Looking over my life, I recall so many days wondering whether it was really worth it and if anyone really cared who I was or what I was doing. Even today as I am focused on helping others make a positive change in their lives, I often think about why so many of us are attracted to foods that hurt our bodies and brain, or why we are mesmerized by shows focused on death and destruction. I mean, how many ways can you kill someone, and WHY is it so addictive to watch people die on TV?
My children are grown and immersed in their separate lives. I try to stay busy, but every once in awhile (more often than I care to admit) I feel I put on a strong exterior while feeling hollow and lonely on the inside.
Perhaps you can relate. We all have challenges. Maybe you’re barely holding it together financially — many people are; death by a thousand expenses. Maybe it’s a threadbare social network that’s left your nerves feeling stripped and exposed. Maybe it’s a marriage or relationship, maybe it’s parenting, maybe it’s the desire to parent and the inability to, maybe it’s systemic racism that keeps you working twice as hard for half as much, and maybe it’s some combination of these and more.
I GET IT!
In spite of whatever it is, that keeps picking, picking, picking the little pieces of the part of you that the outside world knows, you still manage to make it to school or work, or to pick up the kids, or to go to the store, or even to walk the dog. And for that, I want to say: congratulations.
I SAW YOU…I NOTICED
I saw you this morning in traffic as you let your head roll back and bump softly into the headrest, eyes looking up at the sunroof, shoulders slumped.
I saw you walking briskly around the track at the YMCA, arms swinging high and strong as if the tension there would keep the tears in a little longer.
I saw you confidently shake my hand, with a hand that had no fingernails left from your nervous picking habit.
I saw the tears well up in your eyes as you spoke to me about the disconnect between your children or husband.
I saw your inner arm as you handed me my change at the checkout.
Congratulations. You did what you had to do. And good job tomorrow, when you do it again. If no one has told you that recently, I want to tell you that. Congratulations…I noticed you.
I FEEL YOUR PAIN
When you’re sitting across from someone who you actually really like (or love), but all you can think is you don’t know me at all.
When your constant mantras are ‘What was I thinking’, “That didn’t come out the way I intended”, or ‘Why did I do that’, but then, ‘It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it will be ok’.
When you’re in a meeting and smiling politely, but what you really want to do is speak your truth and storm out.
When you DO finally speak your truth and storm out and it feels so damn good, but then you get home and cry because there’s an unexpected bill in the mailbox.
When you WANT to cry but have dinner to make, or children to pick up or work to finish, so you stuff it down deep and put on a smile instead.
When someone dies. When someone leaves. When something breaks. When multiple terrible things happen on the same day.
When you try to seek help in our complex and expensive patchwork of systems, only to be turned down and turned away and consequently turned off the entire horrible process.
When you DO reach out to a close friend, a spouse or significant other and somehow the conversation gets turned around to be about them rather than to lift you.
Congratulations. I feel your pain.
And if one day you don’t manage to hold it together? If one poke is too many and the shell cracks, or outright shatters? Congratulations for making it as long as you did, and congratulations for not protecting anyone from your own internal tempest anymore. Congratulations for starting the process of putting it back together; maybe it will be stronger in the broken places. The Chinese have a process of filling the cracks with gold…perhaps your cracks will be mended with something rich and beautiful.
We have so many modern conveniences — iPhones, iPads, the super-computers in our pockets, the medicine that keeps us living longer, the apps that pick us up and drop us off and get our laundry handled and our meals delivered, the machines that make our smoothies — but we also have so many modern challenges, many with no simple solution.
So we just keep going; keep holding it together until conditions improve, or we seek out people and ways to release and redefine our lives.
The thing that few people will ever admit is that all of us are feeling for the switch in the dark every day and some days we find it, and some days we don’t. And some days we do but the bulb is burned out and even just the reaching and reaching again is an accomplishment.
If you are tapped out and need to refocus and reenergize, call me or someone like me. I am a Hypnotherapist. I also work with nutrition to balance the chemistry of the body and brain. Hypnosis helps to quiet the mind just enough to recalibrate your thoughts to make adjustments that are easier to manage. YOU MATTER.
So this is just to say if you are barely holding it together: Congratulations.