Out, Not In

I wrote something about how sucking it up isn’t a virtue. I wanted to reshare it here because as much as I really wrote it to help a lesson stick for me, it seems to have been something that isn’t a problem I have the monopoly on these days. Maybe we just need a little nudge so that we remember to breathe, or to speak, or to pause.

Sometimes the advice and edicts that swim through my feeds make me feel underwater, not just overwhelmed, but literally drowning and unable to breathe.

You are doing it wrong…
Why you should do it this way…
The most important thing is…

I’m not saying that the articles or headlines are explicitly wrong, but I do think they stifle instinct. I’ll also own a bit of it, I go to the social media trough hungry and expectant. I want to find things that fill up some part of me, but the thing that ends up happening is I forget what I had before I arrived. It isn’t social media or the articles that are damaging, it is the unique combination of my willingness to be influenced and the sites’ need to demonstrate influence.

I may open my laptop with significant opinions but the rat-a-tat-tat of directives to Suck it up, Man up, Put on your big girl panties wear me down. It seems to suggest that I don’t have the answers inside myself or that what I am feeling might be wrong or weak.

Yesterday morning I woke up and went about the routine that has come to be very meaningful to me. It isn’t fancy, but it’s working.

  • Wake up.
  • Pull on work out clothes.
  • Make coffee.
  • Feed cats.
  • Walk down to basement.
  • Set Pandora to Jason Mraz, Meghan Trainor, or Beyoncé station mood depending
  • Stretch.
  • Dance (listen for feet on stairs, in which case STOP dancing immediately, act cool)
  • Lift weights.
  • Go through a series of Pilates movements.
  • Stretch.
  • Pad upstairs.
  • Pour coffee.
  • Wake kids.
  • Make lunches.
  • More coffee as I surf.

It looks like a lot but that all happens over the course of about 45 minutes, but it’s mine. I enjoy that balance of time for me and tender attendance to the girls’ needs. Thinking about feeling my sore muscles throughout the day and imagining how the girls feel when they see their lunches makes me smile.

Many mornings the things that I read make me feel a part of a community. I learn, I weep, I admire, mostly though I sit in my favorite chair and just honor the act of doing these things completely without apology. Except when the little worm of doubt slinks in, am I buried in the screen? Am I shirking responsibility?

Sean was walking past me and said, “Oh, you haven’t showered?” I immediately felt guilty, but also resentful. Do I need to be showered? Haven’t I done enough already? Can I take minute? Then I wondered, maybe what he’d said was as simple as taking note that I hadn’t showered.

I thought about all the times I’ve let comments pass unqualified and then the layers of interpretation that build and ultimately lead to some sort of explosion that is completely unrelated to anything happening in that moment.

“Is that ok? Can you shower now so that I can keep doing this or do you want me to stop?” I surprised myself with how calmly I said it.

He shrugged, “Not at all. I just want you to have time to get ready. I’ll go hop in,” then he kissed me and walked upstairs.

Do I have a concise moral to this story? Not really, but what I can say is that sometimes we just need to ask the question or say the thing that we are thinking. Sometimes between the headlines and our own ruts of assumption, parts of ourselves, our relationships, and reality get lost in the shuffle.

Don’t suck it up, breathe it in, even if it’s scary.