Permission Slips and No Cure for Being Human
Every so often, I lose sight of what's truly important. I lose my cool, I get caught up in the mundane, I let other's actions have a bigger impact on me than I should. Ultimately, I end up disappointing myself.
On the one hand, it makes me feel more "normal" when this happens. Frequently I tell myself the story that I'm an outsider, something horrible happened to me and it shifted my perspective in a way that sets me apart from those who just haven't dealt with the level of tragedy and trauma I have. Getting lost in the day-to-day helps to make me feel more human.
On the other hand, I think, "Don't you know better by now? How have you not figured this out yet? XYZ thing just is not important, why do you let yourself get triggered so badly?"
"Every year billions of dollars are pumped into a wellness industry defined by the theory that we can be perfected. We can organize ourselves, heal ourselves, budget ourselves, love ourselves, and eat well enough to make ourselves whole."
I recently read Kate Bowler's No Cure for Being Human. Kate, if you're reading this, thank you for the permission slip. Kate says, "Every year billions of dollars are pumped into a wellness industry defined by the theory that we can be perfected. We can organize ourselves, heal ourselves, budget ourselves, love ourselves, and eat well enough to make ourselves whole."
Damn right, Kate. This is the issue that leads me to the other hand. The hand that tells me I should know better and not get triggered. I know the practices that keep me grounded and keep me sane, and I know I am more likely to snap at people, cry over the pileup of housework, and do things that tune me out of myself when I haven't been doing those things.
The problem is, I keep shaming myself for it. For getting into the cycle of disappointment when I make a mistake or when I am not meditating regularly, hitting the yoga studio, drinking my green juice, what have you. There is an industry of people out there trying to sell me things and ideas to make it seem like I can fix it all, be the best version of myself constantly. You can heal all your trauma and it never comes back.
Lies. There is no cure for being human, you can never not feel things again. Memories stay etched in my skin like tattoos. Mindfulness can help with intrusive thoughts, but it cannot perfect you. Yet, I will never forget a chat with an influencer who had also lost a child and made it seem so simple. You simply live a certain way and it works. You are so attached to peace that anxiety doesn't come knocking and fear can't get in. I felt like a failure.
Doesn't that make you tired? It exhausts me.
Grief and fear come calling to me at all hours of the day. Especially in the wee hours of the evening, with new life growing. I make desperate pleas to not lose this baby, too.
Moreover, this lack of compassion for myself leads to a lack of compassion for others. One trip down the rabbit hole of self-loathing leads to not giving grace, losing patience, forgetting kindness.
Really, it's ok. You can't be perfect, there is no cure for the maladies of everyday life. There is no cure for being human, grant yourself and others grace.