Life Is Short. Buy The Shoes.
It's not like me to let Mental Health Awareness month pass by and not go on about how I think you should take care of your skull. Consider this a belated love letter to the month that means more to me than the rest of the year.
I don't want to spend your precious internet minutes reading about my struggle but instead I want you to think about the following:
Starting at the end of high school I knew that I was wound pretty tight. College really had me up in arms. Everything hurt, everything was a problem and it wasn't a choice for me. You know how some people say your attitude, or being upset, is a choice? In some cases, that's just not true.
Work happened after school and the pressure of what I was trying to build was grand and it felt like Dorothy's house just dropped itself right on me in OZ. No trip to see the Wizard, no hot air balloon home, no heels I could click to get myself back to Kansas.
It took me years, actual-long-gruesome, years to unwind.
Becoming self-aware is really hard. You spend a lot of time with people, friends, in therapy, with doctors, to help you learn about what actually constitutes the end of the world and what you could cipher off as dramatics.
But let's talk about what happens as you get out of your head: obsessing about things that are bad is very easy when you're depressed or sad. Sometimes it takes a real miracle to find something that makes you feel good. But when you find it, you hold on to it, and build on it and then all of a sudden, being upset or sad DOES become a choice because you know what it feels like to be on the other side of mundane... and it's vibrant, addicting, it's technicolor and you live for those good moments because you can really feel them.
I have those moments when I've reached a goal, when I see my favorite bands, when I go to church at Wrigley Field, when I see my friends, when I participate - even if what I'm participating in scares me, when I move at the gym, when I think about my house and my neighborhood, when I take stock of what I'm doing with my life and realize that I'm proud, when I'm helping or giving back, when I'm reading or learning, when I show up for my people or spend time with my family and when I let myself be vulnerable even when the outcome could crush me.
It has taken me years to loosen up and get to the point where my brain finds good before bad. Some days it's really hard. But your brain, like relationships, exercise or a craft or a skill, is something that you HAVE to work on and train to be better.
It's not impossible. It's hard work and it's possible. You believe it, and it's possible.
Recently, a friend and acquaintance of mine passed away. I can't stop thinking about it. It's at the top of my mind every morning. She had 30 years on earth. 30. The part I can't escape is the thought that if she had another 30, what would she have done? In her short time she had to battle stupid fucking cancer and although it robbed her of her future, it forced her to live - and I mean really take advantage of every minute that she had. I admire her graceful journey and the fact that she owned each minute. I wonder if it made her more honest, or less scared... I wonder a lot about the mental frame you need to fight things that are bigger than your body and if that winds or loosens you up. And because I'm always in my own head, I wonder what I would do if I knew I only had 30 years.
I'm not telling you anything you've never heard before, each day is not promised. But I'm making myself a promise to continue to loosen, be flexible, be considerate, call problems opportunities, ask for what I want or think I deserve and to know that if this was my last day it was the best day ever.
For a really long time my brain made me believe that I didn't deserve to be happy and that's just not true.
And even when you can't see it, you are definitely loved.
Repeat it until you can feel it. <3