Hi there. I need a favor and feel a little shy about asking, but would be very grateful for your help. Raise your hand if you know where my big girl panties are hiding these days. They seem to have skeedaddled off to new lands 😦 Or how about giving a shout if you know where I can find one of those invisible trampolines that magically appear when life knocks you down to spring you back into action? Better yet, is there a magic potion I can drink to restore my happy go lucky nature? Maybe a Life Alert button created for emotional disasters?
From the outside looking in, it appears that my big girl panties are fitting just fine and that I walk on streets paved with trampolines. (I promise, big girl panties have gone rogue.) In fact, some say my super power is smiling down negative vibes like Batman taking on the Joker, Penguin, Harley Quinn and Bane all in one fell swoop. One friend even nicknamed me “Ms. Disney, the happiest chick on earth.” Truth be told, I feel more like Humpty Dumpty and 2015 has been the Year of the Great Fall.
This Humpty Dumpty has bumbled and blundered for far too long with a tattered Positivity Cape. But in this Year of the Great Fall, my ability to pop up like one of those inflatable punching clowns has failed me much to my surprise and dismay. In the last year, I’ve fallen A LOT and have found it very challenging to get back up. In fact, these past few months have made me feel like Alice falling down the rabbit hole on Ground Hog Day…waking up every morning just to be tumbling on down again and again. At least Alice ended up at a tea party…a mad tea party, no less, but at least there were tasty treats and tea to sip during the madness. My tea cup has apparently sprung a leak because no matter how many times I tried to fill it up, it seemed to drain away before I even had a sip.
This post isn’t meant to be a plea for help or invitation to a pity party. I’m not begging for all the King’s horses and men to come put me together again (which is good since they couldn’t help Humpty Dumpty anyway.) This is just little old me standing here with my scraped up knees, scarred heart, bruised tender feelings saying “I Surrender.” (insert little old me waving tattered white flag while a lone cricket chirps in the distance…)
Most days during 2015, I would have been delighted to wear that ribbon that has been floating around the interwebs about “adulting”…you know, the one that says “I put on pants today!” I would’ve been honored to have that award pinned to my pants because there were many days that I was just happy to remember that pants were a thing and that I should wear them. 2015 was rough…especially financially…really, really, really rough. And, it didn’t help that the Grief Thief decided to spring an unexpected surprise visit during 2015 either. (and I truly believed I had done such a fantastic job of hiding from him…not so much it seems.)
I realized how far I had unraveled mentally and emotionally while driving with my son one autumn afternoon. (Caution: whining ahead) Every time I would open my mouth, it was to harp on about how awful everyone was driving, how exhausted I was from trying to pick up the pieces from the destruction of my financial life due to my husband’s terminal illness and death, and how annoyed I was about pretty much everything in life. (If you know me personally, this is definitely a sign that either an alien has invaded me or a demonic possession has occurred. I’m a “find a way or make a way ~ cheerleader of life” kind of gal so this behavior was way outside the norm.) My son (a very chill, calm guy of 19 years) sat there for a long while listening to me rant. When my voice started to crescendo and sound like the Star Wars “Dual of the Fates” song, he reached over, patted me on the shoulder and gently said, “Mom, you are like an angry 5 foot 2 inch ball of hate.”
Nothing knocks sense into you like your child telling you that you make Anger from “Inside Out” look like a purveyor of sunshine and rainbows. I realized in that moment that my fear and anxiety was spilling out of me like a toxic waste dump. Not one of my best parenting moments.
I wish I could say that I learned my lesson and found my way back to the land of bluebirds and happy thoughts. I didn’t (well, not yet anyway.) However, what I am learning is that when crisis strikes and you are feeling completely overwhelmed, overwrought and over-extended, a hug can make all the difference. This was made clear to me when a sweet friend of mine took a look at me and said, “you look like you need a hug” and then proceeded to give me one. A simple act, but really one that made me feel so valued. (Thank you, Laura…you really helped me more that day than you’ll ever know.) Wanna see the power of hugs? Watch Free Hugs Campaign . It’s been around for nearly a decade, but still gives warm fuzzies all around.
I am also learning that when someone reaches out to give you their hand, it’s okay to hold it for a little while until you feel steady on your feet again. (Best Hand Holder Awards go to Caroline, Stephanie, Kristin and Amy who also get the Best Listener of a Whiny Person Awards…) My grandma Gigi was a wise woman when she said that when you don’t allow someone to help you in your time of need, you are rejecting their gift of kindness and compassion to you. (This is hard for me because I am a proud woman who finds accepting help a very difficult endeavor. Ask my British beau, he has stories for days about this.)
We all fall down. Many of us feel that we have to be strong and soldier on all alone. Why do we do this to ourselves? There is power in picking ourselves up, dusting ourselves off and moving forward, of course. However, who says you have to do it alone? Sometimes, having a hand to hold or a hug is all the medicine needed to begin a healing. We can pick each other up…lay down next to each other when needed (yes, it’s okay to lay down and rest your weary soul, my friends)…listen without judgement and share our love. That’s the great thing about love. There is an infinite supply to go around. But most importantly, we need to remember that falling down doesn’t make us bad people. It may make us sad people, but not bad.
I am still dealing with the grief thief, financial challenges and a boatload of other ridiculously stressful issues, but that doesn’t make me a sad, pitiful poor creature. I am surrounded by an infinite amount of love and support from family and friends. In the ways that matter I am a very wealthy woman. Reading Shonda Rhimes book “A Year of Yes” really helped as well. (HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book…especially the part about “the Wonder Woman” stance…try it…it works!) And yes, I have gotten better in this new year about my “adulting” and actually do remember that pants most definitely are a thing. I am still searching for my “big girl” panties so if you happen to see them running around town, would you please direct them this way? Thanks bunches! Oh, and by the way, in case you need it, here’s my hand…and a hug too.