I haven't written in this blog in a LONG. DANG. TIME. I kept telling myself perfectly reasonable explanations. "I have a 9 week old baby" "I am so busy with Damsel in this Dress" etc. I also told myself some fairly UNreasonable explanations. "You don't know everything. Why the heck are you writing?" "Who the heck cares what you have to say?" AND my very favorite- "I'll do it when........"
Which is why I am here. I'm sick of "doing it when". It's been pretty freaking poisonous in my life. How many people say "We've been soooo busy" when you ask them how they are doing? It's an interesting thing. It's like "busy" is an emotion? Apparently "fine" and "good" are emotions as well? Maybe I should be asking the question in a more straightforward, less vague, manner. "Hi. What is getting you out of bed in the morning lately? What is your greatest fear? On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your current level of pride in yourself?" Fine. Good. Busy. I've been busy too. I've been busy avoiding why I was put here on earth. I've been busy avoiding possible and inevitable criticism. I've been busy living smaller so I wouldn't have to live as big as I know I can.
And mostly, I've been fine, good, and busy at telling myself that I will do *insert mind-blowing, passionate activity here* when I am *insert perfectionist, judgemental, impossible standard here*.
When I have customers come into my booth (did you guys ever know that you're like mini-therapy sessions for me every time I do a show? I am literally sent angels every time I work, and you all teach, inspire, and stun me!!) at renaissance festivals, I hear some version of "I'll do it when" almost every time. This is how it goes down. A woman comes in. I talk to her and get to know her (hopefully, it's not so busy that I can actually speak....oh, and also hopefully I don't have low blood sugar.). I find a corset for her and lovingly lace her in. She'll usually say something like, "Wow, I feel 5 inches taller!" and when I show her the mirror, I usually get an incredibly positive reaction on her part. Some women cry. Some women swear. Some women's eyes nearly pop out of their skulls. There is no way to adequately describe the intense feeling of support that you get from a good corset. Suddenly, everything is okay, including your body that you are usually yelling at and picking apart.
I would say that 80% of the time, the women feel the energy that I sewed into these corsets, they feel the love I have for them, and they feel the sweet, succulent joy of loving oneself. They purchase the corset, and their life gets better. I'm not freaking joking. Do you know how many success stories I have from women who come back a year later? I've seen massive weight loss, escape from abusive relationships, adequate weight gain, new relationships formed, new hobbies started, new businesses created, and new lives formed. I'm not so egotistical as to say that me and my corsets did it, but I am positive that we were a substantial stepping stone on a much better, higher, smoother path. And that's how you get better, right? Small steps, made every day, mixed in with a few massive leaps.
The other 20%? I didn't forget. They sound like my brain, a lot of the time. "I really like this corset, but I will get nice things for myself when I have lost the 30 pounds I've been promising myself I would lose". I tell them that I will gladly alter it for them. I tell them that I'm here for that journey with them. But, nope. "Yeah, I will just wait." Dangit!!! To me, it's not about losing a sale. I'm doing fine and I am blessed with what I need. I want THOSE WOMEN to at least take that feeling of pride and carry it through the rest of the day with them! I don't want it to do a 180 and suddenly turn into "Well, I was good, but now I am not."
Here's the problem, and this is something that's taken me a long time to start to realize. When we say that "We'll do it when we are better", it's a really good lie. It sounds like we're cheerleading ourselves onto greatness! It sounds like we're rewarding ourselves for good behavior. But...are we? I know everyone doesn't think like me, but I know how this goes in my brain. I tell myself that I will be nice to myself "when" and be happy "when" and then I punish myself every time I don't do something that is in alignment with that heartless, rule-crazy "when".
But, it's just so tempting to think about the "better you". Guys, "better me" is not going to have these same thoughts, feelings and habits! "Better me" is going to arrive at "better" and then never ever make any mistakes ever again forever.
Hmm....."Better me" will STILL always mean that I'm saying that I'm inadequate in my current state. When you pick up one end of the stick, you pick up the other. Now, don't worry, I DID realize that when you pick up the negative end of the stick first, there is still hope, because there is always hope......BUT it goes around in a crazy circle. "I am not good" still says "I'll be better when". The only solution I can figure is to throw the stick into a fire and declare "I AM GREAT".
So, how are you? No, really? Fine? Busy? Good? Isn't it funny how comfortable we all are with those rote, colorless adjectives. If you need some help, I've got some words for what you are. this is what YOU are right now. In this very moment. No "whens".
I made myself a post-it note that I stuck on my bathroom mirror. Do you know what it says? "I do everything right". It's the best thing I could have ever told myself. And you know what's crazy....after a while, it started feeling more and more true. Even when I made "mistakes" and "failed", I would just say, "Well, I do everything right, so that must have been the right thing to do so that I could improve, thrive, and be abundant!"
Lately, I've been taking it to the next level. "Everyone does everything right." Phew. Now that is intense. I mean, I just wrote a whole blog post on how women come into my booth and talk themselves out of being kind to themselves, and I did make it sound awfully...."wrong" for them to do so. BUT, in a "We are all wondrous, and we do everything right!" world, I can more clearly see these women with compassion. I can empathize, having been there many times myself, and I can be peaceful about them just living their lives, doing the best they can, and doing things right. I can realize that maybe all of those negative thoughts were small stepping stones too, and that we all grow and evolve in different ways.
Now, friends. Please don't think that I completely manage to emulate all of this every day. This is my own cognitive therapy. This is my daily practice. I'm hoping that by sharing it with you, you can feel better than "fine." I'm hoping that you can realize that this moment is the time for happiness. You actually can't feel happy when *insert future perfect thing here* happens, because if you feel happy....you feel happy. right. freaking. NOW! Isn't that funny? We actually can't cash in on future happiness and peace. It can't be felt before it is felt. Phew. That is mind blowing. I think my brain hurts now. Um....to wrap up, I drew you a cake. Enjoy.