I just ignored an older gentleman’s advances in a Walgreen’s and he retaliated by making really loud comments about “smelly Pakis who don’t use deodorant” while gesticulating wildly in my direction. I pretended that I didn’t hear what he was saying, mostly because I was tired.
I left the store with my bottle of Olly’s Goodbye Stress and a kombucha, feeling humiliated and dejected, but all with the dull edge of familiarity. Let’s face facts: I was born in Brooklyn and I am American, but I don’t always feel welcome in America, especially since about 9/11/2001 when people started to take the color of my skin very…personally.
So, here I am, just trying to navigate through all of this on my way to work, or to Walgreen’s, or wherever, and unbeknownst to assholes everywhere, I’m very worried and very sad about any number of other things, like:
– My miscarriage. Will I ever be a mom?
– My extreme commute to work (3 hours each way, because the company moved to Stamford)
– Quantum entanglement (more on that later, hahaha)
– Some fun, new health issues I talked to the doctor about last week
– My dad fell on a patch of ice after the last nor’easter…hope he’s ok
– And so on…
Life is hard. And even though “life being hard” is probably the reason why a lot of people are assholes in the first place, it never occurs to said assholes that life is probably also very hard for the person they’re “assholing” at. It’s a vicious cycle.
BUT, in starting this adventure on The Daily Feels, I am lifted and here’s why:
SHARING is everything. When I miscarried, I was so vocal about what happened. But, being an over-sharer led to a few revelations. First off, I learned that miscarriages are incredibly fucking common. Yet, for such a common occurrence, miscarriages are also a very taboo topic of conversation (especially in Eastern cultures). Ladies just don’t discuss what’s happening with their lady parts, right? Well, I wouldn’t have known just how common miscarriages are if I didn’t talk so damned much! Person after person after person after person, in hushed tones, revealed to me their own experiences with miscarrying, stillbirths, D&Cs, all of it. Here we were feeling downright ashamed and alone when, according to the March of Dimes, as many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (July 13, 2017). Go figure.
Perhaps if I had known that sooner, the sensation of being a failure as a wife, daughter, granddaughter, and woman wouldn’t have had the chance get its hooks so deep into my brain and my heart. Who knows?
Anyway, all of that said, I wanna shout out to all the over-sharers and over-feelers out there who are constantly trying to “tone it down” and not be “too much” for the other people around them. Something to consider: You’re enough and you’re fine just the way you are. If people aren’t down with your feels, then you can always just spend more time with…yourself. Find ways to reveal more of your power and potential to your harshest critic: you!
Learn to enjoy your own company! You can’t pour from an empty cup, so treat yourself to solitude every now and then. Here are a few ways that I maximize my time with myself. Maybe there’s something here you can try this week:
- Bullet journaling. I don’t really have the time for long-form or freeform entries, so I am using bullets/prompts of my own creation to track my overall productivity and well being. I’m noticing patterns that are informing lifestyle changes, which is very useful. If you’re not into writing, try Woebot. He’ll capture the data for you for free.
- Be an armchair scholar! Pick a topic and explore it. Tackle it as though it were a school assignment. Break out the highlighter, take notes, write a paper when you’re done. You don’t have to be in school to learn stuff. And, now that you’re grown, you create the curriculum. So maybe today’s lesson is quantum entanglement (I’m obsessed!), maybe it’s sewing or cross stitching, maybe it’s welding or the basic plumbing…whatever. Explore Udemy, Skillshare, or Google Scholar for inspo. I haven’t tried com but that looks fun, too! Your employer might have a subscription to Lynda.com, so look into available resources and learn something new!
- Take control of your feeds on social media. If social media tends to annoy or depress you, put a little more energy into telling the algorithms how to behave. Like, follow, and engage with accounts that share good stuff and your feeds will transform themselves into a trove of inspiration. I love all of Brain Pickings’ social media output. Love @PaperFashion on Insta and @hitrecord, @plus_socialgood, @nypl all give me life on Twitter. Further, you can avoid creating an “echo chamber” by carving out some time to stay informed by getting the latest in current events directly from reliable news sources. (Last year, we all learned the hard way that social media isn’t the best delivery system for news anyway, right? #FakeNews)