Sometimes it seems like it’s just one thing after another. I started off September with a bang. I mean, laundry every day, people. I was knocking things off my to-do list (including self-care!), nailing school lunches and getting out a bit more. And then last week I literally got knocked off track in a car accident which also set my emotions in a spin, and this week, life threw another curve ball.
My first impulse, and please pay attention because this is super important…my first impulse is to throw a pity party. To the party, I invite any and every instance in the past when something has derailed me. I remember all the times I’ve felt totally out of control or have had to ask for help. And I get angry that I ever felt so helpless.
And when people, like real life people, want to hang out, I cringe. No, people. I’m cocooning. I’m hibernating. I’m wallowing. I’m too annoyed to see you. So then I cocoon and hibernate and wallow and be annoyed…which further propagates the anxiety and frustration.
But not this time. I can’t. I can’t do those things anymore. Yes, I had a Friday evening last week where I grumbled about a dark cloud hanging over me, and the rest of the weekend I alternated between tears and laughter. But things are smoothing out fairly quickly because I have no choice.
Why don’t I have a choice? Because it’s not who I am. I’m not really a glass half-empty kind of person. I’m not really a hermit. I’m not really someone who thinks life is crappy. Crappy things happen, but in general I’m being shown blessings all the time. I look for them, these blessings, and I find them in every little thing. I even say hello to the spider near my side door gate when I see her in the morning and thank her for keeping the other bugs out of my way. Like, out loud.
My friend Jamie, from Styling the Inside, texted me the other day asking if we could hang out – coffee, tea, painting – and my response was, I’d love to but I’m cocooning.
And I really would LOVE to. I crave connection with girlfriends and I really do have some awesome ladies in my life. They inspire me, they support me, and they genuinely care. I’m in touch with women daily usually online or by quick text messages, and short blips during the day at school. But meeting in person at a time that is meant for true connection is so completely different.
Last week I met with Claire deBoer from The Gift of Writing; it was our first time seeing each other in person after following each other online for a couple of years. One of the things we talked about was this face-to-face connection and how important it is. In fact, I shared with her a dream of mine of building an offline community of artists.
So, really, feeling a bit low for a couple days is fine and allowed…but to cut myself off from that which I crave just to prove to myself that yes, life does crappy things seems very counter-productive. Almost self-sabotagey. I’m glad I’m at a point where I can identify this about myself. I think it will only serve me to understand this about me.
And today Jamie wrote a post all about the importance of face-to-face community with some tips on how you can get out there and find yours. It was really her post that prompted me to text her again saying, let’s meet up! And it reminded me of the joy I get from sharing space and time with people who are journeying along on this unpredictable but beautiful life.
All of this is to say, if your first response is to throw a pity-party, make it a short one and don’t invite all the old baggage as guests. Then remember that human beings are social animals – no matter where we fall on the introvert/extravert continuum – so take steps to feed that innate desire to connect offline.
And stay on top of your laundry. It helps with the overwhelm.