When Sh*t Hits the Fan

It's inevitable:

You get into a good routine or start a new project or lifestyle change like the teacher's freaking pet, and then life happens and throws you completely for a loop.

You might relate it to TTC, or trying to lose weight, getting more sleep, looking for a job, or quitting smoking (or drinking). Whatever it is, it's really freaking frustrating to feel like something outside of your own effort has created another hurdle you have to overcome, and it's also the moment most of us self-sabotage because we're afraid we don't have it in us to take on whatever popped up.

Yesterday morning I took the twins to my dad's house for a two-hour playdate. When we got home, we found one of our pups had crossed the rainbow bridge. It wasn't unexpected though it happened a lot faster than we anticipated, and so there was a lot of shock and a sense of failure and the sting of loss.

I felt guilty because I wasn't there.

I felt relieved because he wasn't sick any longer.

I was sad and grieving and also trying to keep everything else up and running.

My husband was a mess.

It all completely sucked.

Yet, I didn't let it ruin me or dictate the rest of our day and it's not because I'm heartless; it's because I've been here so many times before and chosen to go in a different direction that ended up prolonging the pain.

"No more," I said to myself. "Not today."

I gave myself the time and space to feel my feelings. I cried at the emergency vet as I filled out the paperwork, I cried when I pet my boy for the last time, and I recognized the numb sensation I felt afterward was what my body was doing to protect me from the pain...I didn't try to shove it down or define myself by it. It just was there, running in tandem with the rest of the complicated day.

My husband asked if we could grab some food before heading home, and he picked a local sports bar with very few good options for someone who is trying to lose weight. And we all know I'm hosting an InfertileAF Dietbet right now, so I really want to make good choices.

My good choice? The one I'm most proud of so far in my weight loss journey? I ate whatever the hell I wanted without judging it, knowing I could make better choices that evening and moving forward, and that one little high-calorie meal (and beer) didn't own or define my journey.

You guys, we're all destined to fail if we expect ourselves to be perfect, especially when things are complicated.

Don't allow society or strict diets or trainers or someone who wants to bullshit or pressure you into doing things their way dictate your choices.

Yes, I probably ate a day's worth of calories at lunch, but I got back on track for dinner and went on a walk, and Monday I felt pretty good about it. So there was no shame spiral or extra gluttony: it was one simple decision that I made consciously without condemning myself.

There's zero reason when things are already shitty to make them worse by insulting or damning ourselves over the choice to live in the moment. THAT is why people fail. Life is not black and white or all or nothing. Life is far too complex to continue dumbing down our journeys to one choice or the other.

It's when we stop doing that that we learn there are so many other choices available to us and that we can truly choose so many ways we didn't think we could when we were bound to this or that. 

Treatment or not.

Weight loss or gain.

Love or hate.

Red or blue.

Stop or start.

Win or lose.

Why do we feel the need to make everything one way or the other?

When I was in trauma therapy, I learned it's because our brains started in a much more archaic world than they're in now, and though we've evolved it doesn't mean every single piece of us has caught up yet. The good news is that we CAN catch up if we know this, and so there are actual ways to help your brain get away from this simple, caveman like thinking.

You can thank neural plasticity.

It's the brain's ability to create and follow new paths instead of the same old grooves you've built into it through life. This means, you guys, you can change the way you think at any point.

And if you can change your brain, what does that mean about how you can change your life?

This is how I've changed mine so far, since learning it was possible.
First - as a woman who really liked to try to save other people despite the fact that I lost myself while doing it.
Second - as a person who believed she wasn't worthy of love or acceptance because she was too flawed.
Third - as someone who thought I had to stay in my teaching position to earn a living because I couldn't make it as a speaker and writer.
Fourth - as a person who has tried to lose weight in the past but has given up for various reasons because it seemed like the process had to be "constantly losing or you're a loser."

I'm not a loser for eating nachos. I'm a human. And humans get to eat nachos if they want. They also get to mourn the loss of their beloved pets and talk about it because it makes them feel better.

If you are on this weight loss journey with me, know that whatever stumble you take is not as important as every good decision you've made or will continue to make. You are allowed to indulge without being hard on yourself.

See? I still dropped weight last week. I'm still headed in the right direction.

And if you're not trying to lose weight but this post resonates with you, it's because this pattern appears in a million places in our lives.

When shit hits the fan, it's easy to believe we have to give up.

But that is a lie your brain is telling you because it's being lazy and doesn't like discomfort.

Make it uncomfortable. Fight those natural urges to give up or stick with what's normal, especially when shit hits the fan.

Oh, and start talking about it.