I had a serious piece queued up for today about how you can’t save people who don’t want to be saved, but I’m in the mood for something lighter.
Things in my world are heavy. Hope takes effort. I’m told this is a symptom of trauma, not depression. Depression displays anhedonia, which is the absence of pleasure in things. I don’t have that. I experience pleasure regularly, but there are places in my head I fear going; not because of their pain, but because of their joy. So much joy and love that sitting still hurts.
There are places in my head I fear going; not because of their pain, but because of their joy. So much joy and love that sitting still hurts.
Since I need to practice letting the light and fluffy back in, I’m going to bring you with me.
In 2020, I read The Artist’s Way, and in doing one of the exercises I had to come up with 10 things I wished for. I went back and found the list recently and – man. The desires were so simple, so small. I’d been locked indoors with a toddler and my husband was working 3000-hour days because it was COVID. I wanted basics back.
I wanted to sit and drink coffee alone and look out a window. I wanted to sleep, a full night. I wanted a long period of uninterrupted time to read. I wanted to think. Alone. I wanted date night. And jazz night.
(Jazz night is when you stay in and put the Pandora Dinner Jazz station on your TV, open a bottle of wine, and do work on your computer with your best friend or partner next to you, taking breaks to geek out on your projects, go back to work, have sex, and then you go to sleep. Jazz night is the best.).
It’s been three years since I wrote that list and this year I have experienced a very hurried cross-country move, lost my best friend, moved in with my parents for a little, became a single mom, was gaslighted like crazy by people I thought cared about me, am no longer a homeowner, had to take legal action in ways I never imagined, was publicly humiliated, and then shamed by many of the people in my life I thought were “safe.”
I’ll tell you what, though. Joy hasn’t changed. My little list. It’s not moved an inch.
My life this year has been full of love. I very much believe in love. I have the best friends in the multiverse who send food and BOOKS and endless heartwarming hilarious group text threads. I started a new company that’s growing. I have quiet mornings now to write (thanks to insomnia, but I’ll take the win). I live down the street from friends and family. I get to live with the best tiny human on the entire planet. I stopped writing about copy and marketing and YOU stayed on this list.
I think joy is how we prevent soul suicide.
You can spend time blaming the world or you can acknowledge the world is responsible and begin to hold it accountable.
I can’t tell you what joy is for you, but I can tell you if you lie to yourself about whether or not you’re happy, you’ll never feel happy.
Memento Mori, yall.
Reconnect with your felt sense. Take up space. Say no. Stand up to bullies. Choose your own success metrics. Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Build Power with and Power together. Entitle yourself to rest and pleasure. Choose joy. And last, but not least:
Fight ignorance and denial with every fiber of your GD being.
Stay light and fluffy,
PS: “Felt sense” is literally the sensations in your body, which sounds like woo-woo garbage but it’s the biggest scientific breakthrough of data we already knew but couldn’t prove since forever. Basically, what you feel has a physical effect on your body (well not on it, but in it because it is it). Learning to “feel” your feelings is about literally feeling your body. And re-wiring your brain and nervous system so you’re not running around all dysregulated. Which most of us are.
Google Peter Levine’s work on somatic experiencing and let your brain explode. And read this book. Gabor Mate has some good stuff but his book is a little anecdotal for my taste. His podcast interviews are better. He’s right, but the way he had to write for a mass audience is annoying. Confirmation bias does not science make. Fortunately for him, the science tracks.
ANYWAY. Light and fluffy. you can’t get to the good feelings until you work through the bad ones. And (spoiler alert) there are no good or bad feelings. There are just sensations in your body. And you learn to tolerate them.