Thursday, January 21, 2016

For the Days When I Feel Small

Some days it feels like the list of things that I know for sure is dwindling. But one thing, I know to still be true is this:
the language I use toward myself
I would never dare utter to a friend. 

And this was demonstrated to me last night, when a friend shared with me a way that she wants to show up and be courageous in the world and my immediate response was: "Go for it! Always. All the time." Because she's beautiful and wonderful and perfect and why shouldn't she go for her dreams?

But me? I'm different.
I'm a mess and I'm broken and I'm lost and I can't be trusted and...on and on and on.

The things I believe for the people I love the most are so much different than the things I believe for myself. I've felt this lately: dilly-dallying about my purpose, knowing a direction I want to move, but being terrified about how to get there, stalling for time, wasting time. It's as if everyone else has beautiful and unique talents to share with this world, but I'm different. I'm the exception to that rule.

And so, while it takes the last 1/8 of a tank of courage I have left within me this morning, it's time for the first "Dear Child" pep-talk of the year 2016--directed at me--as if I were a friend. Because I so desperately need to be my own friend right now:

Dear Child,

I see you.
I see you.
I see you waking in the morning and wishing you were somewhere else.
I see you puzzling over the 67 thoughts that cross your mind before 7:20am.
I see you navigating this world with a fundamental sense that there is no hope for you.

And it breaks my heart.
Because I'm not sure where you got this idea.
This notion that it's "too late" for you.
That you are so far behind all of your peers.
That everyone else has life figured out except for you.
That you're the only person on planet Earth living with their parents.
That you are the exception to the rule.
That you are undeserving of a meaningful and fulfilling life.

I'm not sure where you got this bullshit, but it's bullshit.
And I'm here to break it down for you: You will be stuck in this cycle of self-doubt and self-deprecation as long as you choose to be.

I know this sounds a little harsh from your Truth-speaking Mother of the Universe, but hang in there, okay? I'm not saying that you need to suck it up. I'm not saying that this is easy. I'm just letting you know that no one and no thing will pull you out of this thick, soggy mud pile. You HAVE to take small, daily steps to believe in hope again. Because I can't do that for you.

You have to decide every morning when you wake and every evening when you go to bed that while the prospects seem slim and you're lonely and you're lost, that you have not EARNED the right to be hopeless. The cards are NOT stacked against you. The Universe is NOT hostile to your efforts. You have far more blessings than curses and until those truths are reversed, you have EVERY reason to be hopeful.

You are not stranded on a concrete median between two lanes of dangerous, highway traffic.
You are standing in an empty cathedral with nothing but space, clarity, and room to breathe.
Trust me.

And so now, don't get on Facebook.
Don't get lost in an Internet vortex that will inevitably suck you dry.
Don't wander into another list of to-dos.
Take a deep breath.
Make some tea.
Read some fiction.
Do the things that have always vibrated with self-nourishing truth.

Take. Care. Of. Yourself.

And then, after your heart has slowed its frenetic pace, do the next best thing.
Maybe that's unloading the dishwasher.
Maybe that's spending 15 minutes (set a timer) looking at graduate schools.
But take this one moment at a time.

Because you need not have the answers to every question on this random Thursday morning in January. You wouldn't expect that of your dearest friends and it is downright unfair--cruel, even--to expect that of yourself.

Do the next best thing.
Repeat as necessary.
Read often.