Detours & Distractions

I feel like I've been on an emotional roller coaster this past month or so.

It started when one of my oldest and dearest friends stopped in Seattle for a quick visit, a day I'll never forget. I met her husband and got to hug her while she's pregnant with her first child. We were only supposed to have breakfast, but she ended up staying for a few extra hours while her husband drove to Vancouver and back. I felt so blessed to have her here.

We went to the beach, to lunch, and were headed back to my apartment when my car stalled and wouldn't restart. Even though this was a stressful situation, I felt grateful. We were safe, and it was nice to have her there to keep me calm and help me strategize how and where to tow the car. (I've said before she's one of my guardian angels. I wasn't kidding. I thank my lucky stars to have this woman in my life!)

Turns out, my engine died. It cost me every penny I'd saved in the last two years plus most of my current paycheck to fix it. I was just starting to adjust to having abundance in my life, and now I was left with only $100 to my name. I'm still anxious about being broke again. The old feelings of lack have returned full strength. Still, I'm grateful. Grateful I had enough money. Grateful I didn't have to go into debt again for the repairs or to buy a different car.

 My car a few months ago. Before the engine died.

It took nearly two weeks to repair the car. I couldn't afford a rental, and I was anxious the whole time, like a caged bird. As someone who greatly values my independence and personal freedom, being without a car triggered some strong emotions.

I didn't like relying on other people to take me to and from work. I didn't like asking my boyfriend for a ride. I didn't like feeling stranded at home without a car. I tried to keep my cool, but inside I felt like a little girl throwing a tantrum because things didn't go her way.

Again, I turned to gratitude. I was grateful to have a flexible work environment and the technology to work from home for a few days. Grateful for the ease and affordability of Uber to get me to work on the days I went into the office. Grateful to my boyfriend for his endless patience in driving me around town. Grateful for my stepdad who spent hours on the phone with me, sharing his knowledge and giving me advice about what to do.

I picked the car up from the repair shop on a Thursday afternoon. The next morning, my sweetheart and I left for the Oregon coast to celebrate my birthday. It was a magical weekend, walking the beaches and spending time with my love. When we got back, my 37 Self Explorations program started, and I received lots of loving messages from friends and family for my birthday. I felt so, so blessed.

Then a series of things happened at work. Stressful things.

The types of things that leave me feeling exhausted at the end of the work day.
The types of things my mind obsesses about when it's too quiet.
The types of things that keep me awake at night.
The types of things that make it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

Then the car died again. This time it was just the battery, a few hours of my time, and $80 out of my pocket. Again, it happened in a safe place and I was with someone who helped me stay calm. I'm grateful for that, truly I am. But I'm also riddled with anxiety now, sitting on pins and needles, waiting for the car to break down again.

What if I'm not so lucky next time and it happens on the interstate? What if I don't have enough money to make the next repair? Did I make the right choice spending all that money?

Then there's the unsympathetic voice inside telling me to buck up. Shit happens. Get over it. It could be much worse. Someone you love could be sick or dying. You could be sick or dying. You could be unemployed, completely broke, hungry, or homeless. You're just being whiny. Forget it and move on.

When the self-talk gets ugly and the anxiety floods in, my first instinct is to numb out all the feelings like I used to. So instead of turning to gratitude, I stuff the feelings down, down, down. I drown them out. Literally and figuratively.

Because in the moment, it feels easier than facing the facts.
Because in the moment, it feels easier than working through the issues.
Because in the moment, it feels easier than making a decision.
Because in the moment, it feels easier than feeling anything at all. 

But it isn't long before I realize this behavior isn't meeting my needs...

I'm seeking comfort, but I'm increasingly uncomfortable.
I'm seeking safety, but I'm precariously close to danger.
I'm seeking release, but I feel stuck, completely blocked.
I'm seeking relief, but the stress is compounding.

This used to be the way I lived my life, it was par for the course. The last time I felt this way, it took a few months to realize what was happening. Now, it's only taken a few weeks for me to see this behavior for what it really is...

A detour. A distraction. Momentarily lost in the fog, but now safely on my way back to shore. I know it's only a matter of time before I pick myself up and dust myself off again.

Because I'm resilient.
Because I have all the tools I need to feel better.
Because it's my choice. 
Because I want to feel good and live life in a way that's true to who I am. 

So, I start here, now, today. Recommitted and reconnected. Knowing I'll bounce back. Trusting it will be easier to recognize and recover each time this happens...

Because I'm strong. 
Because I'm worth it.
Because I deserve a beautiful life.
Because I trust myself and  believe all of this to be true.

(I've decided to share this journey with you, and am hereby declaring this my Summer of Self Love. I'll be blogging about it, sharing photos on Instagram, inviting a few guest contributors, and offering a few giveaways. I hope you'll join me and love yourself up this summer too! xoxo)