Just Show Up

For the past few months, I’ve been obsessed with Glennon Doyle Melton. A few months ago, I went down a long rabbit hole of TED Talk YouTube videos and happened to stumble across hers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHHPNMIK-fY 

Since then, I’ve explored her website/blog, followed her on Instagram, and ordered her book (it’s next in my lineup of books I need to read). She’s just so damn inspirational – her story, her journey, her authenticity – it’s incredible.

Not only does her journey give hope to the messy people of the world (I consider myself a very messy person), but she is a living example that you really can come out of the other side of whatever situation you may be facing. Her story gives so many the “permission” to be vulnerable, to own up to the imperfections in life, and to admit that recovery (from any and everything) is an ongoing process.

Two important phrases that have stuck with me through reading Glennon’s blog are:

  1. Do The Next Right Thing
  2. Just Show Up

The first – Do The Next Right Thing – is one I’ve been using for a while in my own recovery. I’m not sure where I first heard it, but it has been crucial throughout my journey. I have found that for most people, taking recovery life day by day feels impossible. Many times, even hour by hour can seem out of reach. But, if you can focus on doing the next right thing, life becomes a little less complicated.

Let me explain. Throughout recovery, whenever I “slipped up,” I immediately labeled that day as a failure. If I skipped lunch, the day was shot, might as well skip dinner too. And while I’m at it, I should probably run a couple extra miles. And why not weigh myself? Then the next day, I could get back on track…until I slipped up again. It was a vicious cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I wasn’t giving myself any room to improve “bad” days or any room to be human and make a mistake on “good” days.

Insert “Do The Next Right Thing.” All of the sudden, it didn’t matter if I skipped lunch. The day wasn’t ruined because I had the power to recognize my slip up as a mistake and do the next right thing. The next right thing could have been reaching out for support, canceling my workout, or eating a snack. Whatever it was, it was positive and put me back on the right track.

By choosing to do the next right thing, I didn’t have to feel guilty or overwhelmed or shameful. I could stay in the moment and be proud of myself for making a positive and healthy decision. And, if a day is comprised of a bunch of next right things, it gives a lot less time for wrong things.

The second – Just Show Up – is a new one for me. This is one I wish I had heard early on in recovery! There are probably many ways to interpret “Just Show Up,” but for me it’s all about letting go of fear and perfection and putting myself out there.

In college, I was a part of an on campus ED recovery group. Not only was I TERRIFIED that my friends might find out, I was also in a constant battle with myself over if I actually NEEDED to be a part of this group or not. I saw everyone in the group as “sicker” than myself. They were skinnier, they ate less, they exercised more. Was this true? I honestly have no idea. But at the time, it’s what I perceived.

I spent each week worrying about going to this group. Would I pass anyone I knew on the way? What would I say? Could I get by with not saying anything? Then, I spent each group meeting worrying about what I would say next or what I already said or most importantly, trying to keep my stomach from growling by drinking tons of water. Needless to say, I was not mentally present very often.

Looking back, things could have been so much different if I would have JUST SHOWN UP. Yes, I was there physically, but I needed to show up mentally. I needed to be aware of what was going on around me, aware of what others were saying, and less aware of perfecting what I was going to say. I needed to just be there, in the moment, taking part in something that could have had an even bigger impact on my life than it did (thankfully, I did make a great friend through this group).

I see this constantly play out in my life. From dinner dates with friends to conversations with coworkers or students – how many times have I been so overwhelmed with anxiety and NOT shown up? How could these moments be different if I decided to JUST SHOW UP?

This is something I plan to really work on in my life. I don’t want to miss opportunities because I am anxious and worried it might not work out. I want to be someone who SHOWS UP no matter what.

For now, that means calling a volunteer organization that I’ve been trying to reach by email because phone conversations cause a lot of anxiety.

It also means putting myself out there for an outdoor fitness boot camp business that I want to start when we move back to Virginia.

Both of these are way out of my comfort zone. And both require me to JUST SHOW UP!

I realize now that doing the next right thing and just showing up go hand in hand. The thing you show up for might just be your next right thing. So, be brave. Be strong. Believe in yourself. Do your next right thing and just show up!

Also, a big thanks to Glennon Doyle Melton for being the amazing human being that she is. 🙂

“Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real.” – Glennon Doyle Melton, Momastery.com  

Sara Bareilles

I should be studying. Instead, I am watching a Sara Bareilles concert that was live streamed on Yahoo last night.

I’ve mentioned before that music was, is, and will continue to be a huge part of my recovery and my journey through life in general. Sara Bareilles has played a huge role along the way. From “Gravity” to “Brave” and everything in between, I have found solace, strength, and hope in her authentic and transparent lyrics. Each song is a message and many feel like Sara is reaching out to say, “you are not alone,” “it’s okay to be you,” and “you are strong enough to face any situation head on.”

Last night, I finished reading her new book, “Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) In Song.” It was incredible! Each chapter gave a backstory to a particular song, giving it a personal meaning from Sara, alongside the meaning it holds for each listener. I wish it was longer! Each sentence was like an intimate conversation, showing Sara’s authenticity goes beyond her lyrics – she is the songs she writes.

One of my favorite paragraphs of the entire book is in the chapter, “Beautiful Girl.” This chapter is comprised of letters Sara wrote to herself throughout different phases of her life. One in particular reads,

“Things evolve into other things. Emotions do the same. Forever. Your best ally in all of these shifting seas is your faith in the fact that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Stay put. Stay soft. Stay gentle and kind. Listen to your instincts. Meditate. Pray. Laugh as much as humanly possible. Pain is okay too. Say thank you for all of it. Feel proud that you have spent most of your life’s energy on cultivating a strong connection to your own soul and the will of your heart. It is leading you somewhere deeply satisfying but never perfect. Observe what is painful right now and see if you can stay courageous enough to share it wholly and honestly. Invite it into your house and be a good student. You are a patchwork quilt of all of these past selves, all these wounded little girls, and they are all here too, listening in some form or another…”

The connection Sara is able to make with her words is incredible. These letters left me speechless. As did the entire book. Each chapter left me feeling a little more understood and a little less alone in the crazy, unpredictable journey of life.

The final chapter was about a song from Sara’s new musical, Waitress. The song, “She Used To Be Mine,” gave me chills and left me in tears the first time I heard it…and the second, and the third.

I think the chorus is a place where a lot of women can see themselves:

“She’s imperfect but she tries

She is good but she lies

She is hard on herself

She is broken and won’t ask for help

She is messy but she’s kind

She is lonely most of the time

She is all of this mixed up

And baked in a beautiful pie

She is gone but she used to be mine.”

Once again, Sara’s lyrics left me feeling seen, heard, and validated. I’m not sure how she manages to do this EVERY SINGLE TIME, but she does!

Music, especially Sara’s music, has taught me so much throughout my journey. Important lessons about myself, about others, about bravery and strength, about honesty, about love, and so much more. Lessons that have changed me, shaped me, and guided me through this journey.

I highly recommend not only her music, but her book, to anyone who feels alone, broken, or a little messy. I also recommend it to any and everyone else. 🙂

And thanks to Sara for being open and honest and for sharing your talent with the world.

You are a brave, beautiful, badass!