Midnight on New Year’s Eve came in with a bang. Donned with fresh red matte lipstick, I shared champagne toasts, bear hugs and well wishes with friends. But to be quite honest with you, the last couple of weeks have been kinda just ‘meh’. The bang of the excitement of a new year was followed by a whimper and then a drawn-out sigh.
I was sapped of energy and all I really wanted to do was sit on the couch, watch crappy reality TV and munch on Lay’s ketchup chips. And so. That’s what I did. But, I also kindly reminded myself of something. As incredibly satisfying as that cozy couch-lounging, TV-watching, chip-mowing behaviour felt in the moment, I knew it wasn’t going to help much in the long run. So as the blasé of the days passed, I tried to get back on track with my own make-myself-feel-good checklist.
Slowly, I gently began to return to my daily seated position as I took some quiet time for myself and closed my eyes to hush the continuous critic that was telling me that I had to get myself back into gear. See that’s the thing – I got lost in the dialogue that somehow I had to drag myself out of my funk. Here. Now. And I was hard on myself about it. Until I took those breaths and reminded myself that:
A funk, is a funk, is a funk. And a funk too shall pass. [Tweet that.]
And I let it move through me – in every way possible. I let the discourse drift into and out of my head. I gave myself the permission to have those thoughts but I vowed to be conscious about not feeding them, growing them, allowing them to expand and take over my energy. I have a dishwasher but instead of stacking it daily, I washed my dishes. And when I washed them, I washed them. I began to giggle at the voice that was incessantly yelling to ‘snap out of it already!’ – the one that was attempting to pull my attention away from that stuck, cooked-on piece of food that needed to be scraped and washed down the drain. Instead, I chose to just be, feeling the warm water on my skin. I chose to be aware of the dishwashing liquid bubbles glistening on the surface of the greasy mess I was cleaning up.
I reorganized the drawers in my home – the ones that I had to forcefully shove shut because they were far too full with stuff that I barely (never) use. I got rid of the things that I knew I’d never need. I turned on some music and cleaned the nooks and crannies of my living spaces, dancing and belting lyrics on the top of my lungs while I re-arranged some items and furniture – a physical symbol of the fact that sometimes you just need a fresh look at things.
Sometimes you need to clean out the energy in a space, create a new layout and let something else come to rest.
And then I took note of the things that lifted me most. And I consciously chose to keep doing those things. And y’know what topped the list? Raw conversations – the things you share that make you blush to admit because you’re holding yourself to some unrealistic standard. Because somehow you’ve convinced yourself that you’re the only one who’s experienced shame about something in your life.
Like the one I had with a group of amazing women where we shared thoughts about how much pressure we put on ourselves to have positively everything figured out in our lives. Like when I admitted aloud that I married a man in my mid-twenties despite my gut crying out that we just weren’t a good match shortly after we met. And how I found myself newly-divorced and single again at the age of 29, bawling my eyes out on my bedroom floor with a bottle of vino and my two cats. Or those separate conversations I had with heart-centred entrepreneurs – each of us insisting for the last couple of years that we had to follow our hearts and stubbornly pave our own way in the work world – only to admit to each other that (gasp) it’s time to get a job to help support ourselves.
In all these situations, I judged myself. “I can’t say that”, I thought. “What if I lose credibility? What if I get laughed at or blank stares? What if no one gets me? What if I’m the only one?”
And it hit me when a good friend looked me dead in the eye with sincerity and empathy and said, “I can’t believe you were afraid to tell me that.” I smiled meekly and whispered, “I wasn’t afraid to tell you. I was afraid to admit it to myself.”
Tell me something new.
Tell me something real.
Something I haven’t heard before and a million times over.
I don’t want to make small talk about the weather.
Don’t say, “I’m fine, thanks” robotically when I ask how you are when clearly you’re not.
I want to know about what’s tearing you down.
What’s weighing on your mind.
Then I want us to remind each other of what has broken us down in the past and how we picked ourselves up again.
I want to have real conversations about our successes and our failures.
Your experience – while it may be similar to mine – is unique.
We learn from each other when we strip off all pretences. When we rid ourselves of the need to fit in. Label ourselves. Categorize our desires and goals.
We realize that we’re really not that different after all.
Let’s challenge each other to move forward.
It might be uncomfortable but it’s so damn worth it.