There’s a few facts in life that generally see you through whatever it is that you’re going through.
These facts of life begin and end with a Mumford and Sons song.
There’s one called ‘Guiding Light’ that’s absolutely great. If that’s too on the nose for you, then I can also offer another foray into the back alley roster, ‘Woman’. Failing all of that, then you really can’t go wrong with ‘I will wait’ or the rip roaring ‘Little Lion Man’. I’m forgetting quite how many pure, unadulterated bops they have. Wow. Good for them.
Anyway, case and point. Every now and then we get stumped. Life gets a little bit of a lot. Work is tough, the family is stressful. Money is hard and always will be.
I’m not going to pretend otherwise, nor would it be helpful to.
Sometimes is often most times, occasionally, sometimes ‘sometimes’ is only ever once. When we feel so low that we forget we’re still actually falling. Or worse still, when we forget that we aren’t falling anymore. That’s always an intensely loaded moment because how can you program from that? When, now that you’ve bracingly or passively endured something for so long, something different is expected of you. It’s not wrong to have become acclimatized to that force.
For it to be so at once oppressive, and yet alienating and comforting. A known force. A presence. While I say that there’s nothing unusual about that, it doesn’t necessarily stand to reason that it’s a healthy long-term practice.
So here we are again, in whatever circumstances, in need of a guiding light.
Like what the song tells you to look for. Except that we actually need to believe it. And in ourselves. That’s always the tough pill to swallow. Firstly however, I don’t believe in the mantra that ‘you have to love yourself before you can love others’. This is because, in any case, we all have empathy transmitters and receptors. Like, we know that. We are aware of how our actions can impact other people because of how we ourselves have been impacted by other people. It’s like a cycle of self-fulfilling and explicating emotional deterrence.
Equally, it’s important to still try to like yourself. That makes everything more bearable. The more that you love your partner or family members – warts, flaws and all – it means that in your head the idea of mistakes and flaws are not only acceptable, but desirable. They can be loved just as much as the rest of you.
We are not our mistakes. But they are part of us, and we would do well to remember that.
Sometimes we need to be picked up off the floor. Occasionally, we help other people off the floor. I’d certainly hope so. Often, we may even know exactly what we’re doing as we fall to the floor. Some ways we may not stray too far from the self destruct button. Other days you will forget it exists to trigger you. The issue with sometimes and most days is that there is the negative flip side of the ‘those days’ which can often engulf any sense of progress you’ve made before. It happens. Trust me.
But yes, you find yourself repeating a cycle you’ve trod many times before. It’s nearly muscle memory now, as you sit on the linoleum floor of the pub in town. You’re pretty sure you came with friends but they can’t find you at the moment, impressive, considering how much noise you’re making. In all regards, your mascara and your emotions are running. One impinge slightly more upon the visual aspect of what the people in the cubicles can see of you.
That’s a thought for another day, though.
Because look over there, what vision do you see before you? What light doth through a window breaks? It’s your greatest friend.
She’s wrangled through the pub staff with a handful of paper towels, an uber home and a grim set determination to get you back safe. We love that for you. That person may not always be there, because even if they say they will, they shouldn’t. why? Because you won’t always be in that position. Therefore you won’t require that specific care. Maybe. Maybe not. But their way, rock bottom may seem like the time to make some promises or ambitious goals. That’s not always in your interest though. Rock bottom is however, the time to make good on your intention to be better.
This isn’t a big intellectual idea. Or something that is unachievable.
No, this is tiny steps of progress that can be made over periods of time. Going to bed an hour early, twice a week. Forgetting a glass of wine with dinner once, and remembering, but not feeling a compulsion to drink the next day. It doesn’t mean you give up, not that you need to, but it’s nice to see the resumption of forms of control. These are positive ways in which you can feel more in control of your life and trajectory.
There’s no greater or worse feeling than being rescued yet feeling like a burden.
Therefore, let’s give ourselves opportunities to empower ourselves. To thrive. Or, if thriving sounds too much like a biology plant lesson, just continue to exist. With a bit of water. Or a bamboo stalk to anchor ourselves. Maybe try to commemorate yourself somehow. Plants are great metaphors for mental health though. Because although we all know that the flower is what people look at and what catches their attention, the important part of a plant is the root.
How deep it runs, through how many channels, and where it leads.
Most importantly, it is the lifeblood of not only the plant itself, but it’s neighbours and the community. To nourish each other on the block. In short: we love a plant moment. Do address this gratuitous aside to my assembled wall of house plants? Possibly, yes. What of it?
Sometimes we need a guiding light.
Occasionally we want a plant.
Mostly we need a friend. Talk to any of the above.