intellect (I’ve known her since she was a young child) I decided to push through. If it was something she considered worthy of sharing, then the least I could do was make the effort to move beyond the unpleasant surface and delve deeper to understand what she found compelling about it.
The second reason I had difficulty reading it was because of its harsh and belittling tone. I could almost hear the brassy tones of Jillian Michaels’ no-nonsense, brusque, exasperated, and brash voice shouting the words I was reading. Don’t get me wrong, I actually have a lot of respect for her and what she does, after being an avid watcher of Biggest Loser off and on for years. However, perhaps it’s a sign of PTSD, when anyone’s voice is yelling around or at me, spouting of judgmental statements in ways that seem to dismiss and diminish the reality of another’s thoughts or feelings, I just flinch and shrink. A part of me starts shutting down inside. I sensed that trying to happen and a strong disinclination to read past the first paragraph or two of the article.
The actual message itself made me want to run and hide: The only thing that matters in this world and in this life is what you do and what other people get from you.
Ewww. Ouch. Seriously? That seemed quite the opposite of nearly everything I’ve been processing and working through. I felt myself figuratively curling up in the fetal position because of all the things I can’t or don’t do or the things that don’t get done well. Earning an income. Parenting. Keeping my home clean and sanitary. Cooking. You get the idea.
I kept on and finished reading it with mixed emotions and set it to simmer in the recesses of my mind.
On Sunday I attended a church service where the message was essentially: You’re a Christian? So, what are you DOING with that to benefit your fellow church members and the community. Whoa.
Again, this is a message I have heard numerous times and in various ways. My go to process is to list the obstacles to me DOING whatever it is I believe others expect me to be doing. That leads to me playing the inner recordings of, “blah, blah, blah, cry me a river, quitcherwhining, you useless sack of flesh,” statements that the internal, infernal liar tells me EVERYONE around me is thinking. This time, as I listened to the message and thought of the message and words in the article, I considered that, perhaps, God, the universe, whatever, was actually trying to get something through the dense matter in my skull.
I thought about this blog and the transitions it has taken from being my personal dumping ground of angst and drama and is now a place where I am helping others in different ways: Author Interviews, Bloggers for Peace, and Monthly Manic Mondays with Marisa, to name a few. My improving and developing relationships with some loved ones and friends also came to mind.
I took the message to heart and thought of ways to do more with my writing in the context of the church during the Annual Meeting after the service. Then because Luna, in her boisterous, social, and independent willed way, would not be stifled, I left the meeting, overwhelmed with frustration, anxiety, anger, and self-defeating thoughts of how bad a parent I was, that people were judging me, I was just taking up space and not contributing anything. Never mind the fruit salad I had shopped for the night before, prepared that morning and brought for the potluck. Never mind the fact that I was not just trying to occupy and monitor Luna, but also her other little friends who were in the meeting because a place for young children had not been provided.
Monday morning I sat in cat crap and completely lost my cool. The poor cat was almost toast, I was so overwrought. Luna looked me straight in the eye and said, “You hate that f*****g cat?” Obviously, I’m not completely opposed to using the word. *sigh* LaLa made an appearance while I was still winding down and reframing my thoughts and emotions. I snapped and snarled at her since I hadn’t completely transitioned. She accidentally stepped fully onto the arch of my foot, sending pain radiating throughout my body for hours. It just wasn’t a good mommy day for me. I tried to cancel our home visit with the Head Start lady, but she didn’t get the text. It was a good thing. I talked to another adult for a bit, but Luna being the focus and getting her attention and play needs met was the highlight. I got out of my head and engaged in play with them.
After that, I committed to the Blog for Mental Health 2013 project. Then I read It Is What It Is on Black Box Warnings and realized, I may be doing it imperfectly and inconsistently, but I’m living in acceptance of things as they are and doing what I am able, as I am able to be of value to myself and others in healthy and constructive ways. I am who I am, I am doing what I do, my life is what it is, and it’s all okay, even when it isn’t.