Monday, January 4, 2016

New Year: New responsibilities and gratefulness

I woke up this morning thinking about....getting coffee in me as soon as possibly can. Coffee is honestly my first priority. I feed the cats before I make my coffee only because they get loud and obnoxious if I don't, and they stare at me with their little eyes of hunger. I love my daughter but I hate if she's awake when I get up because I don't get to make my coffee in surly silence and let it slowly have its way with me. She always asks me "How was your sleep, mum?". Bloody kids nowadays!

It's the ritual, a ritual I've developed and got used to over years. It's part of the finely tuned machine that is me, well no, it's rather, one of the things that work really well in my life. I can count on it working every time without fail.


I get my favorite morning cup, it's now a new one since Christmas because Bee got me a bigger than average pink and green cup, a happy cup. I French press my coffee and froth my milk (almond milk nowadays because using dairy or even soy is so noughties in coffee). I make myself a hell of a cappuccino that guarantees to kick start my day. Unlike so much in life it delivers on its promises every damn. Maybe it's because my expectation are kept to a minimum that early in the day and I really only want its power to go work on me.

I used to drink several cups a day, but since the breakdown it just makes me anxious to suck 'em down like that, so I sneak a rocket fuel strength cup past my brain in the morning before all its faculties are online properly. It guarantees I don't slack off and go back to bed.

I love the ritual because it's made to work every day and there's no except to that.

Everything else is up in the air now though. Everything.

What I do for a living.

How I dress.

How I define myself.

How I feel about myself.

Who I think I am and who I want others to think who I am.

I almost fell into the gratitude trap the other day. I almost went with the avalanche of people who are sold on the idea that you have to be grateful. I even went as far as to get a little notebook out to write three things in every night that I'm grateful for. I even picked out a jar that I could slip little notes of gratitude into. But then something happened. The Universe conspired to save me from the madness.

I follow Liz Gilbert (Facebook) on Facebook. I think it's mainly because she's everything I'm not even though we're about the same age. She's full of grace and she finds the silver lining of every cloud, even clouds that are no-hopers for silver lining or clouds that have a silver lining. There's no stopping this woman when it comes to being inspirational, motivational, happy (even when sad) and even more sunshiny than the sun itself (I know you're asking of that's even possible theoretically - just look at Liz Gilbert - it is).

Personally I kind of relate more to JK Rowling and her smart comebacks at trolls on twitter. You don't know if Rowling is happy or sad but you can count on her comebacks.  A lot less pressure there for people like me.

Anyway......

Liz Gilbert posted something on Facebook about her happiness jar (eerily similar to the concept of a gratitude jar with a hint of originality) and I started reading the comments. Normally I always say that you should never read the comments but I'm so glad I did. It was like there are no trolls in the whole entire world. Everyone was agreeing with Liz. People were sitting down with their notes and making mandalas out of them at the end of the jar (those jars do get full, you know). People were snail mailing their notes to the people mentioned on them. There were letter/e-mail writing galore and art projects as far as the eye could see. It was insane.

I realized that I wasn't a gratituder because I would always fall short of these people's efforts.

What really sealed the deal was a Barbara Ehrenrich's article The Selfish Side of Gratitude. You can always count on Barbara to help you take insane positivity down to a manageable level because a little, what's the word I'm looking for, ah yes, cynical on the subject and she's making a living out of it. While I think that Barbara goes a little too far in that article (remember I almost bought into the gratitude journal and jar craze....) I think she's right.

I've thought a lot about that gratitude thing. A lot. I think that a lot of the gratituders (that's a noun now, just so you know) use gratitude to numb themselves and to get through their "white people guilt". A lot of the time it's like "I feel like shit but I'm grateful". It can be a powerful way of numbing yourself and you either how no clue how to work trough your pain or you fear doing it.

I think we get is so wrong when we think that being happy should be our normal state of mind. I think we get it so wrong when we continuously work on being happy or at least to see the positive in everything that happens to us. None of that will ever give you the peace you're looking for. None of that will save you from yourself or others. None of that is an end destination we should work to get to. None of it is healthy.

I hope there will come a day when more people realize that life is a serious of feeling all different stuff, having all sort of emotions and of having to accept that about ourselves if we want our lives, and us, to change. If I'm brutally honest with you about having one week left to go until I start my new job I will talk to you about my apprehension, my fear of not fitting in, of failing and my worry about what to wear to fit in, and a lot more.

The excitement has started to subside.

The feeling of being awesome because I got this job at just the right time and because I kicked arse in the interview have subsided.

The worry and anxiety of it has begun.

I dream about it and I dream about my old job.

I dream about failing.

I dream about not knowing what do in the job and I worry about not knowing PRECISELY what's expect of me.

Before you start feeling sorry for me or think of me as less or even worse, still afflicted by poor mental health, I will tell you it's perfectly normal to feel that way. That's what change does to you. It excites you scares you. This last week before I start is going to have to be a week of tender loving acceptance of all of that, of all of me, and I will have to spend some time working through all that if I'm to feel OK about it in a week's time.

It's about accepting that I'm human after all and no amount of gratituding is going to help me here.

I'm just saying.

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