Embracing (and escaping) the big black hole of yuck

copyright istockphoto.com/asiseeit

copyright istockphoto.com/asiseeit

My friend sent me a link to a blog post last week and before I knew it, I'd spent a good twenty minutes on this woman's site. Her name is a Glennon, a recovering bulimic and alcoholic and mom of three, and she has quite a following (this is an understatement). Glennon is beautiful and her family looks picture-perfect, and I suspect some passersby are guilty of dismissing all that loveliness without recognizing what it took for her to get where she is today. The post was about how people always tell her to seize the moment, be aware, be happy and how "carpe diem" just doesn't work for her. (She does an amazing job of explaining what does work for her, and it's worth the read.) As I sat there, slurping her words like an original ICEE (coca-cola flavor with a little bit of cherry, please), I thought, Gulp, that sort of sounds like me. Didn't I declare 2012 as the year to be in the moment? To stop putting off the things that really matter until later? The year of eyes wide open, the year to live? And yet I felt myself agreeing with her 100%. Glennon's perspective made me examine my own perspective. I'm one of those people who feels guilty for not enjoying motherhood enough. When I've had a bad day, my first inclination is to wonder what I did wrong. I began to wonder if I'm being honest enough, with myself and with you.

After some thought, I concluded this: I purposely write about discovering happiness and soaking up all those magical moments in life. One day I might expose my heart and the next I smooth it over with humor and silliness. This is actually my real-life personality. But it's also a coping mechanism. I turn my focus to all that is good and right and beautiful and funny about my life, because that's how I deal. It doesn't mean that I believe (or that I want you to believe) that my life is always good and right and beautiful and funny. But I suspect you already know that.

The fact is that most of us have a behind-the-scenes story about what it took for us to get where we are today. That story is not always pretty. Life is made up of peaks and valleys. I will never stop celebrating the peaks. But I need to stop judging myself on those days I'm in the valley. The goal is not to be happy every single second but to remember to free myself from the giant black hole of yuck. Make a pit stop but don't move in.