January was hard, wasn’t it? It’s often where the post holiday blues meet the reality of mother nature. And if you’re in Chicago, like me, that usually means blizzard conditions and freezing temps. And that’s exactly what we’ve had for the last week.
But for me, January adds an extra layer of grey. It’s the anniversary month of something pretty painful in my past. Though I’m not quite ready to publicly divulge the details, I also don’t think it’s entirely necessary. Because I’m sure everyone knows what I’m talking about, because everyone has something like this in their life. Something in their past that hurts. A death or a disappointment. A bad relationship or a bad experience. A bad choice made that led to destruction or despair.
As the blizzard struck last weekend, I happened to be at my parents’ house. I felt stuck and stranded,which is why I missed my weekly post. But certainly it was the best place to wait out the storm.
And much of the time I spent there, I reflected about the January I’ve had. And I realized that this year’s anniversary was so different from the previous ones. It was more overwhelming, more painful, and honestly harder to get through than ever before. But it’s because this year, I made myself sit with it, and feel it.
No one wants to feel pain, right? And in our busy lives, which are often filled with hectic schedules and never-ending to do lists, it’s easy to distract ourselves and push away the pain. I’m kind of a master at this. I stay busy and set goals. Right now, I’m working on my fitness goals of one race per month, plus dating, plus seeing friends, plus starting an etsy store, plus running a blog, plus working full time…and plus and plus and plus. All things that I want to be doing. But that’s a lot to take on, isn’t it? And while part of me is thrilled by the excitement all of these things to do, I wonder if on some level, it’s just another way to distract. That’s the easiest way to not feel it, right? If you max out your commitments, there’s no time to let the pain in.
But truth is, that only solves the problem of feeling pain in the moment. Not feeling it today doesn’t mean that it goes away. It just means that it’s lying dormant for the time being. And believe me, it will come out eventually. So as busy as I’ve been, and as much as I didn’t want to sit with the past, I made a conscious effort to do so. And this year, I’ve come out the other side just a little bit stronger.
A few things that I’ve learned this year from my experience. 1) Pain sucks. But it is normal and nothing to hide from. Though we often avoid anything painful on instinct, it can be counter productive to do so. 2) Asking for help is not weakness. Fortunately I had a few pillars of strength in my network of friends and family who saw me through. 3) You’ll heal on your own time, and at your own pace. This is something that I’ve struggled with for years. Why is this taking so long, and why does it still hurt? Because there is no time frame, and healing is a process that happens when you are ready. 4) Who said you have to make something sweet from the sour? Sometimes you need to skip the lemonade and go straight for a lemony cocktail. But watch the quantity…the hangover headache only adds to your problem, and takes nothing away.
Until next time