Sunday, October 7, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

   (New publication...get your copy today on a SELFISH plug! lol)

“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.”
This week, I struggled a great deal with what to write about for today. I thought about what mattered to me and to others. What I wanted to stay what experiences I wanted to share. Did I want to be funny or insightful? Did I want to give advice? I would decide on one thing and wake up in the middle of the night and think of something else, something "better."

Yesterday, however, I had a long conversation with one of my closest friends about a health issue she is having. When I got off the phone, I realized that that was the 4th conversation I had had like that in less than a week. At first I thought, "Wow, this is great! I am developing a great support system. I have people who understand illness, who are suffering, LIKE ME! I can help them, they can help me. We understand each other!"

And then it hit me like a sack of bricks: Why are so many of us, women I mean, in our young age getting so sick? Why is it that all of a sudden every beautiful, talented, overworked, under-appreciated woman who is on her way to "the top"  have Lupus, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or Sjogrens, or Celiac Disease or hypo/hyperthyroidism? Is it simply the "new car syndrome." You know, like when you buy a new Lexus (yeah, right) and all of a sudden you see it EVERYWHERE? Is that what it's like with illness too? 

Regardless, I realized that instead of being "happy" that I had a strong support system, I felt sad even angry that so many of us women in our mid 20s to early 30s were getting or maybe even making ourselves so sick. 

I started to think about what all of these women that I had just met or have known for years had in common and it almost made me title today's blog: Suburbia, Stress & Success. Lol, but I felt that was too general and I wasn't 100% sure that all of us came from the burbs. 

Anywho, what we DO have in common is our need to achieve. To be the best, to strive for more and to never stop. Our common thread is that we stress. We stress about what to wear, where to go, who to please, what to be. We are all on "go" all day, every day, and like the quote says: running fast and getting nowhere. Running even faster only to miss what is right front of us. 

Growing up, and to this day, I am obsessed with and absolutely LOVE the story Alice in Wonderland. Maybe it has something to do with the sexy Johnny Depp or simply because I can completely relate to her journey. Always feeling like your falling down a rabbit hole, with no time, always late, running into a reality that feels more like an acid trip with confusing directions and quirky characters, and all you want to do is GO HOME. All my life I have been go, go, go, go trying to get.....where?? 

I graduated high school at 17, went to community college that summer, started as a sophomore my freshman year, graduated undergrad in 3 years, a masters 2 years after that, performed in over 30 plays, traveled toEurope, got a job with a 401k, saved money, got married, got published. I reached all of my dreams (with the exception of a child) before I hit 25. But between the job and the publishing, I got sick...and as I kept "succeeding" I kept getting sicker. I wasn't slowing down but I really wasn't going anywhere. Not spiritually, not holistically anyway.  My "success" as defined by society was sealed. So why was I so unhappy?

Ladies, we need to slow down. Hell, some of us just need to stop. Who are we trying to impress? Whose expectations are we trying to live up to? What really matters? Why does the media insist that we have to be Super Woman? Why aren't we ok with simply being ok, with doing the best we can do in that moment? Balance, true balance comes from letting go of things in order to have room for others. Let go of the trivial, of the mundane of the people that add to the stress and bring you down. Doing so will allow you to make room for the good stuff. 

I have recently come to one conclusion: 

The journey of our lives should be determined by the legacy we are trying to leave behind. 

In other words, after all is said and done, what will you leave for others? What difference or impact in the lives of others will have mattered? How will you live on in their hearts and minds?  Everything else, all other stress is second rate. Notice, I didn't say what difference in the "world" are you trying to make--come on people that's way too stressful!!! life got better when I stopped trying to change the world and just focused on one person at a time(including myself- I come first, otherwise what good am I to others?) 

I now know that my legacy involves my spirituality, my art, my students and my family. And that's it. I am successful, I have been successful, employed or unemployed, with a degree or without. (So people, stop giving me crazy looks when I tell you I quit my job!) If I focus my efforts on those things, nothing else matters. I know we all need jobs and money and a house and food to survive. I get it. But we also need to learn to trust that these things will be provided for us if we're on the right journey to begin with. 

Stress kills. Period. It manifests itself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Is it inevitable? Probably not, but as I've said before, how you react to it can change your life. Stop trying to be successful or to be it "all" and just be. I won't tell you now, to go stop and smell the flowers. Instead, I will tell you to pick the flower, put it in a vase and hand them to someone special. You'll feel better, I promise. You'll be one step closer to getting better.


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  2. Beautiful words from a wise, beautiful girl. Yes, women have immense pressure to succeed in the world's eyes, even if they are not succeeding in the eyes of their childrenl...their husband...their God. We must strive to be the best wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, etc. as we possibly can, but not before being the BEST friend to ourselves FIRST. I loved your quote, "The journey of our lives should be determined by the legacy we are trying to leave behind." Yes, these words ring true. Thank you for sharing your words, which all women need to hear...or we will all find ourselves in quick sand...or in Wonderland...wondering, "WHat happened to my life? And, Who am I? You're an inspiration to get up everyday and live...simply because we have the gift of life. Thank you Jasmine.

    Love, Julie