“My privilege is showing.” She said, dismissing how harrowing and destabilized the last 4 years have been for her and her family.
I was speaking with my lifelong best friend who I can tell is still sort of holding it together, but she was having trouble just acknowledging what’s true for her about how hard things are and have been.
Moving across the country twice, a surprise (but welcome) pregnancy, a lost parent, a pandemic, buying and renovating a home only to be offered a better job in another state, selling their home and her whole family back in with her parents for 6 months, and now finally settling into their new rental home for a year… but navigating the return of kids to school, a new job for her husband, a body still healing from giving birth, etc etc etc
(And my guess is that your life has also had a hectic quality to it for AT LEAST the last year and a half. N’est pas?)
Yes, she has access to a social network and level of resource that she gets to be grateful for.
But that doesn’t make her experience of turmoil any less real.
She’s got a job she loves.
Her son is healthy and happy.
Her husband has a job he’s great at that he enjoys.
They live in a beautiful home.
On paper her life looks better right now.
Sp she should be fine, right?
But the truth is, they are still reeling and exhausted.
That’s because the goodness she has right now isn’t built from a net zero.
It’s built on a massive energetic deficit.
The payments into her tank are moving things in the right direction, but there is a big debt that is having to be paid down.
Those injections into YOUR tank are not necessarily filling you up, you may just be trying to get back to a stabilized ground zero.
I have scaled back my work week from something like 70hrs a week to something closer to 15. I am sleeping a lot. I am taking naps when I need them. I am deleting apps that yank on my attention. I am prioritizing nourishment everywhere I can.
I’ve been doing this for a couple months and I am still not “back to my old self”. I’m waaaay closer, but I could see it taking as much as another whole year to feel richly alive in my own skin again.
Most people didn’t just lose their social life.
They lost the exercise outlets they loved.
They lost living situations or had to seek new ones for financial reasons or mental health reasons.
People lost relationships and friendships.
People had loved ones die and never got to say goodbye.
People lost access to art and cultural lifelines that keep us connected to the beautiful parts of humanity.
People were even cut off from lots of community natural spaces that they relied on to feel connected to life on planet Earth.
People lost jobs or had to leave jobs to take care of their families.
We don’t just wake up the morning after restrictions are lightened and not feel those losses in our bodies.
Social media and news media outlets are a constant influx of devastating news that can make it seem like the world is uglier than ever.
That these are the end times.
But instead of letting this spiral you into anxiety and a sense of defeat.
I want to beg you to rest.
I want to beg you to make self-nourishment one of your top priorities in the months to come.
A hopeless electorate is an apathetic one.
An exhausted activist is an ineffective one.
A traumatized parent is a short tempered one.
Instead of following a watchdog account on Instagram, look up a local organization who you’d like to volunteer for and sign up for their emails.
Instead of Facebook chat rooms, see if you can set up a weekly dinner with two or three good friends that will be screen free.
Instead of watching the news, look up an aggregator that will email you a compilation of headlines one issues you care about and then choose WHEN you open that email.
Instead of thinking you should be able to handle this on your own, build a professional support network around you (therapist, coach, support groups, etc) because the last thing we need right now is for folks to self-isolate in the name of some sort of misguided sense of self-sufficiency or strong independence.
Instead of watching a tv show, cuddle up with a warm beverage, read a book that transports you into a different world where right and wrong feels a little bit easier to metabolize.
We all need to take an active role in our own recovery.
And the baby-er the steps you take, the better.
But your mental health right now may be one of your most precious possessions right now and I want you to guard it and tend to it as such for as long as it takes for you to connect to an abundance of resiliency, vibrancy, and peace within you.
I will probably allude to the toll I think the pandemic and shut down have had on us for a long time to come.
Because it will take us a long time to heal and create the world anew.
But together, we got this.
So, my dear one, how is your heart really?
With the tenderest of hugs,