You’ll be on your bed, probably, in the dark, curled up like a question mark – which is fitting, really, since the thought on repeat in your crazed, exhausted mind is whatthefuckisallthisfor? whatthefuckisallthisfor? whatthefuckisallthisfor?
What the fuck is all this for?
It’s all too much. You’re pushing and pushing – for the guy, for the girl, for the promotion, for the recognition, for something, anything, to make the effort worth it. Because shit. You cannot give a single iota more of yourself to this thing that you want. Need. Must have. And then they don’t love you back, or at least not enough, and the promotion goes to somebody else. They don’t say thank you and it doesn’t get Retweeted and somebody else is chosen and so in between heaving sobs you’ll ask, once more: what the fuck is it all for?
It’s for everything, sweet, wounded one.
I promise you.
The way you feel right now? This is where the magic happens.
When finally the tears come, that is your genesis. You gotta smash a few things to let the light in, you know? And in the ruins, in the discarded shards of what you thought you wanted, something will glimmer. It will catch your eye and you’ll focus on that: the tiny bit of beautiful in the mess that you’ve made. It will be enough to make you think, okay. One more shot. You’ll rebuild, focusing on that one thing that made you believe you could. It will be a new focal point. A new reason. And what you make the second time around will be stronger, better, more you than ever before.
The same goes for the third, fourth, and ninety-ninth time too.
When you’re face down in the dirt, at the bottom of the proverbial hole, you cannot believe that it will ever be better. But I promise: this has an end point. This will not last forever.
It might, though, go on a little longer than you’d like.
Life is a bitch. A curious, conniving, backstabbing ass, that raises you up to shoot you down and that is just how it is. Ups, and downs, and rain is always gonna come. Know this: it isn’t having the low points that defines you – it’s how you deal with them. So buckle in for the lesson of a lifetime when I say: you get a day. A single day to get being beaten by life out of the way. Twenty-four hours. And then? And then onwards, skilled fighter, for there are lessons to be learned and you won’t find them eating cereal out of the box on your sofa.
Wake up early and fix a big breakfast. Eat it alone, in silence, without your phone. Acknowledge your thoughts. Thank them for coming, and then let them go. Open a notebook. Write down, in one sentence, what is bothering you – what your fear is. Ask yourself, what’s the worst case scenario? If they walk away or don’t say it back or you get fired or hear a “no” – what is the very worse case scenario?
Chances are that “written aloud”, already this fear will loosen its grip on you.
Focus on how you want to feel. Loved? Valued? Worthy? In control? Compassionate? Adventurous? Sexy? Sensual? Pledge to do one thing today, immediately, to encourage these feelings – and two more things this week, too.
Call your best friend, dress a little fancier than usual, and be brave. Know that you might not have the answers, but that you’re prepared to listen: to the people who love you, to the people you respect, to your own heart. Listen.
Slow down, cancel some plans, be with yourself. When you’re at the very bottom, when you can’t see where you should put your next step, stand still. Take stock of what you’ve got, how far you’ve come, if this thing that eludes you – do you actually, really, genuinely want it? Or is desiring it habit from the old you who you no longer are, now that you know this pain?
Complete a task. It doesn’t matter what it is – pick something from your list that can be executed now. You’ll feel better for doing something, even if it is simply collecting your prescription or getting a food shop done. Keep breathing. Go to bed early after a hot bath and tomorrow will be – no matter how imperceptibly – better.
Imagine how you’ll feel in another six months. Will you even remember this?
Use this hurt, this frustration, to inform your next decisions. Focus on what feels good, and lean, unapologetically, into that. Wrestle for your happiness, but know that the best people aren’t happy, they’re whole. That means fighting the good fight, knowing what you can change and what you can’t – and having the good grace to know the difference.
This is your becoming. If flowers can teach themselves how to bloom after winter passes, says Noor Shirazie, then so can you.