Sitting at my computer right now, there are SO many things that I'd love to dive into. And yet, exhaustion and overwhelm have created a big shutdown inside of me. Can you relate? One of my favorite TV shows of all time is The Simpsons. Even now, I reference it all the time. A scene that I often remember is when Mr. Burns went to the doctor to get a physical. (you can watch the clip here) The doctor says, "You have everything." Pneumonia. Juvenile diabetes. Even hysterical pregnancy. Mr. Burns has it all! The doctor explains that the reason Mr. Burns doesn't feel sick is because all of his diseases are in perfect harmony. He demonstrates that all his diseases are trying to push through a narrow doorway, and none of them can get through. Mr. Burns declares that he is invincible, while ignoring that his doctor is pleading for him to take his fragility seriously. His doctor begins, "Even a slight breeze could..." "I AM INVINCIBLE!" Mr. Burns interrupts, and dances out of the exam room. While I've cited this scene a million times to describe various things throughout my life, what is making it feel all-too-real right now is how global problems, societal issues, immediate needs, past trauma and future struggles seem to all be trying to push through the same door at the same time. Even when we aren't experiencing a global pandemic, government corruption, a racial justice uprising, the fall of capitalism, the patriarchy angrily clinging to its final, dying breaths, and an environmental crisis... life is hard. We have careers, relationships, children, health problems, body image issues, money struggles, manifestations of past trauma replaying themselves in our lives, rude people, crappy relatives, INSTAGRAM... I think you see where I am going with this. Unlike the egomaniacal Mr. Burns, however... many of us have become aware that "even a slight breeze" could unravel us. In fact, it could actually be the "doctor" (society, whomever is the authority figure is in our lives, or the person we go to for guidance) that is telling us we are invincible, we got this, this is manageable, we can #selfcare our way out of this, we can take on even more. How many of us have decided to use a pandemic to write our novel or start a new business or "change our money story" or take a course that is going to fix that big blockage we have had?! (I don't think I need to remind you of all that we are also all living among many "Mr. Burns" types that are placing themselves and others in harm's way despite the warnings of experts, believing that they are invincible... right?) The last email you got from me was about ALL the rad shit I was up to. The Monthly Make-Up Power Hour that I set up and promoted had ONE sign-up. The two new projects I had in the works, had false starts (one is tiny and launched but stagnant; the other has no content, no traffic and I am too burned out to do anything with it). The boundaries that felt awesome and rock-solid ("I'm not putting out unpaid emotional labor anymore!") crumbled and I am back on the internet pouring my heart out for literally nothing except likes and the occasional kind message about how I really made someone feel heard. Make-up work dried up. Even my plan to fly back to California came to a halt when I couldn't get the forms to get my cat on the plane. Then it FUCKING snowed just to slap me in the face!
In short... the door frame -- made of poor-kid tenacity, cool ideas and creative ways to make money doing what I love -- that I had built to keep the crises and bad feelings at bay, was indeed too small to let them pass through. And guess what? They kept pushing anyway, and broke my fucking door frame. The Broken Door Frame shows us that if we try to keep it ALL at bay, we set ourselves up to have a moment where we have to deal with ALL of it at once. Behind my hustle and overbooking my schedule with projects, I was able to block the feelings of: - heartbreak about my children and the ways our society sets up intimate partner abuse survivors to fail at being parents - helplessness about being in a relationship that makes me unhappy (and that I've been trying to get out of almost as soon as I got into it) - devastation about my hometown burning to the ground and the BIPOC citizens in it being blamed for it when it was actually out-of-state white supremacists - fear that if I rest, I'll lose everything I worked for - self-blame that I don't have the "abundance" I want because I don't dream big enough or don't go after things enough - distrust of our police forces, government and basically every form of leadership we were taught to trust - loneliness, not-enoughness, and the fear of being left behind - anger regarding the gross mismanagement of a pandemic and our environment - anxiety about what will happen next - and and and They are all here, friends. I don't know how to tell you how to build your door frame big enough or small enough or strong enough. I don't know if we are supposed to try to let one thing in at a time, or let it all come in and wreck our house (I kind of have this mental picture of a frat party scene full of little round circles with legs coming in, trashing my house and then leaving barf and beer cans everywhere) so we can get it all out and then begin the clean-up process. I have nothing to promote, nothing to sell you, and the only thing I want you to know is that if any of this resonates, I am right here with you. I was searching for a thing to give me a sense of purpose and meaning and joy in the middle of all of this, and right now, I can't get out of bed. Writing this is the most ambitious thing I have done all day, and it took everything I had. I'll send another one of these out when I have something valuable to tell you. I was so excited to have a newsletter and went through a pain-staking process to get it set up (h/t Ixchel). I'm sorry that my door frame is broken right now, and I am sorry if yours is breaking or broken too. The thing about door frames, is that they can be rebuilt, and when they break, we learn how lessons about better ways to build them. Take care of yourselves and each other. I love you.
Be Truthful, Be Visible, Be Powerful,