We can always begin again.
Today was an emotional clusterfuck. In fact, the last few days have been. Something about this month has absolutely hockeyed me. For most of December, every one of us in the family has been sick, and sometime around the 19th consecutive day of being in a confined germy space on my own with small, emotionally charged children, with inadequate sleep, very little adult company, feeling mentally and physically burnt out, and either exhausted or interrupted every time I tried to get some work done, I snapped.
I knew this morning that my tank was already empty and that I was effectively on the figurative side of the road waiting for someone to come and help.
Gerry came to help. He always does. He always will. He is the rock that holds rocks up. I joke that if there was a nuclear holocaust, Gerry and cockroaches would survive.
So he came home on his lunch and took the boys to my folks house so I’d have a chance to come up for air.
In surfing, there’s a term getting ‘caught on the inside’. It’s basically where you come off your board after catching a wave and you’re now in the whitewater where the waves break. It’s incredibly hard to get anywhere; you try paddle out but the waves keep breaking on you, keeping you stuck and exhausted.
Lately, I’ve been caught on the inside.
By the time this evening rolled around, I hadn’t managed to eat anything. First attempt at cooking burnt. Second ended up still frozen when I took a bite. I ended up at McDonald’s. I fucking hate McDonald’s.
As I sat in my car gorging on processed carbs and self-loathing, I grew increasingly irate at the car opposite me that seemed to be parking in dog years, and while moving at the pace of a melting glacier, their headlights felt like an assault on my already strung out, blood shot eyes.
“What the Jesus are you driving, a truck? What kind of person takes 47 minutes to reverse into a spot??” went the inner critic as I hurled all this ragey hostility in the direction of their car.
Eventually, the car stopped and the blinding lights went off.
I saw her get out. A very heavy woman with a beautiful smile, radiating warm energy. She struggled to fit out the space between her and the next car.
My heart sank.
She had been trying to leave herself enough room. Who knows what kind of thoughts were going through her head as she parked.
As I watched her walk into the restaurant (Can we even call McDonald’s a restaurant??) I just felt this overwhelming sense of love and compassion for her. My fellow human, my sister, a soul finding her way through life, just like me. I immediately regretted sending any kind of negative energy her way, so I took a notepad and pen, scribbled her a little note, and left it on her windscreen.
I wished her love and kindness. I told her that she deserves peace, love and happiness in her heart and that I wished all those things for her.
Hurt people hurt. I was hurting today. Deeply. It’s worth remembering this because anyone we meet who is showing up with anger and hostility is thinly bandaging some form of emotional pain. It takes a few layers of emotions before we reach anger.
I’m sharing all this because I know that when I suffer, I look to my teachers and mentors and I listen to their stories of struggle and somehow they soothe me. They’re human too. Their struggle somehow validates mine. We are all in this unfathomable madness that is life together and none of us escapes pain or suffering. So if hearing that someone with a whole toolbelt of mental coping strategies at her disposal can struggle is validating or soothing or reassuring for even one of you reading this, then it’s worth the vulnerability I feel in sharing it.
So today kind of handed me my ass on a plate, but also reminded me of a few things.
We’re all in this together.
It’s never to late to right a wrong.
Kindness will outshine hostility. Every Single. Time.
We’re all just doing the best we can with what we’ve got.
Each breath is a chance to start again.