I was such a grump this past week. Stuff that normally would roll off me has been getting me all fired up – an epic birthday party favor fail (5 hours down the drain, but, c’mon it’s a party favor, Kara), our house stuck in a state of chaos, the kids not sleeping through the night – I just couldn’t shake myself out of it. Plus, the world seemed extra crazy this past week, or maybe I’m just more sensitive to it than usual; every time I opened up my computer to write something I felt like I was hit with apocalyptic news that left me feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. Does this ever happen to you guys?
I spent the week trying to avoid falling into a dark hole – making more playdates than usual, going to bed early, getting out and exercising – and none of it worked. I was still exhausted, weepy and irritable. Finally on Friday night, I just let myself go. I laid down on the bed after the kids went to sleep and just let everything I’d been sitting on all week ride up to the surface. I cried for the little girls in Nigeria and their worried parents, I panicked about the effects of climate change on my kids, I worried about the 10,000,000 awful things that might happen to my kids tomorrow and sobbed for the parents who are in the throes of pain and despair. Hell, I even let myself feel sorry for myself because our house was such a disaster that the slow cooker fell on my head when I opened the cupboard. It was a pretty epic meltdown.
And – I have such a hard time remembering this – but once I gave my emotions room to breathe, they lost their hold over me. Not that I stopped feeling intensely, but they lost their ability to stop me in my tracks and I could move (literally and figuratively) again.
I’ve watched enough Oprah through the years to know to extract the good things from it (the lessons, if you will) – I set up a donation to an organization that is close to my heart, I’ve been researching places I can volunteer with the kids (anyone have suggestions?), I spent all day Sunday cleaning out our house and releasing rooms from chaos – but, ohmygawd, I’d be totally fine if I never had to wander down that particular road again. A bit like hoping your gluten-free pizza is going to taste as good as a regular version – totally unrealistic, but wonderfully optimistic.
Weeks like last week sucked. But, where I used to hide it and feel embarrassed by it I now consider it a byproduct of living a true life; I’ve learned over time to accept it as a part of who I am, kind of like my tendency to scare people I’ve just met because, occasionally, my enthusiasm might be a teensy bit overwhelming if you’re new to it. I doubt either thing is going to change anytime soon, and both actually work as a great vetting process as to whom I’m actually going to connect with, long-term. (My motto: “If you can’t stand my fist pumping about your adorable shoes, then you probably don’t want to get me started on Silicon Valley and it’s a friend requirement that I have to talk about my newest, favorite TV show at least once during our time together so it was lovely to meet you.” It’s lengthy but gets the job done.)
I know I have a truly remarkable life and try to honor it by enjoying the crap out of it and sharing the joy it brings. I used to think that these down times took away from that and somehow undermined my appreciation. Now I think it clarifies it. It reminds me that instead of paralysis, I choose hope and help, no matter how small the amount; it reminds me that instead of fear I choose joy and love.
*I’ve spent a lot of time researching non-profits lately and wanted to make sure you know about these two, both which are working to create better lives for kids who have found themselves in situations kids shouldn’t ever find themselves in:
–Project Night-Night donates packages of a blanket, book, and stuffed animal to homeless kids to help them feel safe and secure. They have lots of ways to get involved from donating actual items (there’s a facility here in San Francisco!) to putting together Night-Night bags of your own.
–Love146 brings aftercare to girls and boys who have been exploited through sex trafficking, allowing them to reintegrate back into their families and communities. They provide a safe haven for the kids and provide ongoing therapy and healing to help restore their self-worth. It looks like a really beautiful place, doing tremendous work.
*As I was cleaning out our bedroom on Saturday I found this book, which was one of my favorites growing up and still felt strangely relevant. I think I’m going to move to Australia.
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