I am coming out of a very challenging period of my life.
I have a few shiny new diagnoses including anxiety, depression, sleep disorder, some vitamin deficiencies and a questionable autoimmune disorder.
None of this makes me unique or special. Most women I know are carrying a similar rap sheet of offenders robbing them of their vitality, joy, hope, passion, etc.
Lucy Pearce writes a wonderful book about this called Medicine Women which I enthusiastically encourage you to read if you are struggling with something similar.
During this time I have been the person who cancels her plans at the last minute because she can't get herself out of the house. I've been the person who shows up late with nothing to offer. I have been the person bringing Hershey's bars to potlucks. I have been the person whose kids have to remind them a thousand times about that thing they need for school. I have been the person who looks around a room and sees how everyone else has it all together while I can't remember what I'm supposed to be doing, saying, where I am supposed to be going right now, etc.
I have lived my life as a helper and an over-achiever, a fixer, a problem-solver, maybe even a workaholic. I have been forced to slow down to a speed that I have not idled at since long summers before we moved to the suburbs in eighth grade.
During my low points, I felt like such a drain on the world. I felt like I was always asking for help, always the needy one, the sensitive one, the bother, the buzz-kill, the killjoy, the one who needed accommodated. I felt like I was letting my friends down, failing my children, pushing my husband to the brink of collapse for having to pick up my slack. I had become very dramatic in the depths of my dark passage.
Maybe all of that was true. Maybe I was all of those things.
Maybe I am all of those things. And maybe those things are just a small part of all that I am. And maybe I am still perfectly loveable even when I am a killjoy. Maybe I am still beautiful even when I don't shower everyday. Maybe I am still worthy even when I can't deep clean the house. Maybe people still want to be around me even when I can't make something inspiring and gourmet for the potluck. Maybe my kids still love me when I can't play. Maybe my husband still chooses me even when I need his help.
Maybe helping me, accommodating me, listening to me, forgiving me, reminding me are all ways that people can love me? What if these things aren't a burden, but a receptor for love to flow in to my life? What if it is okay for me to receive love and beauty and support?
What if I can be sick and inspiring? What if I can be anxious and a teacher? What if I can be depressed and still building community?
What if there are more ways to be a human than the shiny plastic person who doesn't cause any disruptions?
What if love is complex and messy and deep and able to survive difficulty?
What if I am okay even when I'm not okay?
What if you are okay right now? Just the way you are. What if we don't have to wait for the wild, juicy, delicious. impossibly miraculous realization that everything we experience is right and good just because we are experiencing it? What if everything we call "bad" is actually an invitation to say yes to loving ourselves and opening to allow others to love us?
I don't think I would have been able to entertain these questions in the depth of the dark. I wouldn't have believed it was possible. But now that I have allowed myself to receive help from doctors, friends, healers, plants, etc, I am able to look back and see all of the ways that I was loved even when I couldn't feel loveable. I didn't give up.
Don't give up.
I recently read a quote that said "Every storm runs out of rain." It was attributed to Maya Angelou. I think this is true. And well-watered soil germinates many seeds. The sun will come again. And another storm will come. When it does, I hope I can remember these questions.
This is why I write. To help me remember.