Sometimes Life Just Sucks, and That's Okay
Going to get a little vulnerable with you guys today... I'm really not the person to get sad publicly, or in general, and I most definitely do not want attention for it - in fact, there's probably an argument to be made that I have a tendency to avoid negative emotions a little too much. I'm sometimes optimistic to a fault. I know that there is value in feeling all of life's emotions, but I'm the kind of person who looks for even the tiniest of silver linings, or a reason to be mad before I ever allow myself to be sad, and I've been working on that. Situations in which there's no other emotion to choose but sadness are helpful in this, even though they mostly just suck.
"Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life's problems" - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
Maybe you noticed, or maybe you didn't but I took a little break from posting, and publishing recently. A whole lot of life happened - good, exciting, stressful and everything in between, and seemingly all at once. I was handling/balancing it all relatively well, until our cat was diagnosed with cancer and then...I just sort of crumbled.
I stopped working out, I was eating horribly, and I didn't go anywhere except to work because I just didn't want to be away from her. Now usually, you might think that someone like me would use this as a segue way to tell you what I should have done instead, or tell you about a better way to cope but, I'm not. Everyone deals with hardship differently, and for someone like me who lives by my calendar and constantly has something going on, I think I did exactly what I needed. I gave myself the space and the time to feel what I needed to feel. While I will admit that I probably could've done without the junk food, candy and lack of exercise, because those certainly didn't help the way I was feeling... sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do. What's important is that you recover, and don't allow what should be just a period of sadness, pain, or mourning to become your whole life.
Just before we got the bad news, I had started reading a book called of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. Despite it's awesome title it's not exactly what you would expect it to be (side note: I think literally everyone should read it). One particular part of the book stuck with me as I was reading, the author was talking about a time in his life where he had fallen into a deep depression following the death of his best friend. After a few months of his depression he came to this realization:
"That if there really is no reason to do anything, then there is also no reason to not do anything; that in the face of the inevitability of death, there is no reason to ever give in to one's fear or embarrassment or shame, since it's all just a bunch of nothing anyway; and that by spending the majority of my short life avoiding what was painful and uncomfortable, I had essentially been avoiding being alive at all." - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
In that moment, he essentially decided that he was wasting his life away by allowing his sadness to consume him, when instead he could move forward and use the life that he still has to actually do something. You may have gathered, that I couldn't have read this book at a better time (thanks, universe).
I gave myself almost two weeks of no expectations, and no pressure, I just let myself let go for a while. Then with the help of some outside encouragement, I started to piece things back together. The sadness is, of course, still lingering and I'm still dreading the next few weeks in which I will inevitably have to say goodbye, and cuddling her as much as I can, but I'm coping better now because I gave myself the space to breathe, and to feel how I needed to feel without judgement - plus, I'm exercising again, and eating more like usual, and that always makes me feel better too.
Like I said, I'm not seeking attention or sympathy - the thought of getting it makes me a little uncomfortable, and so does being this publicly vulnerable - but I felt like there was value in my sharing these thoughts with others, especially those who might also be struggling with something right now, or will be in the future.
"Pain of one sort or another is inevitable for all of us, but we get to choose what it means to and for us" - Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
I realize, that in the large scheme of life, some people may even roll their eyes at this - like "ohh her cat's dying boo hoo, there are children starving in Africa or [insert other terrible thing that happens to people] " I get that, sure. Everyone's baseline for what might break them down is different, we've all lived different lives. But pain, and sadness is a human experience, regardless of what has caused it.
So, this is me just getting real with you about how sometimes life isn't sunshine and rainbows...but my point in writing this is that it's okay. We don't often have a choice in the matter of facing a struggle, or sadness but we do have a choice in how we respond, interpret, and move past life's shitty times. Give yourself what you need, for however long you need, but be conscious of when you've moved past the point honoring your feelings into a point of just wallowing in circumstances and self-pity.
If it weren't for the bad times, we'd never have any appreciation for the good ones, and that's just the beauty of life.
Thanks for getting deep with me, and reading this I hope that in opening up, I was able to help other people. Let me know what you think of this perspective in the comments, and feel free to share this with anyone you think might need it.
p.s. Go read that book!