Unless your natural state is living in an underground bunker shut off from the world, you know that the world is in crisis right now. News stories and social media feeds are flooded with terms like “COVID-19” or “social distancing” or “pandemic” or “flattening the curve” or “vaccination” or a myriad of other scary phrases that have become normal chatter in everyday conversations.
We are truly living in an unprecedented time in history. We have seen fear drive people to violence but we have also seen compassion lead to innovative new ways of helping people. And every day this continues, we see more and more of both. And all of it is enough to make you weep for either the foolishness or kindness of the human race.
For someone who has lived with anxiety and depression covertly their entire lives only to have trauma expose and enhance what has been there all along, this particular time in our world’s history has been both terrifying and pivotal in my struggle for self-awareness. And maybe this is you too. I feel emotions very heavily and deeply. Those might sound like the same thing, but if you are someone like this, you’ll know they are very different. Emotions hold physical weight in my body. When I am struck by any certain emotion, it not only resonates within me but depending on where in the spectrum the emotion sits, its pressure clings to my very core. This past week, I have been teetering on the edge of what I’m coming to term a depressive breakdown. At a time when the world is in chaos, my life has also come to some very personal chaotic crossroads and my struggle to appear normal has been ever so forcefully pried out of my hands and ripped open for public view. And I couldn’t be more pleased.
That doesn’t sound right, does it? Let me elaborate.
This past week I had to make a rather difficult decision regarding the trajectory of my immediate future and career. The world is at a standstill and especially within the entertainment industry in which I work. There has been a source of much of my anxiety that I had to choose whether to purge from my life or accept it for all its toxicity and attempt personal contentment regardless. I chose the former.
Have you seen the Venice, Italy canals lately? With the lockdown forced upon the country, tourism and travel has been eliminated from its waters. And what was the result? The waters have cleared, fish and dolphins have returned, swans swim amongst currents. What was once tainting that area has been cleansed and beauty has been restored. This is why I chose to absolve myself of what was harmful to my wellbeing. I’ve spent enough time this past year understanding what effect toxic people can have on our lives and trying to reverse it that when I recognize those influences it would be unfair to all that I have learned and for the woman I am growing into to not protect myself from new attacks.
This decision coupled with other recent choices have left me exposed and vulnerable. And it has been so scary, and yet I say I am pleased because it has left me in a position that can only go up. I am for the first time in my life, taking care of myself, standing up for myself, understanding myself, understanding that my emotions do not make me weak, they make me hyper aware of changing vibrations that cause chaos. I am being true to who I am, finally. Is that woman a hot mess of a human? Absolutely. I am sometimes raw and affected. But I am learning. And I am growing.
And perhaps, that is one of the greater purposes for what is happening in the world right now.
We have all been forced to collectively take a breath. To pause. And to breathe deeply.
To look ourselves in the mirror and see the person staring back at us. To look at our loved ones (even if it is across FaceTime) and remember what is important. To not feed into the problem, but become part of the solution to heal. No, we may not be scientists who can find the cure to COVID-19. But we can begin to cure our souls. We can begin to heal those around us with compassion. We can choose to, regardless of our background or our own trauma, live with kindness towards ourselves and towards others.
Let’s face it. The world will start spinning again. We will go back to work. Life will return to “normal.” But what is the normal that we want to live in? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to emerge from isolation the same person as I went in.
I want to do better.
I want to BE better.
How about you?