March 11, 2014
Filed Under: Personal
Awhile back I committed to never using the phrase “bad day”. I insisted upon never categorizing a single day as bad, but rather acknowledging that sometimes disappointing things occur in the short time frame of a day, but that doesn’t make the entire day “bad”. Well, I intentionally and thoughtfully retracted that commitment today. I visited one of my best friends, Lily, and told her I was having a bad day.
Last fall when I felt it was time to make my and Kai’s separation public, I remember receiving an email from someone seeking advice on what to do on the days that you wake up and your anxiety is so intense you can’t get out of bed. I can’t recall how I responded and unfortunately am unable to find the email to refer back to, but I’ve been thinking about this correspondence a lot today. Receiving it was the strangest sort of gift. Its unabashed acknowledgement of an emotion many people haven’t felt or won’t admit they’ve felt helped me realize that I am not alone.
Today began with a racing and emotional mind, then continued with a cancelled debit card, a flat tire on the expressway, and one unexpected bill after another. In an attempt to decompress, I went to my comfort zone, a coffee shop, only to hear a song playing overhead that poured salt into fresh wounds, followed by a realization of a poignant Facebook “unfriending”. Both of these occurrences are seemingly insignificant, but undeniably painful. It was one of those days that began with a desire to stay in bed, but choosing to power through that overwhelming emotion only to gracelessly stumble over hurdle after hurdle throughout the day, and I began to suspect perhaps that feeling to remain in hiding should have been honored, rather than ignored. Each occurrence felt like a personal attack, especially after experiencing such a sense of elation while being away the past couple weeks. Before leaving, I had a series of very difficult days but once Heather and I hit the road for Nashville a weight was lifted. It’s been frustrating and discouraging to feel like I returned home to the continuation of a bitter reality.
The truth is, I’m spent. Emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually. I’ve been “giving my all” to every little thing that’s come my way lately and I’m starting to realize when that which we choose to give our all to fails to give back, it’s time to re-evaluate the ways we spend each part of ourselves. (Sudden Realization Sidenote: We are valuable which means we need to invest, not fritter.)
It’s unusual for me to be dispiriting, as I’ve been known for being an eternal optimist who always can generate a genuine smile. I tend to keep the saddest parts of me tucked away and reserved for very carefully selected people in my life – but the more I reflect on how I felt when I received the aforementioned email, the more I think it’s important for me to be honest and raw with you right now. I want you to know that if you are feeling a sense of crippling from the weight of your life’s circumstances no matter how small or large they may be, you are not alone.
As today winds down, I plan to wind down with it by going back to the bed that I didn’t want to leave in the first place (though I likely won’t sleep because I made the irresponsible decision to drink coffee at 9pm. Whoops!). But before I do that, I just want to mention that in today’s final hours I’m making the choice not to label it as a “bad day”. It’s served as a reminder to accept these unexpected challenges as a motivation to keep fighting and to appreciate the encouraging people in my life who cherish my investment and never fail to give back. Today I am particularly thankful for my mom, to whom I tend to give the most unflattering bits of myself but she always graciously gives me love in return. For Lily, who never fails to make me laugh – but also sits patiently with me while I cry. And, strangely enough, for the woman working the register at Pizza Hut (desperate times, desperate measures) who complimented my couponing skills and told me I’m beautiful.
This all has served as motivation to be a source of encouragement for those I cross paths with whether they are a family member, a close friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger … to be someone that brings light into someone else’s darkness. I hope that you can be, too.
And finally, what would an introspective post from Kayley be without a quote? This one matters today.
“I realized that my impression of myself had been of someone who could look for, and find, the upside in any situation. I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm. It occurs to me now that these were not even the songs of my generation. They were the songs, and the logic, of the generation or two that preceded my own… It also occurs to me, not an original thought but novel to me, that the logic of these earlier songs was based on self-pity. The singer of the song about looking for the silver lining believes the clouds have come her way. The singer of the song about walking on through the storm assumes that the storm could otherwise take her down.”
– Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
*Photo Explanation: That cute little guy was purchased in Chinatown in San Francisco. I chose the yellow because it means “peace”.