This week was craptastic.
No one died or anything, but I experienced a series of events that threw me off balance and dredged up some old hurts.
Early in the week I went on my first date in 25 years, and before I could even take three sips of my coffee, I was promptly, and with little fanfare, invited to have sex. And in less than gentlemanly terms. Use your imagination.
I’m no prude, but needless to say, after 20 years of marriage, followed by an emotional divorce, I was thrown for a loop. Even spilled my iced mocha, which may have been the biggest travesty of the afternoon.
Midweek I said goodbye to a dear friend, cousin, and confidante who is leaving for China for a year. Nothing permanent, but I will miss our late night phone conversations and the love and support she’s given me, especially over the last couple of years as I went through my divorce and am raising two kids mostly on my own. Knowing that I can call her any time of day or night has been a great source of comfort for me, and while I’m so excited for her adventure on the other side of the world, a part of me is sad that she’s so far away.
And finally, later in the week I got the blow-off from someone that I care about, very possibly for all the wrong reasons, but nonetheless it hurt. Old wounds were reopened as I wallowed in feelings of rejection and unworthiness.
All of this was punctuated with some minor flare-ups of my ex-husband. The icing on the cake.
So I had a good cry. In fact I had several. One while eating a spiteful burger in the Wendy’s parking lot, but that’s another story. I listened to sad music, which made me cry some more. I called on my support network, who were so good to me and treated me with love and kindness. But it still hurt. So I cried some more.
Because sometimes our lives can feel so desolate.
That’s the place that this series of events brought me to. Desolation. And anger. Anger at being where I am in my life and it not being as comfy and cushy as I had hoped it would be.
I’m sure it will not surprise you that I cried some more.
But this blog is about being awesome, so don’t think that this story isn’t going to get better.
On Friday, anger really started to bubble up and I thought, “I really need to kick the shit out of something!”
Immediately I had visions of Billy Blanks dancing in my head and thought, “KICKBOXING!”
I have Billy Blanks’ DVDs and have in the past done kickboxing and imagined that I was kicking or punching a particular person who was pissing me off as a way of releasing some anger or frustration.
But I didn’t want to rely on my own motivation to turn on an exercise DVD when the couch is oh-so-near and its flesh magnet is frequently in the “on” position. I wanted to go to a kickboxing class, where I could publicly punch the lights out of those people who had hurt my feelings and made me feel less than.
Found one on Saturday mornings at my local YMCA. Perfect.
In the meantime, in the spirit of coincidences that aren’t really coincidences, but are some greater life force pushing us in the direction we’re supposed to be going, my son was scheduled to visit my daughter at college for siblings weekend. So I decided to turn my weekend alone into a healing retreat and start taking the time to do some things for myself. Little things and big things. Little things = a pedicure and big things = taking a deeper look at where I am in life and figuring out how to step out of my sadness and back into a place of empowerment.
It’s amazing how shifting the perspective of doing things for yourself, rather than just for others shifts how you feel about yourself. Talk about empowering. Even the little things. Like the pedicure. Instead of getting a pedicure because it’s warm weather and other people will see my feet in sandals, I gave myself a pedicure because I wanted to do something nice for myself, even if no one would see it, hidden under socks and winter boots.
So last night, the sad music began to stop feeling so sad and I started to treat myself with some kindness. Plus my toenails look great!
Then this morning I was ready to get up, go to my kickboxing class, and kick the shit out of some people.
In the class I made two amazing realizations.
- I need a much better sports bra. (Just keeping it real, folks!)
- I no longer wanted to kick the shit out of anyone.
An amazing transformation had occurred. I was no longer focusing on these other people and how their wants and needs made me feel. I was focusing on what I want and what I need. And at that moment it was getting out in the world and moving my body. For myself. Because that was what I wanted to do at that moment. And I couldn’t stop smiling. Smiled all through the kickboxing class. Like a crazy person.
Rather than spending yet another hour of my life looking outward at how these people reached into my world and made me feel, allowing them to take up precious space in my heart and my head, I spent an hour doing something good for myself and just being me.
It seems like a simple change, but it’s a transformation that is truly monumental, because it allows us to focus inward and make our own determinations about how we want to feel and what we want to in our lives, not just be constantly reacting to the things that happen to us in life. Because the crap will continue to happen to us. Trust me, no one’s life is immune from problems.
The question is, and always will be, how are we going to choose to respond to the outrageous shit that happens in our lives? Are we going to let it define us?
No one’s saying it’s not going to be a fight. Hell, I spent the better part of a week in tears. But I came out on the other side of it a stronger and more empowered person, and maybe the next time something similar happens, I’ll be able to let it roll off my back a little more without feeling the need to punch someone in the face or wilt into a puddle of tears. Or maybe not.
But every time we fight the good fight and treat ourselves with kindness and care for ourselves, we come out stronger and more empowered.
That, plus a little kickboxing, is good enough for me.