If you took this very moment, would you tally up all the sh*tty things wrong in your life? Would you calculate all the distresses, the problems, the conflicts, the pains, the aches, the to-dos and the wishes?
I do that. I do that remarkably well. But lately, I’ve been trying to let go, ya know, embrace my Pollyanna and brighten everything up a bit.
The thing is, we’ll always have sh*t. Always. There will also be some bill, some argument, some tantrum, some kind of poop to clean up, some broken appliance, some asshole friend. That’s being a grown-up baby, I tell myself.
I’ve created a Comfort Box, among other healthy coping methods. This box (an Eiffel Tower little number), sits atop my dresser, and contains lovely little gifts to myself. I visit this box whenever I hit bottom, when all the regular life boogers come flying at me. When I like I’m failing, or lost, or empty or sad or just not-good-enough. It’s not the items themselves exactly, it’s the ritual of self-love, of self-care, of taking a moment to bring me back to self and to revel in a little much-deserved kindness and decadence. Beautiful earrings (yes, they were clearance but lovely nonetheless), cruelty-free pops-of-color nail polish, $6 dollar chocolate that could be easily swam in – all accompanied by a mini journal with notes that my strong self knew my weak self would need at the right time.
Or a hot bath with Epsom salt, Pandora and sleepy tea. Or a mini massage from these lovely gals who remark how ‘very tight’ my shoulders are every time. Or whatever comfort you can rely on; make it your new ritual. When things get crazy, go to something that will bring you back to a place of calm and love.
I say all this butterfly-crap because my go-tos were anything but healthy in the past. The shit-bar down the street for Jameson or endless glasses of box wine (yes, the only kind they poured). Or eating a pie and thinking I had the right to expunge it from my belly. Or hurting myself at the gym. Or other dark bits I’m not in the mood to share. My coping skills were pretty trashy and provided momentary ‘relief’, only to pretty much loathe myself/my actions shortly thereafter.
New mantra: Don’t numb. Heal.
Whatever you can do, to endure a particularly troublesome f*ck or cluster of them, with the intent of healing your mind, body & soul – not destroying or disrespecting them.
Call a close friend you can trust. (Side story: It’s beautiful to vent & be vulnerable, as it can lead to so much connection with others. However, choose someone who is WORTHY of your stories. Brené Brown (bless her beautiful heart) stresses this. That we own our stories and deserve the right to share only with those we can completely trust with them. Otherwise, sharing (with the wrong sorts of people) can not only be counter-productive but also downright destructive).
Get out of the house. Yes, that blasted fresh air medicine. Peruse in a bookstore. Treat yourself to a flaky 500 calorie croissant and $8 latte.
Make it your ritual to cope; something gorgeous, delicious, healing.
It’s getting on the other side of sh*t. The sh*t is over here, and I’m making that CHOICE to go meander over there. The place with really good wine, bath salts, ‘ears’, chocolate or journaling.
The sh*t will always be there, in some form or another. But it’s really, really, really important to remember that it’s not YOU, it doesn’t define YOU, it doesn’t control YOU. You are lovely & beautiful & amazing and more than good-enough. And it’ll pass, and you’ll be left a little strong, wiser, happier, calmer.