Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving Recovery: After the Wine

This post is a letter.

It's a letter for those of you who came home from  the family visit and drank ALL of the wine alone with the dog (or other animal of your choice) while watching "Friends" (or other show you've seen half a dozen times already). 

It's a letter for those of you who felt so topsy-turvy, so not-right, so out-of-your-body, so completely out of touch when you woke up this Saturday morning that you decided the thing to do was to rearrange the furniture in your house because none of it was right.  Nothing was right.  Nothing in your house, in your skin, in your body felt right, and so you rearranged the furniture to attempt to let it settle down new.

I know.  My living room looks great, thanks for asking.

This post is a letter for those of you who woke up with that killer headache -- the one you couldn't tell if it was from the wine, or the stress, or the things you didn't say.  It's a letter for those of you who are bravely marching forward, holding all these things in your heart, written on your skin, feeling like they are emblazoned like red letters on your chest. 

There are lots of posts out there by people more inspirational than me, who got their shit together BEFORE Thanksgiving, and actually preventatively thought through the fact that, sometimes, for some of us, holidays suck.  A lot.  You can go out and read those posts, and all their lovely thoughts about them...or wait, because blink twice and Christmas will be here, and we're all gonna be doing this all over again. 

But I have yet to find anything written by anyone inspirational that tells me how to recover from Thanksgiving.  I mean, maybe if I had gotten my shit together beforehand, if I had written that inspirational post ahead of time about how I was not going to lose my mind this year, and if I had implemented all the positive coping skills one should implement when faced with holiday stress....maybe I wouldn't still be in holiday hangover mode. 

But here I am.  It's Sunday afternoon, and I don't know what to say to me anymore.  I get so frustrated when people say things like "well what would you say to one of your patients?"  I mean, seriously.  First, if it was that simple, I probably would have said it to me already.  Second, most of my patients are small humans with developmental disabilities, so mostly I say things like "pee goes in the potty" and "hands are not for hitting" and "is talking about door hinges during math class an expected behavior or an unexpected behavior?"


This post is a letter.

Are you ready?

Dear Precious One,

As the heaviness of these days weighs on you, you can know these things:

1).  Whatever your Thanksgiving was and was not, it is over now.  Whatever your choices were on Thanksgiving day, and the day after...they, too, are over now.  You did the very best you could, friend.  Believe that.

2).  Giving thanks is not a one shot deal.  Just because your gratitude is elusive on this day -- the day when the entire nation chooses to give thanks -- it does not negate the other days you choose to give thanks.  It does not erase the ways you marveled at the sun on those early mornings in August, or the times you were moved to tears by beauty and amazement in April, or the ways you let your heart constantly fill and overflow throughout the year.  You are not wrong, love.  There is no way you could be. 

3).  It is okay to feel confused and disoriented, and to feel you are struggling to know which way is up.  Know that you only need to keep swimming, and you will orient to the light -- because this is who you are.  This is what you do.  Like a compass pointing to true north, you will flounder and spin and bounce, and you will end up where you need to be. 

4). You are not alone.  This is, perhaps, most important.  You are not ever alone. 

And here is where the grace comes in: in spite of the ways it seems your heart cannot even fathom it, you are loved, and you are loved, and you are loved, in spite of and because of everything. 

Here is where the grace comes in: you are the one in your body, and you are the one who chooses what comes next.  Even if you have fucked it up a million times before.  Even if you think you don't deserve that grace -- there is no other way forward but for you to make the next move, and you always move forward.

And here is where the grace comes in: you are worthy, and whole, and loved, and there are people who love you and are willing and able to show you this love whether or not you can see it or accept it.

Dear precious one, you are not alone.  You are loved.  You are not wrong, and you always move forward.  There is grace, and it is here for you.

You are worthy and loved.



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