If one more person tells me, this too shall pass, then I may or may not punch them in the face. Forgive me for my brutal, but accurate frame of mind.
It is quite possibly the most generic, insincere sentiment. [And as the internet would tell me, I’m not alone with that assessment]. It does not validate a person’s feelings or emotions and it minimizes an individual’s experience or situation. We all have varying degrees in which our pot boils over because we’re all sitting at different altitudes. As humans, we want to be seen, heard and often times, understood. And we were gifted the ability to empathize (and sympathize) for this very purpose. As a species who is wired for connection, empathy is an essential component of relating and connecting to others.
I am turning forty-one tomorrow. My fortieth year was the worst year of my life. It was filled with an abundance of grief, loss in more ways than one, sadness, anger, confusion and an incredible number of moments where I was defeated a hundred times over. It has been a year compounded with a bunch of life events that are hardly the joyful kind. I’ve been forced to make decisions I didn’t want to make and do things that I definitely did not want to do. [I’m not even going to touch on all the COVID crap].
But in case you didn’t already know this, strong women are not born. They are forged in the fires they’ve had to walk through. Friends, I’ve walked through some pretty nasty fires in my forty years. Some more visible than others, some more vile than others. Yes, I have (noticeably) survived each one, but not without some serious scars. And now, the one I’ve been going through for the last year is going to be the one that leaves the meanest marks.
Have you ever had a year where you wake up each morning and you don’t know if the tears falling down your face are related to A, B or C.? A year where you had no choice but to continue to be strong because you had others who were relying on you. Except during those quiet moments alone, that wall of strength more closely resembled a wall of sticks rather than one of bricks.
Strength is sometimes disguised by a smile with the knowledge that a small puff of air from the big bad wolf will quickly blow it down.
When every facet of your life is being affected by loss, pain and hardship it’s sometimes hard to find avenues to articulate those troubles. Or uncover healthy ways to heal. (A therapist can only provide so much). For the people who know me, fitness is my way of life. It’s something that creates change both internally and externally. I love how it makes me feel, if even temporarily. It’s what I consider a fleeting escape. A destination that doesn’t require me to be anywhere except in the moment, sweating out every single drop of what’s plaguing me inside. There are surely days when I may take it too far and it borders foolish more than fitness, but pushing my body physically and mentally is the only thing that allows me to
be feel in control. Because when everything else around you cannot be completely controlled, your mind craves at least one thing that it can manage with authority. #EnneagramOne
With all this, I’ve told my kids that adversity builds character and creates an armor that will help protect and defend, for the next. They’re seeing me at some of my worst because right now, I can’t be at my best. And even though I don’t like it, I know that they are learning how important it is to press on through the wicked in order to find peace in the wonderful.
As for me, I’m simply adding to that toolbox of tenderness. The one that I’ve been carrying around for four decades; the provisions that help me better connect with others and perhaps even inspire them to speak of their own survival following their flames. It’s not exactly what I signed up to do, but I suppose that’s the beauty of the battle. Some of our best comes from some of our worst. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And I guess I’d like to think that some of my story is exactly what He wants me to share.
There is never a good moment when it feels right to be vulnerable and exposed. In fact, we do everything NOT to position ourselves in those plights. But my elemental instinct is to share the good, the bad and the ugly because those are the stories that speak to my heart.
And right now, my current story is a state of
the good, the bad and the ugly. Something that shall pass. But more so, I hope it’s something that will make you feel better, feel seen, or simply stir the empath in your soul.