The title of this blog post is a well-known quote from the lovely and inspiring, Glennon Doyle Melton. I’ve been a fan of hers for about a year. I read Love Warrior in a two-day blur and ever since these words have tolled around my head. Recently I’ve been feeling everything on the peripheral. I’d rather talk about my feelings, than say what they are. Anger. Happiness. Sadness. Disappointment. LONELINESS. That friend right? But, I had an aha moment over breakfast the other day (need I say coffee was involved), where I realized it really doesn’t matter what YOU think. Or you. Or you. As much as I embrace and live for my community, my tribe (a word I don’t ever say lightly since I’ve worked so hard to find my place in this often isolating, scary, messy world), I need to embrace my self just a hair more.
Okay, this is what happens: way back when we are like 13 and standing in the school cafeteria (all these shaming moments somehow begin with a plastic tray of poorly cooked food and high school chatter), we make a choice. We either find our place at one of the tables and sit and stay out the remaining years of our adolescent OR or we spend the next handful of years trying desperately to find our place. Guess what my cafeteria experience was like? And I said I didn’t care. And I said there was just too much going on at home anyway (like that was some well-thought out justification for NOT having friends). And I said they, these girls who had never seen pain, had never known what it was like to think “maybe I just won’t make it through tonight,” whose parents not only came to every event, but came with cameras, and flowers, and other family members, they didn’t want a girl like me. Right? So I had already started to categorize myself as other.
When I got to college I wore really fancy clothes, and I didn’t care about very much, and I was in a hell of a lot of pain. If you touched me I swear I’d just bruise on the spot. And then my junior year happens in college, so we go through three years of more school still numbed to my pain, and then I figured out…I’m gay! Oh man those feelings of other than, and not good enough, and where are my friends, came whirling right into focus, but this time I decided not to wander, I just sat. I sat where I was and I started talking. A lot. About who I was and what I was doing and wearing and who I liked and didn’t like. And I got my heart broken multiple times and I wrote about that. But I did so much talking, so much talking about, that I still wasn’t feeling right? If you asked me how I felt it would’ve taken me 10 minutes just to find the right word.
Two weeks ago I made a shift in my life. I asked my therapist for her guidance and together we looked at a feeling wheel. I started naming my feelings one after the other. Fear overlapped with desire overlapped with joy overlapped with disappointment and loneliness and contentedness. I was starstruck because when I started to allow myself to feel, I started to feel better. More at ease, less like I was other than and more like I just was. I. Just. Am. Miracle right?
To add another layer in the last few days it’s all come back to me, how I feel, what action I take, what I put in my body, what I put on my body. I’m gathering the evidence wherein the times I feel lonely or scared are the times I’m so disconnected from my body, I’m in so much pain because I put the blinders on and choose something destructive over just sitting with my emotions. The sitting is scary, but it’s human.
I’m embracing it. And I’m feeling better. I’m feeling like I can show up for my life and be present without constantly thinking, “but when this happens I’ll be better off.” There are no future guarantees in this life, but I have now. Right now is a guarantee. Do what you want with it.