This week has been hell, folks.
I’m talking the worst, most stressful week of my life. Every day was a new shit show, with another round of “What in the world is going on?”
But in times of great stress and trials, I’ve discovered my corrective nature.
Each day I woke up wondering what other shoe would drop, each night I went to bed defeated.
I woke up and made fresh coffee, some espresso with creamer and instead of drinking the whole thing down, I poured some into the cup I use for ancestor offerings. I begged for safety and happiness and success.
The next day, I did the same with drip-pot coffee, black. Then hot tea.
I remembered what Brene Brown said in her Netflix special: If you’re in the arena, you’re going to get your ass kicked.
I thought about all the things I learned as an MSW student. All the things I learned about how to deal with crises. About life. And I started putting those to use. Breathing techniques, meditations, anxiety work. I worked the program, my friends. I learned to trust and accept and validate my emotions, without letting them beat me down. I let myself cry, and worked through it. I gave myself room to be.
I went to supervision and reframed my situation. How lucky am I that I have options to stress over. To have the knowledge about what to do. To only experience one week of crisis-as opposed to one lifetime.
And I stopped waiting for the shoes to fall. I stopped expecting the world to crumble around me.
Instead, I gave myself permission to be human. I asked for help, I apologized for slacking in a spiritual way. I hoped for better things. I focused on finding the balance between the negative and positive, the dark and the light. And while I tried to allow myself to thrive, I found I wasn’t as preoccupied with the stressful terrors that plagued my days.
Slowly-and we’re talking snail pace-I reframed my experience to create a more objective picture. I let my reactions be reactions-not reality. I let go. I learned how to exist in the stress, to fight in the arena.
And yes, I got my ass kicked. But sometimes the lesson you need to learn has to come when you have been stripped of all your reservations.
I can’t neglect parts of myself just because I think I know better. Putting coffee out for the ancestors and the spirits in the good times is great, but brushing them off in the bad times is arrogant. Make space and time for your spirituality, your mental well-being. Make space for your emotions. Make space for yourself. You deserve to live your life. And that life may be hard at times. But you can make it through. You have to step back and believe. Then get back in the arena and keep fighting.