You know, it doesn’t really matter what is going on in your world. If it’s driving you crazy, stressing you out, making you cry, then it stinks. All of it.
I have a co-worker recently diagnosed with cancer. My best friend is trying valiantly to mend a broken heart. Another friend feels overwhelmed with single motherhood and all the ins and outs of that special dance.
Personally, I am shocked I don’t have ulcers devouring me from the inside out. Divorce. Financial concerns (i.e., living from paycheck to paycheck). My kids’ futures. My granddaughter’s future. My career path.
It all boils down to one, murky, disgusting miasma of stink.
When I watch one of the variations of “The Grinch,” I look at his unabashed descent into misery and self-loathing, and it’s hard not to identify with him. He is portrayed as such a negative guy. But come on…don’t we all have the Grinch inside of us?
I recently saw a meme that said “People who say ‘either go big or go home’ seriously underestimate my willingness to go home. Like, it’s literally my only goal.”
Right?? Yes! I would so much rather stay home, cocooned in my favorite pj’s of self pity and loneliness, and rejecting all attempts by anyone to get out and do something, much less open the shades and let the sun in.
So what does a girl-grinch do when she’s literally down in the dumps and feeling sorry for herself?
1. Stop saying you’re feeling sorry for yourself.
If it is disrupting your life in anyway, know this, it’s a Big Deal. If it keeps you from living your life to the fullest, it’s a Big Deal. If it keeps you in bed, crying for longer than an afternoon, it’s a Big Deal. Life is hard. It’s messy. It’s smelly. Nothing can erase that plain, simple fact. Acknowledge it. Embrace it. Make your struggles valid. So what if you’re not fighting cancer or a tragic death in your life or some other such “big” event. The end result is the same – depression, loneliness, sorrow, isolation, despair. Don’t shy away from it. That puts too much pressure on you to “try to snap out of it.” Look it straight in the eye and name it.
2. Don’t be afraid of what you see.
When you finally do work up the courage to look your Big Deal in the eye and name it, don’t back away. Dig deeper into the abyss. Try to name all its parts. Even the tiny little ones that hide in the back corners. Shine a light on each layer of your onion and give it a title. Take inventory. Make a list on a piece of paper, if need be. Just don’t let anything hide from your accounting of it.
3. Find an outlet.
Maybe it’s painting. Maybe it’s running. Maybe it’s crocheting, reading, kayaking, walking on the beach to pick up seashells and shark’s teeth. Whatever it is, do it. Just know that the Big Deal will come along for the ride. The hope is that one day, you will find there is no more room in the kayak or in your running shoes. It will no longer be a part of the story you read, and you can’t find it on the beach in a cluster of ocean detritus. You will have archived more and more parts of your Big Deal.
4. Share your story.
I started this blog to share my story. I don’t have answers. I don’t have the easy button to fix everything. My life is a shambles most every day of the week. Like I said, I fight stress on an almost hourly basis, just like everyone else. But just having the courage to be vulnerable enough to stand up and say, “Hey, I’m a stinky mess over here!” is the ultimate Big Deal. I have had many people reach out to me, just to say “Thank you. Now I don’t feel so alone and like a total loser.” There is comfort in numbers.
I said I don’t have the answers. I don’t. I just have experience. And lots of it. But I’m not the only one.
Neither are you.