Love Your Shadow

If I were a physicist, I'd tell you that there's nothing constant in life, nothing absolute.  Life is a process, not a state.  It never stops changing, and that's good because when it does, that's the end of it.
Go with it and embrace entropy.

If I were a celebrity, someone successful you could look up to, I'd quote Jane Fonda and tell you to love your shadow.  We all play different roles at different times, and some of them are dark.  Dig deep and don't be scared of what you might find; use it as a fuel for a riveting performance.  

If I were a spiritual guru, I'd tell you to get to know yourself as best as you can... and then let go of that knowledge.  Once you set yourself free -- of expectations, ambition, and ego -- you'll feel happy because it won't matter.  You will stop trying to be somebody, and will start just being.  

If I were a philosopher, I'd tell you to accept death.  Time given is all you have, and time is limited, finite.  Make it yours.  Put things in perspective and you'll realize that life is very simple after all. 

If I were a preacher, I'd tell you to forgive the world for being so cruel.  The world isn't against you, it's just full of confused and lost people.  Trust that life holds something truly wonderful for you, and trust this especially when the lights go out.  Miracles might not be real, but hope and love are.

If I were a life coach, I'd tell you that no one has it fully together.  It's a lie that you can "be your best self" all the time.  Waste no effort or thought on notions of perfection.  Being human is by definition being imperfect.  Instead, look at your flaws as quirks -- they can't hinder you if you learn to laugh at yourself.  

If I were a therapist, I'd tell you that no one ever promised that life will be easy.  Chances are, you already know this... You don't always have control over what's happening.  Shit inevitably will happen, even to you.  Something will click in the celestial switchboard and things will fall apart.  But you can choose how to handle it.  Life is nothing but a series of events and circumstances, and your challenge is to deal with it and not be damaged (too much). 

If I were a motivational speaker, I'd tell you that you can totally do this.  No matter how hard and tricky and complex things seem, you can figure it out.  One way or another, you'll make it -- find support, take time to regroup, try different strategies, see what works.  Made a mistake?  That's learning, not failing.  Statistically, your predicament isn't unique and the tools to get out of it already exist.

If I were a personal trainer, I'd tell you to find your pace.  Everyone has a different rhythm, an ideal speed which feels comfortable and yields optimal results.  Whether you're working your thinking muscles or your physical muscles, and whether you're practicing a well established routine or trying something new, don't push yourself too hard.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  

If I were a poet, I'd tell you that art can save the world... moreover, it can save you.  Read art history and you will begin to understand humanity better.  Do something creative even if you don't have a single creative bone in your body.  What's the harm, anyway?  Go ahead.  Sketch an animal, draw a stick figure self-portrait, doodle a little landscape.  Take a picture of a loved one.  Sing a song to your child.  Dance around your house naked.  Write down your thoughts.  You think it's silly?  Sure.  But it feels great.  

If I were a doctor, I'd tell you that the definition of stress is the action on a body of any system of balanced forces whereby strain or deformation results; and also it is a specific response by the body to a stimulus, such as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the emotional/psychological equilibrium of an organism.  In short, you'll be able to withstand stress for only so long before it fucks you up.  It's science.

If I were a mom blogger, I'd tell you that parenting is first having to stop doing all the things you love in order to do all the things you have to do -- nurturing, protecting, guiding, teaching, comforting someone else -- and then learning how to get back to the things you love doing while still staying on top of the responsibilities, all without losing all your marbles in the process.  Pro tip: marbles will be lost.  But you'll also gain a ton of new skills (superpowers) and the rediscovery of the world (and yourself) will be all the more sweeter.  

Also: There's no such thing as "balance".  Some days you'll win at work, and others -- you'll be present at home, but you will never be in two places at once, and that's okay.     

Also: Burnout is real.  TAKE. CARE. OF. YOURSELF.

Also: Your kids will grow up to be their own people...and that's the whole point.  There's no winning or losing in parenting, only love. 

If I were anyone else but who I am, I'd tell you a million more clever clichés.  Unfortunately, I am hardly in the position to give you life advice or spew wisdom.  My value/belief system is fully empirically-derived, and I am quite averagely intelligent/talented.

Regardless of how awesome my Instagram feed looks, I don't have it all figured out (I'm just pretty good at taking photos).  I am addicted to nicotine and caffeine.  I am so insecure about my writing I'd rather procrastinate than write something half as good as I'd want.  I have anger issues.  I haven't fully dealt with past trauma and recent loss.  There's a LOT wrong with me.  Hence this blog...

But if I were to share something profound, I'd tell you this: 

Be kind to old people, children, and animals.  Especially animals.
Family is the most important thing.
Eat the damn cake.  Life's too short not to.



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