ENJOY THIS POWERFUL GUEST POST…..
It’s My Pity Party and I’ll Eat Cream Cheese If I Want To…
Courageously written by, Jesse Fisher
There are days in life when I am a gung ho, fuck yeah kinda girl. In my life and in my Iphone Notes (I luuuuvs me some notes) I call this SAF – feeling Strong AF. On SAF days I embrace my badassery. I reflect of how far I’ve come and how strong I’ve had to be to get here. I whisper sweet affirmations to myself throughout the day – “You’re so brave…you’re a warrior…you’re the shit” – and I let myself believe them. On these SAF days I feel like my healing is working, like the good outweighs the bad, like the hope outshines the hardships, like life isn’t easy but you best believe I am up for the challenge. On SAF days I let disappointment touch me without shattering me. I take setbacks in stride and practice self-care instead of self-pity – meditating, running a bubble bath, reading a dog-eared page from one of my favorite books (hello Heart Talk by Cleo Wade!), even watching a treasured TED Talk. When a hard thing happens I work to put things back into perspective and keep going.
Well guess what mamas? This ain’t one of those days.
Exactly four years, 2 months and 12 days after my birth trauma and I had yet another major, serious, gigante, Himalayan, Venti-sized accident today. Think messy, think public, think embarrassing. I’d like to say I handled it with poise and grace – picking myself up, dusting myself off and laughing at the crazy absurdity of life with a wry smile and the wisdom of age and experience – but that would make me a BIG FAT LYING LIAR. I cried like my heart was breaking into a million tiny pieces (which for a moment I thought that it might be) and didn’t stop until my mascara was off my face and on my shirt, and my body was wrung out and exhausted from screaming in my car and verbally abusing my steering wheel. About an hour later I had cleaned up and stopped crying, but I was still nowhere near ready to accept the gut punch of indignity and rage that is a proud 40 year old woman peeing her sexy Sweaty Bettys in the middle of the cereal aisle. So what to do? A healing meditation? A nurturing green smoothie? A soothing scented candle? HELL NO. I did the only thing I could think of to honor my still broken spirit and seething soul – I decided to throw myself a truly epic PITY PARTY. (Cue balloon drop and confetti.)
Noooooo, you say. Come on mama, time to buck up. You’re gonna be ok. You’re brave, you’re a warrior, you’re the shit. What about self-care? What about SAF? What about Heart Talk and TED Talks and meditation? *Ahem*…and I say this with all the love in the world for you sweet, positive, well-meaning mamas…Fuck that noise! Today, I need to wallow.
And so here we are finally at my message for today, in case you need it like I do: SOMETIMES IT’S OK TO CHOOSE SELF-PITY OVER SELF-CARE. To let yourself wallow. To feel the bad thing without trying to fix it with a motivational quote or a meditation app. To let yourself rage. To let yourself scream that primal scream. To feel sad AF instead of strong AF. To throw yourself the biggest, baddest, Academy Award-winningest pity party in the land. To accept that sometimes, some days, some moments – especially those involving trauma, loss or humiliation – self-pity and self-care may actually be the same thing.
The problem (for me at least), is that in the midst of daily calls for mindfulness and self-love, it can feel shameful and weak to feel self-pity. To have days (like the one I’m having now), where all you want to do is go full on, balls to the wall Wallow Monster. Because hidden in our near manic cultural obsession with “self-care” lurks an often unspoken, just beneath the surface, more easily Instagrammable vision of healing that almost always looks pretty, inspiring and empowered. So called “negative” emotions like rage and self-pity get little air time on Insta and the interwebs, and serious, hardcore wallowing gets even less. And while 99.9% of the time I am down to push through the pain and get busy putting things into perspective, I have to ask – when did we decide that the heartbroken woman sitting on the couch in her sweatpants eating cookie dough ice cream out of the container would feel better or heal faster if she put on a coconut oil face mask and practiced mindful breathing? Cuz I gotta say, on my darkest days, when I feel like cosmic garbage and the universe has just drop kicked me in the bladder, sweats and food stains still feel like the right move.
One of the other problems with putting on your Pity Party hat and settling in for a good wallow is that people (and by people, I mean me) have been raised to believe that you are your feelings. That leaning into that feeling of self-pity for even a moment will somehow make you pitiful. That feeling rage is the gateway drug to being an angry, miserable person. That strong people are strong and happy people are happy and self-care never involves screaming or cursing or cookie dough ice cream (or in my case, whipped cream cheese). I’m here to tell you that’s BS.
The point is that pity parties – like most parties, frankly – are reserved for special occasions and moments of importance. They’re not an everyday occurrence. Yes, you are SAF. Yes, you are a warrior. Yes, you are the shit. Yes, you will likely choose to work through your next challenge without the aid of sweatpants or self-pity. The pity party is not a permanent state, it’s an act of self-care. So when you’re a human puddle (or have just made one in Aisle 4 at Cal-Mart), I am telling you right now – you can RSVP with confidence and zero judgment to whatever Pity Party you choose to host, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow can still be a fresh day and a fresh start for your most gloriously motived and impressively mindful self.
And so here I am. Back home and ready to party. Pajamas back on in the middle of the day, curled up on the couch with my favorite cashmere throw, my emergency tub of whipped cream cheese and a box of Wheat Thins in front of me on the coffee table – weird maybe, but my favorite comfort food combo since third grade – ready to begin my Pride & Prejudice marathon and let the witty banter and repressed attraction between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet soothe my battered soul. Is this how I thought my day would go? Not in a million years. Am I still SAF? You bet your sweet ass I am. But first, cream cheese.
If you’ve read this far, I, Lisa Pepper-Satkin, want to thank you. This bold and brave post is a piece of our work of healing. Executives come to me to work on all sorts of issues. If I can support you in any way on your path toward healing, please do not hesitate to reach out. And email me firstname.lastname@example.org any words of BIGlove for Jesse. I will happily pass them along.