I’ve been writing to you a lot from the land of creation. I realized after my last post that I might make it sound like my life is a big bucket of misery and whining. It’s not. The reason I tell these stories is because I want you to know for sure, for sure, for sure that it’s not just you. It’s like this for all of us.
And I hope that you don’t make your own struggles mean that there’s something wrong with you. That if you were somehow better, smarter, cleaner, healthier you wouldn’t go through the things you do.
On the other side of pain is a deeper well of compassion
One of the things I’ve been mourning is a life of safety. I cried to my husband because if I’m going to keep living my life at all, I’m going to keep dealing with the terror of putting myself out there. There’s no way around it. I might decide to quit writing, or never decide to sell my art, but I’m never going to give up creating in one form or another.
So, yes. I’ve been up and down. I’ve been mired in self doubt and darkness. This means that I have a constant opportunity to find my way back to the light.
One morning after dropping Max off at school I heard the Rodney Atkins song “If You’re Going Through Hell.” Here’s what he sings:
Yeah, If you’re going through hell
Keep on moving, Face that fire
Walk right through it
I thought, “Fuck you. Where am I supposed to walk?”
But that’s just it. It doesn’t really matter. Just keep on moving.
Every time I find the truth again I develop the muscle of coming back. When I ask myself things like “Who are you to do this?” I get to answer it. Yeah. Who am I to do this? So I remember again who I am and how grateful I am for all of the experiences that brought me to this moment in this life. I wouldn’t trade it for anyone’s.
Looking into the darkness makes the light a little bit sweeter.
Even though it’s kind of crazy and dark around here sometimes, that doesn’t mean life stops or even that it sucks. Watch out for the belief that we can’t have happiness or peace until we overcome our problems. That’s not true. You can be happy and terrified at the same time. Hell really is as rosy as you make it.
While I feel anxious and unsettled, life goes on. I still cuddle in with my kids; tell butt jokes; watch great and not so great television; coach people I love; read books that make me explode with connection and possibility; paint; antagonize David so I can make him laugh. I practice the things that are important to me, like staying peaceful in the midst of chaos and slipping underneath my unhelpful thoughts. I’ve reached out to mentors and peers, friends and my husband. I’ve practiced receiving–that’s a tough one for me.
I hurt my foot while running so after it healed I got to experience what it felt like to run 3 miles effortlessly. Again, so grateful for it, which I might not have paid attention to if I’d been able to do it the whole time. The gifts keep coming.