For those of you who are new here, welcome to my Monday Musing, my weekly offering of insight and laughs on topics of relationship and emotional health, to fill your world with less heavy and more happy.
Turns out last Monday was not A-Musing.
In waiting room A folks were suffering from misinformation and confusion. In waiting room B there were emotional meltdowns going on. In waiting room C bureaucracy was tripping over itself and not just falling into rabbit holes but creating new ones. We won’t even talk about waiting room D, for your own safety. Shit was a fan-hitting, and I was on clean up duty. I was understaffed and underpaid.
But I like rallied. I mean I handled. NO ONE DIED OR WENT TO JAIL, by the grace of Grace herself. And I am here, this week, a-musing all over again, as if nothing happened #holymiracles. And through it all I did not let myself do this awful terrible thing that we are prone to do, taught to do, probably have had done to us a lot, but have no business doing and I am sharing my wisdom beloveds. Because in the midst of all of that waiting room management, a knock came on the door from the kick you while you’re down police, and I was tempted to answer that door, but I overcame my temptation.
I would never tell you what to do but I’m going to tell you what not to do.
DO NOT DO this thing where you handle twenty emergencies like a boss, even if you don’t feel dope doing it (you and I both know that as soon as the hip language has filtered into our vocabularies that it is already way uncool with the coolios who like made it up, and they are groaning audibly and creating mocking memes about us as we speak for using lingo that is oh so last Monday, or possibly last century, so let’s just embrace it or even be ironic about it LIKE I’m down if you are. Word. Mood. On fleek. Also if you know what a fleek actually is please drop me a DM) but alas I digress. I implore you, when life hits you like an ER emergency room on a full moon or if your life is just always like that or if you are an actual ER doc, please don’t, just don’t, do that thing where after all the stitching and life saving and drama handling and giving and supporting you look at the illustrious things you did not do with your time, like getting the dog to the groomer, or becoming a fitness model, or rebuilding the engine of your 57’Chevy, or tidying up for the housekeeper, and tell yourself with a heavy sigh “You dropped the ball again, pal”. ‘Cause that’s not nice. No. Nope. It ain’t. It’s not Coolio, bro. That just makes you the dad or mom who can’t be happy with the 98 percent. But also the kid who never deserves a pat on the back.
Dealing with painful things is NOT convenient. No one gets out their day timer or genie bottle and plans for super emotionally draining time consuming bandwidth eating THINGS to go down. Hmmm I think on Wednesday at 1pm I should book in 3 hours for freaking out, crying or talking a family member off the ledge, for unexpected work conflict or a super challenging crossroads appearing randomly that must be navigated STAT. No one says I am so damn excited to resolve my childhood abandonment or stop sabotaging my relationships. Yay, I was born with a debilitating disease, or the wrong gender, or I acquired a mental health issue in my young travels, let’s dig in! Because there are better things to do. Like movies, hello. Netflix series. SOMEONE has to test out all of the new ways caramel and salt can be paired, with wine #Tuesdaynight. There are spas, and fancy cars to drive and televised sporting games. Those men and women sweat hard for us, the least we can do is down some brewskies and nachos and yell at the big screened pub TV in solidarity. Life should NOT be all serious. The job of The World (not our genie or our loving overseer) but The WORLD is to surprise us, with like, disarming circumstances. And you know what, it happens a lot. It happens in small ways and big ways. And what do we do? Well we do our bloody best. We feel our feelings or stuff our feelings, depending on whether I have a say in it. We take some action. We pray to PRINCE or the spirit of Beyoncé or Jesus for a sign. But the thing about all of those things we can’t control, is that we can’t control them. I know. I go deep. And dealing with them takes up space. Often times the kind of space we had in mind for other game changing adventures and accomplishments. *Camera pans to kids rushing down a waterslide, smiling boomers swinging a golf club. Think pharma advertising.
It’s OKAY if you just needed the time and space to heal something, or grieve something, or work through your shock and dismay when God called and said they were discontinuing Teddy Bear Hamsters and raising the price of beer. We can’t really plan for disaster without simply living in imagined disaster, which is a disastrous way to live, in shocking news. Not the answer.
It is okay if shit interferes with your glory. That is shit’s job. It hits the fan with the alarming accuracy of a sniper. I mean it’s NOT okay, that it happens, but IT IS okay that you feel disarmed by it, knocked down by it, actually affected by it. It’s okay if it takes what it takes to deal with it. It doesn’t mean you have to give your Superhero cape back. It doesn’t make you any less. And the remedy is kindness not giving yourself more shit.
