January has been heavy. My Facebook news feed has been full of really sad and scary things. The sort of things that keep a person awake at night trying to figure out if this life they are living is actually being lived or just endured.
I’ve cried a lot this month. Cried for the people experiencing these sad and scary things. Cried out of fear. What if that happened to me. Cried from exhaustion of carrying a lot of heavy inside.
My chest felt squeezed tight and I wanted to barricade everyone I love inside my house and keep them safe forever and ever. Alas eventually we needed to grocery shop or face starvation.
I tried to comfort myself with mantras like “You can’t control how long you live, but you can control how you live.” But those thoughts were drowned out by the blaring voice of social media. Really can we always control how we live? Do we have a choice in every little detail?
That is the startling truth.
We can do what we can though.
Last Thursday, after blowing up at my husband because he had been at work all day and instead of snuggling our sleeping baby he was playing with a toy he had received for his birthday, and I felt like he hadn’t interacted enough with Gus, everything came to a head.
First I had to have one of those dreadful humbling experiences where I apologize for being emotionally eccentric. Then I had to have one of those nervous vulnerable moments where I confess that I am afraid of dying without really knowing if I actually lived.
I was afraid that I wasn’t doing enough.
I was afraid that I wasn’t loving enough.
I was afraid that Sarah L. Scott just plain wasn’t enough.
About an hour later I decided that I needed to do something about this turmoil inside. I took a Facebook hiatus.
Friday felt like a relief. I actually talked to and hung out with real people. I saw real faces and heard the tones and inflections of real voice. I even brought up my anxieties and learned that I wasn’t alone. People are good.
Saturday I did school work with my kiddos. (Since I spent Friday soothing my soul with coffee and other humans). I washed bedsheets and made a new recipe for supper and my family actually really liked it. My husband even thanked me for the things I had done that day.
If Saturday seems like a fairy tale then let me tell you about Sunday. I took things a little further on Sunday and our family went (mostly) screen free for the day.
I was feeling less panicked about whether or not my life was being lived enough, but I still needed to be comforted. I grabbed the first Harry Potter book and a few cozy blankets and snuggled in for some pleasure reading. Friend let me tell, I discovered that there is a such things as comfort books. Like mashed potatoes or tomato soup and grilled cheese, Harry Potter has the power to pacify my worried heart.
On Sunday I took a nap. I so rarely nap. And it was lovely.
It is often in refreshing ourselves and soothing our worries with self kindness that we can come back with more empathy and compassion for others.
I did what I could to love my inner circle. I did what I could to chase away my inner self critic. I turned off the noise and let myself do some healing. I needed the break.