While this year has had some low points – and there have been a few…
[Did I mention the time I got so drunk on tequila that I blacked out and my memory phases back in right about the time I start scream crying on someone else’s bedroom floor? When I was so sick and hungover the next day that I couldn’t get out of bed until midday? When I had bruises on my arm for weeks in the shape of fingerprints, because my friend had tried to pull me up off the bedroom floor in order to console me, and quieten me down in case the neighbours called the police due to the scream crying? I didn’t mention that before? No? Well, I had a good reason for that one; it wasn’t just over some boy.]
While there have been some low points, the overwhelming, stand out feature this year has been gratitude. My ability to bounce back after hitting the floor is quite remarkable. I have had so much practice that I am absolutely the Queen of Comeback.
And this is what is important.
I had someone say to me recently that they had to ‘stay strong’ that they couldn’t let themselves cry or break down because it would be weakness.
Breaking down is not weakness. Scream crying on the bedroom floor at 1am after too much tequila is not weakness. Going through an entire box of tissues and a whole pint of ice cream in one sitting is not weakness. Sitting in the shower so that no one can hear you cry is not weakness.
It is human.
You are human.
You are absolutely, uncategorically allowed to FEEL things. You should feel things. You’re ‘not ok hun’ if you do not feel things.
We all numb out. (Tequila? Ice cream? Shopping? Sex? Anyone else wanna add to the list?) We all use substances and distractions to pretend we aren’t hurting. And sometimes that’s ok. So long as you also do the hurting.
You cry in a heap on the floor if you want to. It’s healthy. It is not weakness.
You can stay there for a few days if you have to. (Make sure you stay hydrated though, eh!)
The strongest people I know, cry. They cry streams and rivers and estuaries. They see their human emotion, they meet it, they look it in the face and they crumble.
And then they stand up.
You can fall as many times as necessary. You can spend hours hiding under the covers and sobbing.
And then you stand up.
Fall down 7 times. Stand up 8.
It is not how many times you fall down that counts, it is how many times you stand up. Always one more time. And if each time you fall, you rise quicker than before, you know you are stronger than you were yesterday.
Because it is your bounce back rate that indicates your strength.
Not holding back the tears and pretending you don’t feel things. Not keeping your emotions to yourself and pretending that you don’t hurt.
We all hurt. Everybody hurts. (You just sung that didn’t you!)
It is a fact of human existence. It is indeed why we are here at all. If we did not hurt we would not learn.
And this is where the gratitude comes in.
I have practiced this stuff for several years now. I’ve clawed my way back from the very edge of my existence using gratitude (and other things). And I practice this so frequently that my brain is actually programmed for this now.
While on the bedroom floor recently [that full moon time, not the tequila black out time], howling, with a bottle of spirits in my hand [yeah ok there was some tequila this time too, stop judging me] knee deep in tissues and drenched in my own tears [I paint such a beautifully dramatic picture] I could actually hear myself being GRATEFUL for the experience.
Literally floored by some guy, drunk on a school night, by myself, never before seen levels of self pity… and I was GRATEFUL.
Who. Even. Am I.
I was grateful because I knew this was a lesson. I was grateful because even in that moment I knew that I’d learnt something. I was FEELING! I mean, sure, the feeling wasn’t all that pleasurable, and sure I probably don’t want a repeat performance [as spectacularly dramatic as I was, probably BAFTA worthy]. But I was FEELING… I thought I had forgotten how to make that kind of connection with a new human being. I wondered if I’d ever be able to feel that way about anyone ever again. And there I was, covered in snot, literally holding on to the floor in case I fell off [you know what I mean] and I was utterly, tragically, heartbroken. Actual ouch. Like…
What. Is. This. Life!
How miraculous! I mean, rationally it was entirely bonkers, but energetically it made so much sense. [Yeah I know, I’ve probably lost you now… let’s rewind…]
I was feeling all the feelings. And in the midst of my dark few hours, I could see the light. In real time. Not in hindsight. Not after I had slept on it. In real time.
I knew that wasn’t the end. Even though I was pretty low – I mean, drinking alone on a school night for the first time ever? Not really even almost a high point is it. But I was taking something shiny right there out of the moment of darkness.
So while, yes, this year has had its share of heartbreaking moments, it’s also had its share of remarkable moments.
I am exceptionally grateful for everything I have. All of the people in my life that lift me up again and again. That call me to check in. That take me out to dinner to stage an intervention when they think I am working too much. That remind me that just because it didn’t work out this time, doesn’t mean it wont work out next time. That explain all the reasons why they love me and why I am worthy of being loved. And I don’t even have to ask them! They just show up for me. I tell them when I am not ok, and they show up. [Sometimes I don’t actually tell them, they just notice.]
And that is all anyone ever really needs – a group of outrageously wonderful, loving, incredibly talented friends, who will do anything and everything you need them to do.
I love you. Thank you. Always xxxx
And if you ever find yourself short of friends that match my description above, well, you’ve got my contact details babe, hit me up. I’ll do my best to show up for you.