My grandmother used to say, “You catch more bees with honey than vinegar.”
She also used to say, “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
She was a complicated woman.
These past few pandemic months, I’ve been trying really, really hard in bringing more gratitude in my life. Probably violently so. Forced gratitude shining through my blacked-out windows. Actively fighting the pandemic blues on a daily basis. (I’m not talking about toxic positivity, by the way, I’m definitely feeling my feelings — but making sure I don’t ruminate for days on end. I still have dishes to do.)
I’ve had a long history of negative self-talk, depression, and impostor syndrome. But with a mixture of getting older (I just turned 34!), and years of therapy, AND not having a full-time job for nearly a year, something slowly started creeping in beyond my hyper-emotional self. I started being able to understand the difference between values and goals. I am valued because I’m a kind, determined, silly, good friend and family member. Not having a job or a relationship — well, those can come and go. What always remains is myself.
So, I’m calling it for what it is. I am grateful. I’m grateful for my chubby, mid-30s body. I’m grateful for my beautiful friends I met later in life. I’m grateful for my opinionated, supportive family. My little apartment with the morning light streaming in the windows. Sometimes I’m even grateful for being single, so I can find the power within myself, lounge around gloriously, without a second opinion.
The thing is, when I started really feeling the gratitude, the feeling started punching outward. I started writing spontaneous love letters to my friends. I helped someone jumpstart their car all by myself (I AM WOMAN HEAR ME ROAR). I see the wrinkles, freckles, dark circles around my face and smile instead of frown in disapproval. It’s true what they say about habits forming, it becomes easier. Somehow, a lot of my negative self-talk has been replaced with peace.
I recognized that I am a human being that is not separate from other people. The pandemic shows how truly we “all in this together” we actually are. I started practicing, unironically, the Lovingkindness Meditation (By Sharon Salzberg). Dear god, do I actually love people sometimes???
For most of my life, I always thought I was outside, looking in. An observer. But no. We are a part of this earth, and that means contributing to ourselves and others, whether or not we mean to. This also means we are not exempt from pain, suffering, grief, loss, overwhelming love, isolation, belly laughter, and mountainous hugs (when we can, again — perhaps soon!).
This is your life, this is my life, and we are in this together. Two strange flesh entities wandering the planet until further notice. I can’t believe it, but it is true, and I am profoundly grateful.
I hope you find moments of grace today. ❤