Self Love and The Monsters

J: When there are scary blob monsters in my head I tell them, go away you monsters! I have fun holidays and work to do

T: Or you could just hit them over the head! Like, Bop, you monsters! Get outta here! Bop! Bam!

J: But then you’re hitting your own head.
— J, 3yrs & T, 6yrs. On the way to school

 

Last week was a mess. If I could do it over, there are lots of things I'd handle more graciously, with more patience, more wisdom. Given the opportunity, I can't say that I'd go back- too crappy. Nothing catastrophic happened, just a series of small, tedious obstacles that snowballed on to the shoulders of two sleep-deprived parents. One parent was also under the influence of hormones. The denouement  arrived on Valentines Day when I discovered I had lice. 

One night during this cavalcade of crappy, I was folding laundry in the basement, sobbing so that I could barely see what I was doing. Being so out of control scared me.  I know I had the thought that this isn't real. What I'm experiencing is built by thoughts, and I still couldn't pull myself out of it.  That moment always feels like forever. I was explaining to a friend that it's similar to being high- an awareness slightly removed from yourself that knows what your body is believing isn't real. The goal isn't to get to a point where you never fall apart, it's knowing that there's nothing to do but remain present. There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home... 

I allow unquestioned beliefs to guide me; that if I don't exercise perfect self-control at all times then I am letting others down, or that this kind of thing doesn't happen to people who are more organized than me. When I'm under the influence of thoughts that disconnect me from reality, I find that I gravitate towards things that fuel those thoughts. I don't eat what I know to be nutritious, I don't drink enough, I stay up too late, I skip daily rituals that remind me of connection. Because One monster storming around in my head calls for more monster friends, because misery loves company. I not only feel bad physically, but beat up on myself for knowing better and not doing better.   Driving to school, my daughter was talking herself through a bad dream she'd had last night. I heard her working out something we've told her about bad dreams and when she spoke it her own way I heard something new: We have the choice to dismiss thoughts or beat ourselves up for having the thoughts, one hurts and one doesn't. After binging on self-pity this past week,  I remembered again that reality is always kinder than our thoughts about it.  I remembered that while I don't have control, I always have choices. We can move on as soon as we make the choice to dismiss the thoughts that don't feel good and reconnect with reality. The goal isn't to rid your mind of monsters, just greet them and move on.