The Great and Hard

(taps mic) Um, can I have just a minute, please? Thanks.

Sarah Love and I started giving every day a word and if you don’t count “ugh” or “omg” as legitimate pieces of the english language you probably won’t appreciate this game. But in the spirit of our fun, if I had to give this last month a word it would be “CHANGE” (along with !!!!!, OMG, ughhhhh, and EEEE!!!) and of course  CHANGE has felt like it’s been inviting itself into every possible room in the house (of my life. Guys, I like metaphors.)

One big change that has really turned my attention to a lot of other change has been a lifestyle shift on my part. After months of hormonal voodoo craziness and really unsettled energy patterns, I started a super crazy eating regimen. Diet? Did someone say Diet?? Not me... I’ve cut out a bunch of stuff for 30 days and along with the dazzling clarity that was promised comes just that: dazzling clarity. Thing is, all the testimonials of this regimen made this sound like a good thing. Clearly, they were in the throes of a post-regimen manic sugar binge. I’d think clarity is “dazzling” too if I had a jelly doughnut in my hand too.

In therapy, I talked to people a lot about how life is great and hard and great. Turns out whoever came up with this was right. Life isgreat and hard and great and hard.

I am really lucky to have never struggled with any serious addictions but even the short time I’ve been drinking the kool-aid here (or I guess, not drinking it) has shown me how much I used my daily cup of coffee and glass of wine to mildly blur out the hard. To not think. To just power me through or hand me an excuse to go couch potato for the night.

And knowing this, I’m seeing more and more how I much I loved giving control over to forces outside of my being. You name it family, work, husband, school, friends, all had major shares in the stock of my life. Doling out responsibility for my choices was (still is)  a favorite pastime. And it feels hard and heavy and I hope eventually good to pick the reins back up.

I don’t think this is shocking. I think this is pretty human. Even Jesus asked for a break from the responsibility, though I’d like to point out he was allowed some wine and I guess that’s fair. He was frighteningly open to the hard stuff. What kind of fool…

Anyway, this all helps me think about the idea of transformation and how we’re sold this image of a shiny new self-package that’s mailed to you overnight once you decide to change. Pardon me but I cry bull.shit. If we lose 10 pounds we’ll be able to wear skinny jeans and finally be happy! If we stop drinking all of our relationships will mend! If we whiten our teeth we’ll FINALLY get that guy’s attention and he’ll marry us and we’ll have babies who will never need braces! No. Just no. There’s no easy way out of this. It is hard and great and hard and great and hard!

When we decide to change, when life requires us to do so, things tend to fall apart before they come back together. Because the simple act of showing up for life, really being there with people, with ourselves in anything less than the best of times, is hard (and scary and nauseating.)

And great, because that’s where the good happens. That’s where we touch each other and remember we’re not totally left to our own silly devices. This is where the slow growth, the almost unnoticeable edging begins and carves out the new, the hard, the great, the painful and the good. The really, really good.

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