I haven’t published an essay-type post in a long time – not since my father died, in fact. When I first started blogging, stories about my life were my go-to write-up, but they’ve become more difficult for me to do than any other kind of article on my blog. I think that’s because digging deep creates a rift in my emotional veneer. I run the risk of opening a vein that I might not be able to close.
I used to search my past and mine the present for moments to share that I hoped might resonate with others. But when I lost my dad, I stopped. Why? Because it became easier to pass on practical facts than to hunt through my feelings. Every memory led back to my dad. Every thought seemed to link to the fact that he was gone.
So I stopped going there.
We’ve all lost someone, through death or personal choice or our behavior, or theirs. People drift in and out of our lives. Sometimes the leaving – or the loss – is a reminder that there is only one constant, and it comes down to this:
I am all there is.
I am my best friend, my sister, my mentor, my cheerleader and my muse. I need to depend on me. Regardless of the friends, family, partners, parents and coaches who enrich my life, I’m the one driving the bus. I cannot depend on others to give me strength.
Even when we do have a wonderful, supportive “tribe” around us, they won’t always be able to speak exactly the right words to rocket us out of a depression or make us laugh when we crave it or patiently listen to our complaints every time we need an ear. They – like us – are not perfect, and it isn’t reasonable or fair to expect them to be otherwise.
Sometimes on a day when we’re wallowing in self-pity, someone steps into the void and drags us back with the perfect words or a classic textbook speech or a flawlessly delivered anecdote that helps us see we’re not alone in that moment. But we can’t rely solely on outside forces to make us happy, bring us success, or whisper the perfect words of encouragement every time we need it.
When they can, it’s golden. But when we expect to be saved, that’s when we enter the danger zone. That’s when we’re looking for something outside ourselves to solve our problems. That’s when we need to remember that essentially we are alone in this.
It’s up to us.
Writers have an advantage. We can create fictional people who have the abilities we desire. So I write men who can have the tough conversation and not walk away. I write women who are flawed but smart and willing to “get” the hard lessons, and I have a theory that pieces of each character reside within me. I mean the good parts, the super powers I can tap into. And as I write these imaginary friends – like borrowing a coat – I try on their strengths.
And boy, does it feel good.
So don’t wait for the world to make yours right. Don’t wait for someone to congratulate your success or offer empathy for your melancholy and bring you flowers. Be your own cheerleader, your own white knight. Make your own music. Speak your own truths about success and self-worth and the fact that life is good and even better days are coming. Tell yourself you deeply deserve the great day you just had.
Don’t depend on others to shore you up. Become your own muse, your sister, your coach, and your best friend.
Buy your own roses.
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