And Add a Sprinkle of Glitter…

Baggage… We all carry it. What’s in your baggage? Daddy issues, tragedy, grief, bitterness, shame, hatred? Maybe your baggage is full of rainbows, unicorns, butterflies, and glitter? Like most people, you probably have a combination of all of the above.

It is interesting because baggage is usually referred to in a negative context. If a divorced woman enters into a relationship with 5 kids and her ex cheated on her, people might say “she has a lot of baggage… you sure you want to be with her.” Frankly, this is a ridiculous statement. Yeah, this woman is carrying some stuff with her but we are all lugging shit around! Baggage can contain anything ranging from wreckage to joyful wonder.

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot on my own baggage. I just finished graduate school and haven’t started my job yet. I’ve got some time on my hands. Anyways, I realized something about myself that frankly shocked me. A lot of the shit that I have in my baggage is leading me to see myself as a victim. Ugh! Even writing that sentence disgusts me. You see, I’d like to see myself as a confident, thriving, and powerful woman. Instead, I have let past resentments, losses, pains, discriminations, etc. shape me into someone I’d rather not recognize.

I am incredibly grateful for my life. I am actually pretty happy and resilient most of the time. But when I really start to rummage around within myself, I find a lot of dust, grime, and cobwebs surrounding some stuff that I should have let go of years ago. In some ways, that stuff has driven me to succeed. It has driven me to prove people wrong. My baggage has shaped me. Who am I without it? In other ways, my baggage is weighing me down and holding me back. My arms are starting to shake under the pressure and the rest of me is starting to sweat. Maybe it is time to put it down, open it up, and reassess what belongs and add a sprinkle of glitter.

It must be impossible to rid yourself of baggage entirely. If we did, we’d be empty husks connecting with nothing and no one. But I’m learning that we can unpack and reorganize our baggage. It takes courage and hard work but it can be done. Today, I have decided that I am a victim no more. I am going to take hold of what control I do have and leave the rest to fate or the universe or God or whatever or whoever is grater than me. So here’s to unpacking, decluttering, reorganizing, reassessing, minimizing, and repacking baggage. Cheers!

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A Rose Is A Rose

“I gave him my heart, and he took and pinched it to death; and flung it back to me. People feel with their hearts, Ellen, and since he has destroyed mine, I have not power to feel for him.” – Emily Bronte

Rejection is a cruel mistress. The sting of rejection has the power to throw you into an existential crisis if you grant it so. I was recently reminded of my unfortunate lack of imperviousness when it comes to rejection. I applied for a thing, interviewed for a thing, and did not get the thing. And God damn it, I was pissed that not everyone needs, wants, and accepts me! Being that I am a rational grown up who desires to help others for a living, I of course took my frustration out on my partner who then took me out for some shopping therapy… That’s the obvious choice, isn’t it?

Petty Side note: I was extra upset because I am a minority. I am disabled and I really wanted my voice to be heard in the particular space I applied for. To be perfectly honest, disabled voices are often ignored and dismissed. So yeah… I was upset, whiney, and spiraling into an existential crisis… Yes… I am a super dramatic person, as previously mentioned in my blog. It’s genetic… So yeah, I fought with my partner who very kindly took me shopping while I asked myself, “Did they not pick me because of my disability? If they did pick me, would it have been because of my disability? Do I deserve anything that I have?”

What I really should have done is channel the great psychologist and king of sarcasm, Albert Ellis.

This dude… is so… AWESOMELY sarcastic! At this point in my career, I could not imagine speaking to my clients this way… But I feel like I should definitely start speaking to myself this way.

Fun story: Albert Ellis was a socially awkward fella who had some trouble with the ladies. He frequented a beautiful and quiet park that so happened to attract lots of lovely women. He desired to get to know some of these women but just could not gather up the courage to approach them. This bothered him so he decided to conquer his fear of rejection. He resolved to approach all the females no matter how much he was sweating, tongue tied, shaking, or about to throw up. Over the course of a month, he approached 130 women, 30 of whom gave him the metaphorical finger, 100 of them were willing to chat, and 1 agreed to a date to which she did not show. That’s the bad news… The good news is that he eventually did not feel stressed out when talking to a pretty lady. That, my friends, is the beauty of exposure therapy.

Most of us are not going to agree to getting the door slammed in our face over and over again until we do not care anymore. But maybe if you’re fear is really holding you back, consider looking into that. Luckily, there are other fancy psychological tricks you can deploy. Try thinking of rejection as more of an event than a feeling. “Okay… Rejection happened. I feel pretty bummed out about it.” Then try to remember that things can always be worse. “Yeah, I did not get that thing and I do not get to pay off my massive student loan debt faster. But things could be so much worse. At least no one barfed on me that day.” Then DO NOT provide that little bastard (rejection) with consent to define you. The link above talks about the metaphor of the flower. I will put my own spin on it for you. Some people do not like roses. A rose is still a rose. It is ok as a rose and you are ok as you are.

Moral of the story: Rejection sucks but it happens. Just keep being you because you are perfectly ok as you are. Also, buying things and saying “fuck them” in your head can help a little too.

“When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.” – Kelly Cutrone