Overheard from an exhausted business owner: “I created my business while experiencing fatigue from Epstein Barr Virus.”
Today, that’s me. Epstein Barr, SIBO flare-up (an intestinal malady), and a genetic maladaptation that’s once again created a chemical imbalance (aka depression) have all collided at once. “The perfect storm,” as they say.
Frankly, I’m pissed.
- It makes me mad when well-meaning people urge pushing through fatigue (usually with caffeine in hand), sending a message of ‘hustle’ no matter what.
- It makes me mad that I can’t trade my body in for a new model. (Where’s the lemon law for bodies?!) Grrr…
- It makes me mad that seven months later, this pandemic continues to roar, with no cohesive direction from the powers that be.
- It makes me mad that I—who writes and mentors about sacred selfishness, making yourself a priority, fostering well-being, leading from a well-nourished soul, setting boundaries, saying “no,” and not feeling guilty for resting—doesn’t have it all together!
Does anyone really have it all together…all the time?
I spent most of my young adult life feeling very alone (a feeling that prompted a suicide attempt), because my perception was that everyone else did have it all together. And from the outside, even I appeared to have it all together. Because if you’re going to be successful—well, image is everything…or so they say.
Inside…it was a different story. The struggle was (and, at times, still is) real.
I tell you what’s EXHAUSTING: pretending! Pretending to have it all together. Pretending to be happy and upbeat. Pretending life is full of adventure and business success and glorious relationships (think Instagram feeds).
The truth is, sometimes life sucks. Not feeling well sucks. Not having the energy to do what your heart desires sucks. Having to wear a mask sucks. Not being able to travel freely sucks. Working from home and being mostly alone all day long sucks.
And when I owned my brick-and-mortar business, going to work every day, burned out – that sucked.
So what do you do with pent-up anger and frustration? YOU SWAMP!
Let me explain. In 2017 I flew to New York City to attend a women’s empowerment workshop called The School of Womanly Arts. During the second workshop weekend, our host Regena Thomashauer (aka Mama Gena) taught us something she called “swamping.”
In a large elegant event hall often used for fancy affairs, we were handed black garbage bags which went over our torsos to become our “swamp attire,” and with dark, soul-rattling music blasting, 450 women began to swamp— stomping, screaming, crying—letting decades of anger out.
All except me. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one holding back, but of course I felt like the only one. I was embarrassed to scream. Who does that? I was uncomfortable raising my voice, crying in public, and letting my guard down.
My conditioning ran deep. As Mama Gena says, “What women have been trained, taught and conditioned, their whole lives, is to turn down the volume and velocity of their emotions and emotional responses.” Isn’t that the truth!
She continues, “When we are taught to disconnect from our feelings, we feel just that: Disconnected. Disconnected from ourselves, disconnected from life itself.”
It takes courage to not hide behind image, to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, to express what’s real for you, and to not be led by what ‘they’ say.
Who are ‘they’ anyway? What really, really, really matters most is what you think, say, feel and do…or don’t do.
I had intended to end this on an up note, with a list of what I’m grateful for (which is a lot)…but F* that! Today I’m tired, I’m pissed, and I know this: anger, frustration, rage—the emotions we avoid—will fester and wreak havoc on your mental and physical well-being. They have on mine.
Permission to be pissed granted! So slip on your black garbage bag and let it out.
Write angry letters (then burn them).
Roll in that mud, kicking and screaming and crying.
And then… Rest, nap, soak in the tub, crawl under the blankets, wrap yourself in a hug.
Keep it real, my friends.
With love, from the swamp,