may is mental health awareness month. every day is work on your mental health day, though. so I’ve been stretching my muscles, physically and metaphorically, to get out of the winter funk. two steps forward, a small step back, re-evaluate. these new muscles come with growing pains, to be expected. I’m carrying a little bit of sadness with me, celebrating the value of a season ending, and trying so damn hard to move through. not because I wanted to be here; wherever here is. but because wherever it is I’m going next, I’ll need to be stronger when I get there. I’ve never been one to embrace the idea of being lost because this path has been made for me and there is purpose intertwined in the struggle. as messy as it’s been, here I am. trying all the things and realizing just how much I was in my own way.
so… what am I even doing?! gardening, reading, talking on the telephone (gasp) instead of texting my friends, working out, house-hunting, and on occasion- even dancing. loosening up. living life without an hour by hour plan. accepting hugs from almost everyone, going to a crowded place and navigating just fine. most of this sounds normal but for me it hasn’t been. every part of me was wrapped tightly around the idea that I’d finally gotten my shit together and it could unravel at any moment. guess what… it did anyway.
as an enneagram 1, this raging inner critic and I are bff’s. there are places it is clear I was not ready to grow in or out of, there are spaces I am still holding, and there are definitely bruises I am still pushing to see why I haven’t learned that lesson yet. most mistakes will be made again, honestly. I will learn to love bigger not smarter. there’s never been a thing my brain could get me out of, that my heart has gotten me into. I also refuse to replace the aching with anything other than healing this time. shame or insecurity cannot be the third party in any more of my relationships including the one with myself (thanks Brene Brown). I will keep those spaces & places as open as possible going forward because it was awful being shut up inside myself. and I know it wasn’t much fun to be around either.
so, for this first week of mental health awareness month, I’m focusing on one of the ways I’m proactively taking charge of my mental health… physical activity. it helps with mood regulation and sleep and easing in/around social anxieties. I am on day 37 of a fitness/wellness program with my dear friend Jen from Style in Shape. now, I know that sort of thing isn’t for everyone, but I can’t even tell you how much it has helped with focusing & releasing tension. the tension I have always held in my hips and shoulders from bracing myself for all kinds of real (and imagined) impact. I love having a routine that allows as much flexibility as I need but relies solely on how much I am willing to trust myself. additionally, I’m taking a little more time to explore freedom as it pertains to my body. dancing is just that. afterall, my word of the year is abunDance. I won’t claim to have any rhythm or skills, and it may be all beyonce’s fault, but there is nothing more liberating than finding a new way to move. like my ten year old says, you’ve got to feeeeeelllll the music mama. and I never really let myself do that until I had no reason not to. sometimes, you gotta SHAKE IT OFF/OUT.
I am relearning how to move my body. touch my own hips. tangle at the knees. shuffle through the kitchen. risk looking silly. let myself be sexy. step into the light. flex. invite a friend to dance with me.
here’s how I get goin’
- Pluto, Sleeping at Last
- Brighter Days, San Holo
- Always Like This, Bombay Bicycle Club
- No One, Kayge Calypso & DUNN remix
- Good as Hell, Lizzo
- Treasure, Company of Thieves
- Gimme, Banks
- I Am Not Afraid, G Flip
- This Must Be the Place, Sure Sure
- It’s Strange, Louis the Child f. K.Flay
- Ain’t Nobody [loves me better], Jasmine Thompson
- Don’t Just Sit Here & Drink Yourself to Death, Ezra Bell
- Before I Let Go, Beyoncé (Homecoming)