Numbing ourselves

I have had those times in my life where I knew I was doing too much, and yet I did not know how to step off the fast-moving train. It often runs through my mind that sometimes being on a fast-moving train means that it is easier (or there is no time) to focus on the pain that we might be holding in life. The thought often crosses my mind — do I stay focused in order to ignore what is painful?

In the book, Rising Strong, Brene Brown discusses what we do to numb the pain in our life.

“We do that by numbing the pain with whatever provides the quickest relief. We can take the edge off emotional pain with a whole bunch of stuff, including alcohol, drugs, food, sex, relationships, money, work, caretaking, gambling, affairs, religion, chaos, shopping, planning, perfectionism, constant change, and the Internet.

And just so we don’t miss it in this long list of all the ways we can numb ourselves, there’s always staying busy: living so hard and fast that the truths of our lives can’t catch up with us. We fill every ounce of white space with something so there’s no room or time for emotion to make itself known.” Page 63

This does not mean the pain has to be gut wrenching. It might just be a dull ache, but we all have a past and often we believe we were left short-changed. Even those that might have had the dream family, childhood, and everything they ever wanted had pain in their life.

The idea comes and goes in my life — am I living so hard and fast, that my past cannot catch up to me? I have been an orphan for 15 years, and there are days when I forget what it is like to have parents. What would it be like to have my mom experience me throughout my pregnancy? What would it be like if she could share what I was like in the womb? Did I kick a lot? How big of a baby was I? What was I like when I was born? That is my reality, but there are times when I would rather get on the fast-moving train, stay busy, and not think about the hard stuff.

Skeletons + love

Sometimes videos that go viral make you laugh. Others make you cry. Some just make you think. This one made me think and made me cry. If you have not seen it yet, the “skeleton video” as it is being called is one that promotes conversation about love and diversity. It is definitely one that is worth taking the time to watch. “One Love” by Macklemore in the background only encourages more emotion inside.

Be sure to check out the website behind the video: Love Has No Labels.

What to wear today?

Do you ever have those days when you cannot decide what to wear? Of course you do, we all have them. Even men have them. Although I have a hunch that women have them much more often. Most likely it is our hormones. I cannot tell you how often in the past I ended up on the floor of the closest in tears (and trust me I rarely cry) because nothing fit, or nothing felt right on my body that day.

My usual instinct is to always be comfortable. Presentable, but comfortable. What makes things more complicated is when I have to do a presentation, whether in front of a larger group of people, or a group of leaders. It makes me think that much more about being comfortable while also presentable. I occasionally miss the years of my life when I worked from home and my only “clothing” mission of the day was that I take a shower before Chris came home from work. I could at times go days before ever leaving the house. I do not have that luxury anymore. Each day is a new day with all of its newness, oldness, and everything in between.

nothing_to_wearWhen I came across this photo on Pinterest, I thought “oh man that is so me.” On those days when I have to give a presentation and all I want to do is be ever so cozy, and yet I cannot be. Instead, I need to be a bit more put together. I need to be more aware of how what I wear does not distract from the ideas I am sharing or the strategy I may be rolling out. In the end, dress, clothes, and what we wear matters. That does not mean that I believe that you have to dress up, but what you put together and how you present yourself matters.

Does it matter for men in the same way? Yes and no. In many ways I have seen it first hand where a guy can wear a t-shirt and jeans and it not matter if he looks less “put together” and yet if a woman wore it in the same situation she would be considered dressed down. Not fair, but at the moment it is the state of things.

Embrace the days where you sit on the floor of your closet. See if you can find something that can express who you are supposed to be today, who you are, and who you want to be.

Tears, teeth, and that smell

Yesterday I had a dentist appointment. It was a rough day in all ways. We got some not so fun news this week, Chris was traveling, a not so fun day at work, the list goes on. I will not bore you with the details. I am in the dentist chair getting my teeth cleaned, exhausted and almost falling asleep. I keep smelling something that feels familiar and realize it is my hygienist. I told her I was having a rough day and she was great, just kept quiet and did not talk too much. In turn it allowed me to be quiet.

Behind the big green glasses they give you to block their bright light, I felt tears come to my eyes. I had just spoken to my sister on my drive over to the dentist office. The smell reminded me of something from my past which in turn made me think of my mom, thus the tears. I was having one of those “I miss my mom moments” while my head was lower than my feet in the dentist chair. “Seriously?” I am thinking. “I have tears in my eyes at the dentist?” Most likely the emotions surrounding all the events of the past few days are bringing the water works, but did it have to be at the dentist?

No one noticed. Funny how I truly hate going to the dentist, and yet at this moment of cleansing, when they scrape, floss the crap out of your gums, and prod in your mouth, that it was the hour in my day that I needed to just let go, and hide behind the green glasses under the bright light. It always amazes me how the littlest smell can set off emotions in your body, bring back memories from childhood, and make you miss someone who has been gone for 20 years. I was having a day where I wanted to curl in a ball, scream and yell, throw a tantrum, and have my mom tell me it was all going to be alright.

My sister consoled me, Chris later consoled me, but sometimes all you want is your mom. Life is real and raw and painful sometimes. People let us down. We move on, we grow thicker skin, and somehow we make it through it all. Sometimes though we just want our mom to tell us that we did all we could do, and that we are going to be alright. I am looking forward to a new day full of opportunities to be quiet and listen, dance and run, and snuggle and hold those that are dear close to me.

Oh, and I have clean teeth now.

Conversations Matter…

Every day, every interaction is a story. Often the stories that unfold in front of our eyes, are not fun. There can be events and actions from others that transpire and make our story turn into a drama. Other days the story is a comedy and we laugh and have fun throughout the process. Regardless of the genre of our story, the key to it all is that we have control over how we act and react to the stories that fill our days.

I just finished reading the book: “Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillian, and Al Switzler. It is such a great book both for work and personal life. I took copious notes of ideas that I could use in a professional setting and at home. I am the first to admit that I am not always on my best behavior each and every day. Sometimes an individual’s comment spark the wrong bone in your body, and a reaction occurs. Another individual can make you feel angry, frustrated, hurt, even invisible. There could be a multitude of emotions. What I loved about this book is it helps you to take control of your emotions, be upfront, and not hide behind difficult conversations.

“If we take control of our stories, they won’t control us. People who excel at dialogue are able to influence their emotions during crucial conversations. They recognize that while it’s true that at first we are in control of the stories we tell—after all, we do make them up of our own accord—once they’re told, the stories control us. They first control how we feel and then how we act. Any as a result, they control the results we get from our crucial conversations.” Page 111

Where I sometimes struggle the most is how the story controls us. At times, the story of the day agonize us. We lose sleep, we go on and on about the drama to friends, family, or our spouse so they can feel our pain. Other times we might discuss the issue and talk it out as a resolution so that tomorrow we can rewrite our story. How then can we keep the conversation in our control? How can we ensure that the conversation (especially the bad ones) do not control us, make us unhappy, and mean that we lose sleep? We are all writers for our stories. We decide what will bug us, or get under our skin. We decide what controls us.

What will you decide about the stories you create today?