Which brings me to this whole business of Dear Someone, give me the courage to change the shit I can, accept the permanently shitty and the wisdom to not screw up points one and two. Accepting the things I cannot change and changing the things I can, oh super! That should solve all of my problems. Thank goodness this advice is readily available, like in thousands of memes and handed down by firelight during the meetings of my elders. Well, friend, accepting, changing and differentiating with wisdom is a TALL ORDER. Many of us have lived and died on that cross. What does it mean to accept something? Well the dictionaries tell us it’s about receptivity. We accept an offer. We consent or receive as adequate. We agree. So I am going to chime in here and say that bad pain causing stuff is not okay. And acceptance that says “it’s OKAY that shit went down that effed you up” is kind of, well, messed up. Your hurt is never and was never okay. Not Coolio, to stick with my lingo. I would never, ever, ever (and some more evers Lizzo) ask you to be okay with abuse, or fuckery or being someone’s side chick/dude. It’s not OKAY, in any way that you got hurt. And that life went to hell in a hand basket, or a flaming chariot. That she cheated with your bestie. That your beloved died. That you were gifted the metabolism of a sloth, and anything more than one banana a week makes you expand like a loaf in a Tuscan bread oven.
Sometimes we get confused by notions that the BAD stuff is supposed to teach us things or make us stronger, or serve as a test we must pass. Which is actually nonsensical. Love does not teach pain.
But forgiveness? Well that takes us where acceptance can’t. When we forgive our circumstances, or our hurt we say “I don’t want to stay invested in this person or situation that is causing me pain. I don’t want to hold onto the IDEA of loss, or hurt, or that this has power over me”. We release our emotional debt/debtor relationship. We forgive someone or something precisely because IT IS NOT OKAY. And by releasing our debt, our judgment, our right to be pissed, we allow it to heal and gain back our power and our joy and our sanity. We relinquish our adversarial relationship with our perpetrator, or fat cells.
So if you suck at accepting terrible awful nasty things? Well don’t. Don’t say yes to them. But you also don’t have to fight them or enemize them (solidly made that word up), which just tends to grow the hurt and make a nice feedback loop. When we forgive them we let things solve themselves, you know, either with the help of some higher holiness or simply by divesting our constant reliving of the IDEA of unfairness. Because you know what, I am going tell you for once and for all (but not for the last time) that you don’t deserve the shitty badness. It isn’t fair. It’s not the plan. And it’s not the end game. It’s NOT OKAY and it’s never going to be acceptable. But the FIGHT? Well the fight just makes it go ON and ON. It’s like marrying a narcissist. No offense if you’re one. JK because if you are you don’t know it and won’t be offended anyhow you’ll be like “You’re a narcissist, what am I, nanny nanny.” Don’t sign up for an UNENDING BAD DIVORCE with your problem. Forgive it, or him, or her (Jennifer). Let them get better on their own terms. Forgive the IDEA that you were ripped off of your rightful needs, or resources, or path, or kindness, or sanity. You’re not less than your plight. You’re not deserving of your ills. And you won’t see it any differently or experience it any differently until you let go of the pillow you are fighting over.
I forgive the IDEA that you or it fucked me up and I will never recover or have joy or feel GOOD or equal or safe. I forgive the IDEA that I will never feel whole in my own skin, or beautiful in it, or safe here.
Choose love instead.
In my twenty odd years of this, THAT works better than some cockamamie notion that hurt is okay and we just need to accept it. Toss that hot potato to Prince, or Beyoncé, or Sweet Baby Jesus (who was less of a musician but actually turned water to wine so RESPECT).
You don’t deserve it man. And that is why you don’t want to stay in the ring with it.
And that is why you don’t want to beat yourself up for not just bouncing it off like Wonder Woman with her fabulous bullet deflecting wrist bands.
We have to undo the fuckery to get to the joy.
And that, I break it to you gently, takes up precious time, and precious energy, and precious money, and precious life. But at the end, you’re just left with all that is precious and the ability to create more, sort of like the gold brick or egg. You know, you’re the alchemist.
SO I present you with gold stars for the following:
- Feeling some feelings. Or all of the feelings. Or very complex multi-layered feelings that conflict with one another
- Being confused
- Deciding not to decide
- Managing chaos
- Waiting for more information
- Spending time with someone you love
- Offering support
- Receiving support
- Being vulnerable
- Asking for help
- Going on a date
- Talking to a friend
- Taking a break
- Working through your hurt
- Choosing love
- Learning something
Don’t punish yourself for needing. Not on my watch. For having limits. And feelings, and for all of that taking up space. For the days when it’s just not funny anymore. For not being able to exist in a vacuum. It’s gross in there, with all of the dog hair and dust mites and crumbs, and that sock I’ve been missing for solidly three weeks.
— Love Erin