Our gym has mirrors in front of the cardio equipment and I like that.
Narcissist? Doubtful. If I have narcissistic qualities, they're probably more the "blogger" flavor than the "mirror" variety.
I like those mirrors at the gym because they remind me of my strength.
Sometimes I forget my own strength, you see.
But it wasn't strength I noticed in those mirrors last summer. Last summer, I saw tears streaming down my cheeks while I ran. My knees kicked high and my arms swung strong but what I saw in that mirror was that I was too sad to give a damn that I was crying on the cardio trainer.
Or maybe I thought I was actually a bit bad-ass, what with all that sprinting through tears and all.
Either way: tears.
When Katy Perry yelled into my ear buds that, "this is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me," I lost her in translation.
I was in the midst of a doozie of a battle with depression and I thought Katy meant that THAT was the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me. That no matter how many tools I employed to keep my head above water in the sea of sadness, I would always be fighting the undertow.
What an awfully depressing thing to sing about, non?
But I just wasn't seeing things clearly.
I am remembering a moment of clarity that took place last fall. I was not at the gym, I was…elsewhere…and someone really got my goat, which obviously led me to wordlessly ask her with my eyes and face only, "what the hell is YOUR problem?"
This, of course, was what caused my AH-HA moment, because it was neither the first nor the fourth time that morning that I had to use my face to ask someone that very question.
Could I really have encountered so many goat-getters in one morning? Did EVERYONE wake up that day and put "Get Bethany's Goat" at the top of their to-do list? Or was I GIVING the goats, per se?
Didn't yo momma teach you never to give goats, B???
Prepare yourself, Kind Reader, for now I shall push this goat-getting expression far beyond its intended threshold for the pushing.
It will be beautiful.
I had to catch a goat when I was 15. The real kind. I was babysitting on a farm and they said to make sure the goat didn't get out and wouldn't you know it but that goat got OUT. So I chased that kid (of the goat, not the child variety) around that farm, dove a few times to catch him, and when I finally grabbed his collar THAT was when the goat-catching process got DIFFICULT.
Goats do not like it when you grab their collars, you see. They'll drag ya in the herbiest of jerkiest ways that they can think to drag ya. They'll buck up and they'll jump up and they'll do their goat-iest to not be GOTTEN.
And so it is from real-life field work that I can tell you it is no easy task to "get" a goat. In fact, I'd wager that if you were going to get someone's goat (of the literal, not the idiom variety), the goat owner would need to actually GIVE you her goat. On a leash. Inside a fence. Surrounded by a moat. By deeding you her land.
For that is the only-est way that a goat can be gotten.
Ya follow? If someone "gets your goat," that's your work, not theirs.
Or maybe it's their work too, but since you can only do the work of one, stick to yours.
So please consider my relevant field experience before the next time you go casually throwing around the "that person really got my goat" expression.
[So EN VOGUE you are with your expressions, you! So FUNKY, so RAD!]
Listen. Sometimes I grow weary of writing about DEPRESSION and STRUGGLES up in here. I write about these things with the intention of helping anybody who feels scary-alone in their struggles, as I did for so very long, and also because NOT writing about these things feels a lot like I'd be HIDING (ashamed of) them again.
I REFUSE to stand any longer for the shaming of depression.
But the word "self-sabotage" has been lobbed at me a couple times recently, and I am a smidge concerned that if I keep writing stories of sadnesses (which is actually EASIER than celebrating our victories, innit?) I may begin to IDENTIFY more with the messy part of me than with the part of me that really shines.
I may begin to cling to it.
So I'm navigating that. I'm tweaking it.
BUT. AND. Every time I've done a swan-dive into the deep end of the sea of sadness, I've learned something. MANY THINGS, really. These things carry a heavy price-tag (payable only in grit, sweat, time and tears), so today I'm recording just one more of the bigger take-aways from The Great Swan Dive of 2013 before I go writing about The Great Strides Forward of 2014.
Here it is:
When we are not in our healthiest place mentally (whether due to clinical depression or to the occasional human condition of simply being "off"), we don't see things clearly.
The catch is: we don't KNOW we're not seeing things clearly for the simple reason that WE ARE NOT SEEING THINGS CLEARLY.
SOit is imperative that we take it upon ourselves to watch for clues that our lens is dirty.
Here is one clue. When we're not on our A-Game, we're more sensitive, more easily insulted, more quick to give goats.
In my humble opinion, the concept of a "bad day" is [usually] less a statement about the day itself than it is about the person who is having it.
When we ask, "what the hell is HER problem?" we really should be asking, "what the love is MY problem? What am I neglecting?"
Likely answers: Sleep and/or exercise and/or gratitude and/or vegetables and/or meditation and/or other self-love goodnesses of all varieties and whatnots and whathaveyous.
All of those activities clean our lenses.
[PSST! When I say "we" here, really what I mean is, "I." But really-est, I do actually mean "we."]
Stay with me, you.
When we/I/WE are slam-dunking the above whatnots and whathaveyous, we have very few goats for the taking. The person who done-and-got-my-goat last fall could have made that same comment to me today, and because today I am in a great place [please--knock on ALL THE WOODS], my face would have only shown her love and concern. And light.
My lens is clean.
When we give it time, our messy always has a way of showing us our beautiful.
Today, I went to the gym--the same messy, beautiful warrior I have always been--and I listened to that same Katy Perry song.
Today, I locked my black pupils on my own in the mirror as I sprinted hard and triumphantly, and today I saw my truth more accurately.
Today I saw that I am diligent--INSISTENT, even--about putting one foot in front of the other--not only on the cardio machine, but IN LIFE.
Today I saw that even on days when it feels too painful to get out of bed--when I'd rather lay prostrate, clawing at the earth because the world is moving so very SWIFTLY and the air is so very THIN for the BREATHING...even on those days, I get up. I MOVE. I do what needs to be done.
I sprint through tears.
This TENACITY? This INDESTRUCTIBLE, ORIGINAL, FIERCE, KIND and LUMINOUS spirit? THIS is the part of me that you're never gonna ever take away from me.
And when I say "me" here, I really-est mean "us."
Don't get it twisted.
Hello, sweet friends.
I wrote this in case your own lens is cloudy today. I hope it helps.
Remember that post that went viral a few years ago called "Don't Carpe Diem?" Glennon Melton wrote that.
I could not possibly say enough nice things about Glennon Melton, which is why I was tickled pink when I received the invitation to participate in her latest project.
This essay and I are part of Glennon's Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project - to learn more and join us, CLICK HERE!
And to learn about Glennon's New York Times Bestselling Memoir, "Carry On, Warrior: the Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life" (just released in paperback), CLICK HERE!
I am not making this up when I say that "Carry On, Warrior" is my favorite go-to gift for ALL Mommas: Brand New Mommas and Less-New Mommas too. I keep a stack of these on hand because Lawd knows I do not ever think to buy gifts until the last minute.
Glennon's team has given me a copy of her beloved book to give to one of my beloved readers. Because they are thoughtful and kind like that.
To enter the raffle for the book (YOU WANT THIS BOOK, YOU DO), simply leave a comment below this post.
All comments count as raffle entries. If you're feeling short on words today, just write, "LOVE THIS!"
That will do nicely. :)
With so much love and light, Bethany