This year has been the emotional roller coaster you never expected
At the beginning of this coronavirus pandemic year, I remember waking up with a tingling through my body that said, this is the most alive I’ve ever felt.
It’s not something I said out loud because it wasn’t about glorifying death and chaos, it was about becoming interested in life. It was about challenging beliefs, stretching the depths of who we are as humans, a sense of knowing our purpose, of empathy, and healing amidst sudden life changes.
This year has been the emotional rollercoaster you never expected. The kind that leaves you cliff-hanging with the anticipation of when it will start again.
You’ve lashed out at the very people you love in efforts to sort out your own emotions.
You’ve reclaimed emotions you weren’t aware of. Things that were bubbling unconsciously, but have spilled over to the surface.
You’ve come face to face with how you really feel about yourself. Your perceived lack, your hidden blessings.
This year has brought a lot of changes for you. This has been a year of self-discovery.
This year you’ve realized your thirst for love
You realized that even though you can do it all on your own, you don’t want to. You’re tired. You want to have someone that means more than just a place to exchange toxic sexual fluids.
Maybe hookup culture is not all it’s cracked up to be. You can feel what you want but don’t know what it looks like, or how to get it.
This year has taught you to surrender. To stop hiding, to just ask.
You’ve recognized the people who have snuck into your heart. The ones that mean the most to you, while others have escaped, they were also the ones that meant the most to you.
You’re scared. You’ve seen loss all around, it prevents you from getting close to people. You never know when they’ll leave.
You protect yourself by shutting people out, by becoming a master of self-sabotage.
It’s been an emotional year, you’re allowed to be unsure of what’s next. You’re allowed to temporarily retreat.
This year we realized that life is short, this isn’t a reason to act out of fear, but it’s reason enough to cut all your bullshit. Cut through the need to protect yourself, cut through your insecurities, cut through your fears, look in the mirror, and face yourself damn it. You might be surprised that we’re all facing similar fears. The right people are more accepting than you realize.
This year you’ve lost love
This year you realized that while you were busy living, you let the people and things you love slip away. You’ve accumulated dry bones, missed the heart of your love, become empty, strangers.
You’ve been disconnected for a long time, this was the catalyst needed to realize that you weren’t watering your relationships.
You think you’ve grown on your own, when in fact each person you meet is meant to challenge you, rub you the wrong way, catapult your growth.
This is a year of mourning. You’ve faced broken relationships, engagements, marriages, families, and friendships.
You’ve lost love, and reclaimed pieces of yourself.
This year you’ve faced death
Death is a fickle thing. My cousin passed away recently and I stared at my phone replaying her voice notes, not fully understanding how she could be gone. Death takes a while before it becomes real. It changes your perspective.
You’ve had to deal with the loss of people you love. Even if you knew it was coming, you could never really prepare. You still weren’t ready for the shearing effect it’d have on your heart. You’re not sure how to deal with the feelings of hurt, even resentment beneath it all. You’re questioning if there was something more you could have done, words you could have said, anything to make it better.
Life doesn’t stop. I imagined that life would pause and say, here humans, take time to reflect, but it keeps going. It makes you realize how insignificant a body is. A body is just a conduit for your soul. The essence of your being is in everything you are, everything you’re passionate about. We spend so much time surviving that we never really live.
We think we need to do more in life when it’s usually a matter of doing less.
In the end, all we’re left with are the memories we make. Make memories, make fierce, passionate, compassionate, shake your head, ghastly ones.
Loss came in many forms. Some have lost jobs. You’ve spent months in anxiety, searching for the next meal, trying to keep a roof over your head.
Some have lost independence. Your safe place. You’ve had to share living spaces, been forced to move out, to leave toxic environments, to disrupt the only world you’ve ever known.
Loss doesn’t just come in physical death, it comes as everything in between.
This year you’ve had to learn to self-regulate your emotions.
I’ve blown up at a few people, whoops. The beauty I’ve learned is that my emotions are my responsibility. I can’t force anyone to make me feel better, everyone is already at their emotional capacity. I can’t necessarily depend on others to heal me. We need to learn coping habits, new ways of being, how to regulate ourselves. We need to be able to self soothe, to make ourselves happy.
Here I am drinking my green smoothie, listening to smooth writing music on Spotify, a candle burning beside me, and spilling my heart to you on this “paper”. In this single moment, I have everything I need and am happy.
Give Yourself A Break
You’ve turned to addiction, drinking, smoking, drugs, and lashing out to numb the pain. The pain that comes from the cycle of questioning, am I good enough, what have I done with my life? What do I do next? Have I done enough? What’s the point of all this?
We live in a world of doing, productivity is what keeps many of us alive. We perform because people are relying on us, we have families, fans, a mission, a purpose that doesn’t stop. I understand that.
You’re allowed to have off moments. Moments where you’re quite not yourself, moments where you’re a little sadder than before, moments where you need to pull away from everyone, moments where you take care of yourself first, moments where you don’t put in 100 percent, moments of screaming into the air, crying into a pillow. Just don’t pull so far away that you never come back. (advice from my Mom)
You don’t need to beat yourself up this year, not after everything you’ve gone through. Everything you’ve survived.
You don’t need to take things personally, everyone is a little off-kilter, a little more volatile, a little on edge.
Give yourself a break, it doesn’t mean that you have to stop going. It just means that you can reject the negative dialogue.
I help facilitate a depression and anxiety workshop and one of the best and most difficult exercises for my mental health is not saying anything negative for 14 days. If you say anything negative, you restart the process. It helps you realize how many negative things you say. It helps clear the mind.
Another way to stop being so hard on yourself is a lesson I learned from behavioral expert Marissa Peer. Instead of beating yourself up, use the phrase, “oh silly me”, then move on, try next time to correct your behavior.
Give yourself a break. You’ve had a year of aspiring to love, you’ve had a year of lost love, you’ve had a year of death, you’ve had a year of overwhelming emotions.
We are being forced to evaluate our lives, refocus our purpose, face who we are and what makes us feel most uncomfortable.
When we are burned in the fires of tribulation, we forge new, better versions of ourselves.
Thanks for reading. This article was originally published on Medium’s publication, Assemblage.