I awoke this morning to a message from a friend, an Instagram friend, who lives in Scotland. She’s a beautiful soul and a lovely mother to a little boy and a baby girl. I adore her and her sister and her niece, whom I’ve gotten to know via social media. This morning, her message mentioned the ebb and flow of self-love. She asked, “Can I ask do you feel your mental health is great and then suddenly you have a week of not so great?”
Those words came just when I needed them and she has no idea of the freedom she gave me to speak my truth.
The answer is a resounding YES.
I cried last night to my husband. I didn’t mean to, the tears came without my permission and that is a big deal. I didn’t cry for years before I met him. Last night they came and after I said, “Sometimes I think I’m full of shit and I wish I could just fade into the background.”
His response, “What the fuck does that even mean?”
What does it mean?
I have no idea, but those are the words that came and the words that felt right at that moment, even though I still can’t define them. The tears followed and, not even knowing what the hell I meant, I was in no mood to discuss it, and went to bed.
I awoke at five o’clock this morning still begging the question: What did I mean by that? Why, after feeling so great have I been hit with a ton of bricks?
In the book we’re reading for the book club, Ann Voskamp says that our naysayers and our critics, even those who criticize our great and helpful ideas, are our Job people. The people who criticized Job for following God’s lead. They told him to turn his back on God and he refused. Well, I think my “Job people” live inside my own mind. My friend said she tries to listen to the positive side of her mind, but her negative side speaks loudly as well and I can certainly relate to that. I am constantly at battle with myself, and my negative side sometimes claims victory for a while.
Why do we never talk about mental health? Why is it like the dark secret we keep locked up tight?
I know that my current mood is being affected by the change in time which has caused darkness to fall much earlier and it’s because of the weather. It’s now colder, the skies are grey, and we’ve had a lot of rain. It’s been hard on my mental health. Instead of talking about it, I bottle it up and try to deal with it, or try to “get over it,” try to have a reality check (you have a great life! I scream inside my mind). I do have a great life, but I’m not sure the state of our existence actually has much bearing on our mental health. Some of the happiest people I know have dirty jobs that they don’t necessarily love. Some of the most unhappy people I’ve known have glamorous jobs.
Take Anthony Bourdain. He had the lifestyle I’d die for and he committed suicide and my heart goes out to him and his family. Also, Chris Cornell of Soundgarden…and my own friends who have committed suicide. Our lives and jobs do not determine our happiness.
As I type this, I think I’m realizing what I meant when I said that to my husband. I think I wish I could just shut up the TALK. The talk about how to feel better. The talk about how if we “just do x, y, z,” we’ll feel better. The talk about how life is based solely on our perspective.
I’m not saying that any of that is wrong. As a matter of fact, things like that do help me to shed the negative cloak I sometimes wear. What I’m saying is, maybe instead of just talking about that, I can also talk about the struggle. Maybe I can even talk about the struggle here on this blog, as I am now. I think what has held me back is a fear of that becoming the topic and the next thing you know, this blog turns into a bitchfest and the celebration of this beautiful life is forgotten.
At the desk where I’m sitting, I have written little notes in permanent marker. My attention was just drawn to “embrace change.” Perhaps that’s what I’m struggling with right now: change. Since I made the decision to incorporate fashion and told everyone about my plan to eventually build a shop, I’ve been feeling rather exposed and vulnerable. It’s silly, I know. Truth be told, it’s not even about the fashion or the shop. It’s about the fear of failing.
Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever has.
This doubt that I’ve been feeling about what I’m doing is eating me up inside. I think: How could I have written that blog post yesterday? People will know that I have family problems.
Well, I do. Doesn’t everyone? I mean, as I grow older, I’m realizing that no family is perfect, not even the ones that actually seem very genuinely happy. Everyone has a battle of some sort. I certainly have my own. I have some underlying anger to deal with regarding my father and I don’t have a very good relationship with my brother and sister. I love all of them, but if I were to pretend everything was fine, I’d be lying. Does this mean I don’t love them? Of course it doesn’t. I love them dearly and would be there for them in a heartbeat if they needed me. True love has nothing to do with the status of a relationship. Love is love.
I also criticize myself over the posts on the style account and think: Who am I to try to help other women? My style is so basic. A dress with some heels and a clutch is not style. I’m not a model, so why do I even bother?
Then I think, but I just want to help women see that style is all their own. I want them to know that they don’t have to spend a fortune on trendy items and they can save time and money by spending more on quality basics that they can wear for years. Yes, my style is somewhat basic, but I like it. I like that my style is casual and easy, with a twist. And no, I’m definitely not a model, but neither are the majority of women in the world. I also have no desire to be a model, but I’m a mom and a woman who matters, just as much as every other woman in this world, and I am going to keep doing my thing, because it means a lot to me.
Does a mic drop fit here, because I kinda feel like it does. This little “dialogue” shut down the noise in my mind. It shut down the internal abuse I was putting myself through. It shut down the lies and the “Job people” in my mind.
Today is Thanksgiving and last night, I went to bed with tears in my eyes, because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get past the terrible negativity I was feeling and it made me sad because I knew today would be great otherwise. As I type now, I’m feeling renewed and it’s all thanks to a beautiful soul in Scotland, who happened to get real with me today. I’m not saying I’m healed and I’m not saying I won’t fall into negativity again. As a matter of fact, I know I will. I’m just saying that for today, I’m good and that counts for a lot.
You never know who you’re touching with your words. You cannot underestimate the role your presence plays in this world, especially as connected as we are today with the internet and social media. Our words and our truths are powerful weapons that can harm and heal. I’m so thankful for the healing that sprang from my friend’s words today and I hope that my words here can help you heal as well. Maybe my words can help you find your own strength and confidence. Maybe my words can help quiet the “Job people” in your mind.