I’m thinking back to my life 10 months ago. I *really* struggled through May, June, and July 2022. Like, I was in a really dark place I wasn’t sure I could figure out how to emerge from.
And honestly, I’m not sure I ever DID figure out how to emerge from it. I did, however, emerge from it.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, 2 reasons.
1. I always share my toys and I want to make a list of “what worked” in case it helps you or someone you love, ever.
forcing myself to get outside, even for 90 seconds
sleeping as much as my schedule would allow
being off social media almost entirely
listening to music (sometimes dancing/singing along)
allowing comfort food without guilt, judgment, or apology
knowing nothing lasts forever (and then doing Chart Harmony rituals for what was gonna keep lasting a little while longer in the meantime)
getting — and then actively PLAYING WITH — a puppy
rewriting lists with a favorite pen, celebrating the feeling of its glide and glow
shifting to less on-camera Zoom and more audio-only/asynchronous connection with clients
rarely wearing a bra or “hard pants” at all
lighting candles, applying essential oils, slathering lotion on my skin, soaking in the tub
saying I love you often to as many people as possible
scheduling things WAY apart from one another in my day to build in some gear-shift/rest time
bailing on commitments without guilt, judgment, or apology for anything beyond inconvenience it may have caused another person
communicating UP FRONT that I was in a bad way and would likely bail on commitments so no one would be shocked when I bailed
never pretending that I felt any better than I actually did (no being “ON” because of expectations)
doing color-by-number, puzzle, and other solo-activity apps that don’t trigger urgency
building things in Canva
just sitting, breathing, and taking it all in
feeling my feelings, even when (especially when) they really confused me
There’s probably more, and I’ll likely add to this list. But that’s enough of a representation of how I navigated some especially challenging months last year AND the months since then in which I’ve slowly, slowly, slowly gone from feeling full-on depressed to feeling more like the version of myself I tend to be: happy, optimistic, eager to connect with others, jazzed about things I’m learning and enjoying sharing.
About 6 weeks ago, I wrote in my journal that I just wanted to “mark it.” I wanted to make sure it was put somewhere. Stated for the record. Whatever. I wanted there to be an entry about how I just feel GOOD. Despite X, Y, Z (where X, Y, and Z represent things that are wrong or stressful or scary or whatever else — unchanged life stuff that’s still an issue, BTW), I feel at peace. Whole. I feel more Bonnie.
So, this is me, more publicly marking it. Yes, there’s a whisper in my head saying, “Dammit, girl! SHUT! UP! If you say you’re happy you’re inviting all the darkness to come back and take you down, fast!” And to that voice I say, “Thank you, amygdala. Good job, brain. You’ve spotted what YOU are interpreting as danger. Nicely done. I’m still doing this.”
“This” is posting this. And sharing the above plus the second thing I told you I’d be sharing.
2. I’ve felt the urge to SAY SO when I’m grateful about anything.
You’re reading this. You’ve invited me into your world through these words on this page. Onto your device. You’re allowing this form of connection, comprised of 1s and 0s that look a lot like words I’ve strung together into stories. And maybe you feel my heart as I share from it.
I appreciate you.
Whether we’ve met in person, connected online, or those things have yet to happen for us, I’m grateful to you and for you.
You deserve to hear that more than you do.
There’s no assignment in this post. No call to action, encouraging you to go out and tell someone else you’re grateful they exist (although it creates a really nice swirl of energy in all sorts of good directions). What I want you to do is what makes you feel good. Because ultimately, as humans — these infinite souls in temporary skin suits — doing more of what feels good is something we all could use.
It makes a world of difference.
Ultimately, feeling good about any little thing — and marking it so we KNOW it’s a thing — can get us out of some really dark places, when practiced consistently enough, over enough time.
I’m living proof.
All my love,
Bonnie Gillespie is simultaneously all characters in The Wizard of Oz (esp. the yellow-brick road). Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!
Thank you for sharing this. Your honesty is appreciated. 💕
Thank you. Love you.
Been thinking of you so much, Bonnie. Going through menopause as well as a pandemic is A LOT, right? 😉 Thank you for sharing the darkness as well as the light.
So much of what you wrote reminded me of my early days with perimenopause and how much I didn’t feel like myself. My body didn’t feel like mine, and my spirit didn’t feel like it could be contained.
Writing about it helped. Meditating helped. Finding the right mix of high-quality vitamins helped (B is ESSENTIAL), and TALKING about it helped so much.
So thank you for writing about your experience and for sharing your toys, as always. 🙂
Covid was a really weird time, and I’ve found post-Covid to be just as weird. How anxious some people are to return to what was “normal” before Covid! But I think of the song from Ragtime, “Back to Before”:
There are people out there, unafraid of revealing
That they might have a feeling
Or they might have been wrong
There are people out there, unafraid to feel sorrow
Unafraid of tomorrow
Unafraid to be weak
Unafraid to be strong
We can never go back to before
I look back at the pre-Covid times and see how much I was RUNNING EVERYWERE: run to audition signups, run to my day job, run to auditions on my lunch hour or run to a therapy session, run back to the day job, go the gym and run some more, run to rehearsals or acting or voice class after the day job, get home exhausted. Now I look at that time and go, HOW did I sustain that?
Now I give myself the gift of meditating every day. I work more on my craft, and I PLAY more and LOVE more EVERY DAY, and it feels so much better!
And Bonnie, your Dip Kit from Get in Gear helped me. So many of the gifts – the toys! – you have shared with the world over the years helped me through the dark. You are a lighthouse, lady, and I’m glad you’re doing what you need to do to take care of your light.
Sending a big psychic hug your way!
I love you so much, Laura. YES to all of this. Big fat yes! It’s like all the rules we finally figured out how to follow all went sideways at once with menopause… and then pandemic times on top of that. Whooooosh. What a mindfuck! I am rather enjoying this there-are-no-rules version of life and time now, though. Because why the hell not? LOL LOL LOL Love you!