What Doesn’t Kill You

Ladies and Gentlemen, stop what you’re doing.  The World Cup kicked off this morning and everything is right in the world again (this is me completely ignoring the fact that the U.S. didn’t qualify because we have a team of bagoons.  Viva Mexico).  But seriously, I have had an epiphany.  We have got to find a way to stop being so hard on ourselves.  Believe me, I beat myself up more than anyone else could.  I am Fight Club in the flesh.  I’m rarely good enough, more often than not severely insecure and consistently overly critical.  I don’t imagine I’m alone in feeling this way.  We are told from an early age to be strong, to be better, to be the best, to forge on, show no fear.  We are made to feel that asking for help or directions is admitting defeat.  We are convinced that uncertainty is equivalent to being a coward.  We are manipulated into the ideology that the grass is always greener.  It isn’t.  I promise.  Or if it is, I assure you it’s just as hard to mow.  Some days I shine.  Somedays I feel like I have it all together.  On the rare occasion, I even feel beautiful.  In fact, there are moments I think I’ve figured it all out.  Despite the temporary windows of success, I cannot deny the fact that I feel defeated in so many ways all the time.  There will always be suffering.  We cannot escape it.  It’s one of the things we all have in common.  The real obstacle is how we face it.

I had the honor of attending a send-off reception for Walking with the Wounded – a team of veterans from America and Britain who embarked on a trek across the country just a few weeks ago to raise awareness and support for the Soldiers, Marines and Veterans readjusting to everyday life.  They know and emphasize that not all wounds are physical and I think that is something we all need to keep in mind.  Not all suffering can be seen and, in fact, there is so much of it that is kept within the minds and hearts of so very many.  We all take our turn going through it and the majority of us choose the path of silence.  Maybe it’s easier than hearing it out loud or maybe we don’t want to be a Debbie Downer to those around us, but with all this talk of being authentic and honest, how is it when we should lean on each other the most, we opt to struggle alone?  I think it’s time we admit that we need other people in our lives – like water, like air.  I have never in my life heard an acceptance speech in which someone isn’t thanked.  No one gets through this thing alone.  It isn’t possible.  When our strength is gone, we need our tribe to carry us.  As much as I genuinely appreciate the time I have to myself, my life would be nothing without the people who hold me together – Lord knows I go Mrs. Potato Head from time to time.

We spend so much time bickering about the most insane things.  Our perspectives are jaded, our priorities are distorted and our ideals have been sabotaged.  We are more concerned with other people’s realities than we are with our own.  We are forced to compare ourselves every turn we take.  We have been warped into posting the highlights of our lives promoting the delusion that is social media as if it’s an accurate display of who we are.  We are told in a million different ways if we have this and this and this, THEN we will be happy while simultaneously being told that tomorrow isn’t promised.  Which way do we decide to live? – Do we live for today?  Do we live for tomorrow?  It’s an oxymoron and it’s confusing, borderline infuriating.  We are pulled in so many different directions and no one blinks an eye because that’s just how it is anymore.  I am here to tell everyone that they need to pour themselves their favorite beverage, sit back and relax.  Whether that’s whiskey or a CapriSun, I don’t care.  Just chill out, okay?

My friend sent me a picture of a page in a book she was reading and it essentially was about a baby’s first steps.  You would never look at that child and then demand for them to run – so why do we find it okay to do that to ourselves?  Self-love might be the hardest to come to terms with.  I am so envious of people who are comfortable in their own skin – flaws and all.  I find myself always trying to make up for mine and forever feeling inadequate.  It’s unacceptable.  I have to be better, as a society WE need to be better.  Spend more time building each other up instead of breaking one another down.  Stop being intimidated by what you don’t have and find more grace in the things that you do.  The truth of it is we are only human.  We are imperfect and it’s OKAY.  It’s the people in my life who give me wings.  My team gives me life and makes this one worth living.  They are my crutch, my sounding board, my standard, my angels, my conscious, my constant and my strength.  If you don’t think you need other people in your life, I suggest you try mounting a 65” flat screen TV by yourself.  Spoiler alert:  zero fun.

We have to do better at being optimistic, which is very different from being naive.  It’s not narcissistic to find the great in the life you’re living.  It’s there.  Yes, there can be a lot of sifting in order to find it, but somewhere in between all the chaos and heartache, it does exist.  We cannot forget that the chaos and the heartache exist as well.  There will be moments of blindness, tunnels of despair and chapters of numbness.  You can pretend it’s not happening, force your lips into a smile and drown alone or you can own it, talk to those who will listen and give yourself a fighting chance.  Believe in yourself and your strength.  Extend that courtesy to those around you.  You are never as alone as you think you are – I truly believe that.  In my darkest times, I’ve found the brightest stars.  I don’t know about you but if given the choice to fall or fly, I’ll take to the sky any day of the week.  We just have to remind ourselves that we can – even when we’ve forgotten, even when we’re broken, even when the odds are stacked against us and especially when they say it can’t be done.  You are never defeated until you quit fighting.  Find a reason to fight.  Stay in the game.  Take it to overtime.

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