Last week here in Texas, we had a monster winter storm that knocked out power and water for millions and put the hurt on all of us. And after the sun came out and just when I thought I had a chance to start getting things caught up, I had something kicked out from under me. Luckily, my friends and family have come through but there have been a lot of setbacks, too. Funds are tied up, plans fall through, and obstacles keep coming up constantly to maneuver around.
In the past, my first instinct was to run and hide, to just sit and endure my pain and fear by myself and let it damn near drown me. Most of all, I wouldn’t even think of putting my thoughts and feelings into words and sharing them. Why?
1) I used to think if I kept writing through a personal crisis that would jinx me. I used to think if I wrote the Universe would kick the shit out of me even more. I linked shit happening to my writing. It’s taken me a long time to see and realize that’s not how it works. And if anyone tries to make think otherwise, it won’t go well for them.
2) My father once said to me he couldn’t believe God would sit on his throne in heaven and hurl shit at humans just because he could or for any other reason. He didn’t think the Almighty Himself worked that way. But then my father also used to say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle, too. I will admit in the last year I’ve had moments where I’ve been alone in the car raging at God so badly I’m surprised my words didn’t singe my car’s ceiling. But lightning bolts didn’t shoot down from above and slam me in the ass or anything else. Instead, things just kept on going like they’re doing now.
All my life I’ve been told to have faith, faith in the good in this world and that things do get better. I’d like to add another one to that: have faith in yourself. Over the last four years I’ve been telling myself and others that you’re so much stronger than you’ll ever realize.
But my faith in myself has always been shaky at best. I’ve always questioned my decisions and tried to figure out if they were the right ones. I’ve always tried to think things through when I can and hope for the best. That’s hard to do when there are still echoes from the past where I had my decisions relentlessly questioned and judged for what I know see was for no damn good reason. I know with all my heart and soul that no one has all the answers and that’s okay.
Another thing I’m beginning to realize is that life isn’t, and shouldn’t be ‘go go go’ all the time. Because in reality, it’s more like ‘hurry up and wait’. I think it’s more like not every single damn decision needs to be treated as immediate life-or-death. Living at that high rate of demand will wear you down hard and it’s not necessary. I mean, you’re going to get things kicked out from under no matter what and unless there is a real immediate need to make a decision, don’t treat every decision like that. And if someone doesn’t agree with that, to hell with them.
Here are the lessons I’d like to share here from this personal storm I’ve been through so far:
1) Breathe: still the best damn piece of advice I’ve ever gotten.
2) Don’t make every single decision in your life feel like a huge life-or-death do-it-now type of thing. Very few decisions are of that magnitude.
3) Once you make a decision, all you can do is go forward and deal with the results no matter what they are. Questioning something once is done is complete and utter fucking bullshit.
4) Take care of yourself. Be sure to eat, try to rest at least if you can’t fall asleep, and be sure to do something that puts a smile on your face.
5) Don’t be hard on yourself. There’s no need to hard-ass yourself every moment of every day. Been there, done that, and have the scars and memories to deal with for the rest of my life.
6) No one has all the answers and if someone thinks they do, walk away from them. You don’t need that kind of shit in your life.
Find a way to break the silence of your thoughts and feelings. You don’t have to share things like I do publicly but be sure to do so in your mind. I used to think I had no right to my thoughts and feelings at all but over the last four and a half years, I’ve been telling myself I do. This is what is keeping from running and hiding when I don’t need to.