Struggle versus Hope.
Look! That's me! Left is me this week and right is me at the DNCC in Philly in July.
On the right, I look happy but I was not happy. I was fueling my miserable self with chicken fingers and milkshakes. I was stressed out, unhappy and struggling with exhaustion and depression. I was feeling like shit and treating myself like shit and flipping that and reversing it over and over again. I felt out of control. I was.
On the left is day30 of my whole30. It is 30 days with no alcohol, processed sugar, dairy, grain. It is me on new mental health meds. It is loads of yoga, long walks and laughter. It is me after demanding space and handwork of myself. It is a new job. It is time away from the news of the world. It is 9 pounds less of myself.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, an author and thinker I respect, was on my favorite podcast a while ago and I just got around to listening to the interview. There was so much about the interview and his world-view to discuss but the thing that stuck out to me most was the idea of struggle versus hope. He said that a lot of people believe that at some point everything will get better and be okay but he sees no evidence of that. The world is struggle and inequality and chaos. To believe otherwise is false hope that will at the very least disappoint you and worst case, kill you. He believes if we accept that life is struggle and pain, we can learn to live with and direct that pain in productive ways.
I really like this idea. I think we get sold a bill of goods by society that if we work hard and behave and lose weight and get money, we will be happy and at peace. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. There is never a perch you can sit on and be truly happy. There always seems to be something to work for, to strive for. So, the struggle, the restlessness, the crazy in your head, those things will likely never go away. Bummer, right? Well, yeah, but if you accept that, you can start making decisions that will help you get along and not operate under false information.
I want to use my struggle, my battle in my head in a constructive way. I want to live and write and create in spite of those things. I am done waiting to be skinnier, older, wiser. I am accepting the world and myself for what it is. Certainly, I am going to work to be better everyday but I am not going to let the bad days crush me.