I Give Up!
Despite the bully barrage of positive memes that tell me not to.
Despite the smile covered “shoulds” people offer without invitation. You can place a sound and safe bet, that anything following, “You should just” is probably bullshit advice. It’s very likely that it’s coming from someone completely Unaware of the path you walk. Those who have been in your shoes will share their story with helpful hopes. Those with True Empathy will listen, and sit in uncomfortable silence with you. Knowing that, sometimes, there’s nothing they can do, but share in that shitty place with you for a little while; so you know You’re Not Alone.
When we see someone fall to their knees, I think it’s human nature to reach out and help pull them back to their feet, but what if they’re Not Ready to stand?
Here’s the thing about bad days, it’s okay to have them. It’s okay to give up, or rather, give in to the exhaustion of motherhood, (or whatever overwhelms you) and take space to honor the emotions of despair. Some of my biggest breakthroughs have come when I stopped fighting to stay a float, and just let myself slip beneath the water, eyes open, and embrace the Beauty of a Breakdown. Often times, if we surrender, they actually break us Open! Like a jewel refining through the fire, so much amazing magic can come from experiences that feel as though they may destroy us.
Social media’s endless philosophers, and all their genius inspirational quotes and memes will tell you to Choose Happy. To summon the willpower to fend against all sad emotions. That’s great, but it’s not always that simple; at least for me anyway. While it’s absolutely true that your thoughts shape your life, and your emotions influence your thoughts, for some people there’s some Chemistry going on as well. I’m a major advocate of thought training, and I work hard every day towards a healthier me. I also understand, though, that to simply tell someone to choose happiness, and let all the other shit go, is a lot like handing a diabetic a doughnut, and then telling them to control their sugar with their thoughts.
I often feel like I have a Faulty Joy Bone. I consider myself to be chronically underwhelmed. Ironically, I’m actually very optimistic. Just not very excitable. I’m also, much better now at keeping my thinking positive; it used to be in the drain almost every minute of the day. Even with all my efforts, though, there are times when my serotonin bottoms out, and with it my mood. I’ve wished on many a star for a little extra “Whelm”. Nothing over the top, or anything, just a little boost. However, I’m a work in progress on learning to accept that my brain is just not programmed with bubbly giggles, and rainbow sunsets. It’s been that way long enough for me to know that depression is Not Always Circumstantial. For some, there is a very real chemical component that can even be seen on brain scans.
Now, let me make this clear, I am Not giving anyone a never ending pass to sulk in a swampy place. When you’re feeling crappy, it’s easy buy into your own pity party, but Please Don’t Throw One. I promise you, I won’t come. Whether you have a chemical imbalance, or are just going through a rough patch, it does not mean you roll over and play Victim! It means, you guide yourself with Grace. If a bad day sweeps you off your feet, it’s okay to hug the tiles for a little while. Eventually, though, you do have to pick yourself up. You do have to challenge your thinking, and you do have to work through your emotions. What you don’t need to do, though, is beat yourself up.
Emotions Are Messages, nothing more. They let you know where you stand in reference to any given situation, and, like the owls charged with delivering Harry Potter’s infamous Hogwarts invitation, they will keep coming until you acknowledge and process them. They are meant to cycle through us, not take residence. There is no way to Block, or Control them. You may manage to redirect and stuff them into your gut, or elsewhere, but if shitting blood and having to go gluten-free have taught me anything, it’s that our feelings Won’t Go Quietly Into That Dark Night.
When you find yourself in a dark and heavy place, joy becomes foreign, and seemingly unattainable. There are more than 15 emotions on the ladder between Despair & Joy. It’s almost impossible to make the full leap; without intense inspiration or chemical intervention.
“Don’t worry, be happy”, can be a Daunting task. Especially without tools to make the transition. Many meme’s feel very well intended, but there is an undertone of chemical shaming; whispering quietly to anyone who’s brain, simply, Does Not Work Like That. If you’re like me, you may not be able to readily reach the jar of joy sitting on the top shelf, but you can Commit To Climbing.
Yes, Be Happy, but…
If you can’t be happy Be Positive
If you can’t be positive Be Grateful
If you can’t be grateful Be Hopeful
If you can’t be hopeful Be Content
If you can’t be content Be Disappointed
If you can’t be disappointed Be Worried
If you can’t be worried Be Angry
If you can’t be angry, then you’re probably sad.
So, Be Sad. Feel your sorrow. Cry. Honor your tears. Take the time that you need to work through and release. Then turn around and start climbing.
And, for all my mamas holding it all together with a thread, laughter is like an elevator. It may not keep you at the top, but enjoying the view for a minute can be just the thing you need to Keep Going. Most of the time I’m here for the funny, but I see you mama. Have yourself good cry, poke around Messiful Mama for a good laugh or two, then fix your crown and get back to The Bad-Ass You Are!