For the past few months, I’ve been incredibly sad. Maybe you noticed all the emo Tweets or Facebook posts. Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you did and didn’t care. Maybe you’ve seen me out and wondered what’s wrong. More than a few people have said “You’re like Amber with the volume turned down.” And that’s exactly how I’ve felt.
The thing is, yeah, I’ve been sad, and I’ve convinced myself that I am sad because this or that has happened to me, but in all honesty, nothing has happened to me. Wait, that’s not quite right—I’ve happened to me. I’ve made choices that even in the midst of the moment I knew were dumbass choices, and I still made them, and then I wake up and wonder why I feel so hopeless. And I wallow. And I relive each soul-crushing decision or fixate on each toxic person I let poison my well.
There’s the key folks—I let these things happen. But for the past few months I’ve been blaming others. I gave up my control and I traveled so far down the rabbit hole that I couldn’t see my way out. And on the way down I grabbed onto anything and anyone who might be able to slow the free fall.
And when it felt like rock bottom—an omnipresent gloom and doom—a few people came in and gave me a healthy dose of tough love. They reminded me that I am strong and smart and better than the choices I’m making. And it kicked me in the ass and I wanted to say “yeah, but this person hurt me or that thing happened…” And they didn’t let me off the hook. I have a lot of those people in my life. I am lucky. I know this.
For months, I haven’t been honest with myself. I haven’t been honest with the people in my life. Here’s the great thing about being honest with yourself and those you love—when you finally are, you find your way out of the rabbit hole. You regain hope. You start moving in the direction of your truest and happiest self. I deserve that. The people I love deserve that.
Just when I think I have it figured all out, I find out I haven’t figured out much. And that’s life. The point is, I can choose. I can choose in each moment whether I will be happy or not. I keep forgetting this, but the universe keeps reminding me.
And then there’s Cheryl Strayed, whose Tiny Beautiful Things has given me so many reminders, but this one seems most appropriate for today: I’m not suggesting that one deny negative emotions, but rather that you accept them and move through them by embracing the power we have to keep from wallowing in emotions that don’t serve us well. It’s hard work. It’s important work. I believe something like forgiveness is on the other side. You’ll get there. Just try.
Here’s to trying.