I sit here this morning feeling fairly broken. I have many great things going for me. I just successfully completed my first semester in grad school. I’m over two and a half years alcohol free. I have a great marriage. I have sweet dogs that bring me joy on a daily basis. No matter how many amazing things I have going for me, though, sometimes shitty things happen anyways. Sometimes the economy is upside down. Sometimes the world has a global health crisis. And all too often, everyone seems divided about how to handle these things.
I’ve spent a lot of time these last few months being pissed off. I’ve followed the experts, I’ve read the evidence, and I’ve compared the models. I’ve made my mind up on what is right for me and my family, and then I continued to judge and ruminate over how everyone else SHOULD be doing things differently. It made me full of rage because every day, someone was doing something that SHOULD be done differently.
I’ve spent so much time angry and exhausted and guess what? It didn’t change ANYTHING. I have no control over the outside world. The only thing I managed to accomplish with three months of anger …is the ability to completely ignore how I’m feeling about this pandemic. I’ve spent so much time focusing on what everyone else SHOULD be doing, that I got to blissfully ignore my own emotions about this crisis. I masterfully escaped the fear, anxiety, and grief in the only way I’ve ever known how – running away from it.
Today, I say farewell to this old defense. Avoidance, you are no longer needed. Thank you for what you did for me before. You protected me when I couldn’t face reality. But I am now a strong woman who can face uncertainty and get through it. Today, I can lean into uncomfortable feelings and work through them. Today, I can focus on myself and what I can control. Today, I can let the rest of the world worry about itself. Just like my old friend, Alcohol, use to serve me well and then it didn’t…you, Avoidance, are the same.