I’m going to venture a guess that many of us have been here:
It’s Saturday night. Or perhaps its an arbitrary holiday…like, say, Valentine’s Day…?
Your love life has gone the way of pay phones & fax machines…or sane leaders (missing you Obama! *Sigh*). And all your go-to party people have made fabulous plans that somehow don’t include you.
Thus, you find yourself wandering towards your couch with the necessary provisions: A remote control and bong in one hand, and your favorite blanket, salty snacks and a vibrator in the other.
This emotional state, extrapolated to it’s logical conclusion, ends in an epic meltdown. The quintessential ‘how did I get here and why does God hate me?’ sort of meltdown. The kind where you ugly-cry into the couch because you are convinced that you are– at your core– profoundly unloveable, and a hideous chunk monster to boot.
So…here is my confession: I’ve learned to love this cry. Because I’ve finally come to see it as a time of deep catharsis and vulnerability between me and the universe….
But it wasn’t always that way.
It used to be that these meltdowns were when I’d make bargains with God and with myself. When I vowed to be better, try harder and workout more. I’d also vow to use the sheer force of will to finally bring all of my untapped potential online. I would muscle through, and force the universe to finally give me the relationship/career/body that I felt entitled to.
And somehow, those vows made me feel better…because it felt like I was ‘doing’ something to fix things. But as I’m sure most of you will attest, these kind of vows — born of despair and self-loathing— often don’t ‘take’ and quickly go the way of New Years resolutions. And it’s not long before you’re leaving more mascara stains on the couch for all the exact same reasons. Or, worse still, using the failure of enacting these vows as further fodder to beat yourself up when things don’t instantly change in your world.
So, as I’ve dug deeper into myself and the ways of the universe, I started to ask: What if I didn’t make any deals with myself or God in that emotional state? What if I just let myself ugly-cry? What if I did my best to accept my current circumstances and let the neglected little girl inside of me throw a giant, destructive tantrum? And let the hateful teenager scream and yell until she had nothing left…? What’s the worst that could happen? If I’m convinced that I’m unloveable anyway, then, essentially, I have nothing to lose…
In the midst of this experiment, I realized that once the little girl and the teenager had their tantrums, the wise grownup inside me finally showed up. She reminded me that I’m blessed, beautiful and deeply loved.
“Where’ve you been?” I ask her, “I could’ve really used that compassion like two snickers bars ago”.
“I’m always here. But you needed to feel the feelings and express yourself before you could hear me. NOW you’re cleansed and ready to receive the goodness. Sometimes we all need to break down to break through”.
At this point, I realize that I’m too emotionally wiped to tell her she’s full of shit or punch her in the face. In fact, I kind of welcome her non-judgy wisdom and her sophisticated taste in shoes. So I listen…
And she reminds me of everything I know in my core to be true (but have forgotten in this moment of despair):
I am a child of God.
I am loved.
I am blessed.
I am beautiful
I am worthy
And, I will thrive again…maybe even as early as next Saturday night.
So, fellow traveler, on this day (originally intended to celebrate ‘unconditional love’) I hope that you’ve also allowed yourself a safe space to release the shit without judgement, knowing that breakdowns often clear the space for the light to shine in.
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