I had a nice little pity party for myself this week. It was charmingly planned out with lots of sighing, exasperated floor sits, and huffing around in front of my husband so he could see how hard I was working. It was just lovely!
He didn’t get the invite so he showed up to this party very confused. Since I never explained what the theme was, he just bumbled around like “What’s going on? Should I get an appetizer together? Wait, we have that manchego!”
The party ended as so many parties of my youth ended: with me crying a little into a bathroom mirror. This time there were two small children calling for me outside the door and a still confused husband trying to usher them away.
Such a lovely party, thank you all for coming!
What happened that day was nothing much at all. I felt stressed, overburdened, and unseen. All I had to do was vocalize those feelings and they would’ve gone away. But I didn’t, I chose to give them space to flourish and magnify. It was intentional, I wanted to feel it.
The beautiful thing is I was aware of the absurdity of my pity party as I threw it. It was like a higher me was watching the lower me. I saw my feelings weren’t truly valid and could easily be remedied. I internally laughed at my huffing around. But the lower me held on tight because that lower me wanted to huff so I huffed hard. I wanted to feel like a martyr.
This is exactly how I got to panic attacks last year so when I looked in the mirror I kept asking: “Why are you choosing this AGAIN? This party theme is sooo last year!”
I know why.
Because it was my habit to martyr myself for three years. Habits, even the crappy ones, feel good sometimes. They’re comfortable. They’re like your old nasty ass gym shoes that really need to be tossed but you’re drawn to because the footbeds have molded to you. They cradle you in their gross familiarity. They’re home.
There is so much energy in me since I was introduced to the fragile nature of mental health. The majority of it is for the better, but I still end up crying in the bathroom sometimes. I believe that’s a wonderful thing, though, because it means I feel all the things now. I didn’t feel them before or I felt them way delayed, but now I feel them instantly and wholly. And more importantly, I refuse to hold them in because I know they cause more harm that way.
Because of this new feelingpalooza, my life is filled with more confrontation than I’m used to. I’ve invited all the things to come out and play. Not in secret, not delayed, not hushed like we used to. I embossed the invites and sent them to the whole fucking school.
This week’s pity party was so interesting both because of its familiarity and its unfamiliarity. It was the old me but I was separated from her. I tried not to get involved and that was my mistake. I should’ve escorted the unruly guest to a side room, let her express her feelings, and changed the party theme. Bam. Done.
If you happen to be invited to one of my parties, pity party or confrontation party, please bear with me as I navigate this new skill of feeling and expressing all the things. Sometimes I buck it up and cry in the mirror or cause full family arguments, but it’s all out of love, I promise.
I own my story, all of it. I am grateful for where I am but that means I am also grateful for the road that got me here. My higher self wants to drive now. She’s taking the wheel but only has her learner’s permit so some of the advanced maneuvers like unlearning martyrdom and learning healthy expression may take a while. There will be hills and bumps and scratches, but the destination is clear and that driver is friggin tenacious.
THINGS THEY FORGOT TO MENTION:
Your mind loves habits but cannot differentiate between the good ones and the bad ones. All it knows is the familiar and breaking them takes a very conscious, very tenacious driver. Setbacks are part of the deal, so please throw out those old nasty gym shoes, you deserve an upgrade.