Honest, hope is a verb, I choose champagne

It FEELS like a lot.

I’ve realized lately it feels as if my anxiety is winning.

I know it’s not, but it FEELS like it is.

And I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Why does it feel for every five steps I move forward the sucker punch takes me back ten?

Why does it feel as if I can do 9 things right but the 10th time puts me underwater?

And I’m wonder do you feel the same?

Do you feel as if you are unable to get ahead or celebrate the small victories?

Do your joys that you experience feel like things you can’t share because everyone around you feels like they are losing battles?

Are you the friend that’s losing a battle?

I’ve had a few friends have some really exciting things happen over the last week and it makes me PUMPED when they share it.

Because we can’t find celebration for ourselves these days unless we see celebration.

We can’t figure out how to find joy and hope unless we see it.

There is a shouting match happening in the world right now. 

And it’s exhausting.

It’s like with my tiny humans. If I have a staff who tries to just get louder to shout over the kids who are being loud I let them know it doesn’t work.

And it’s gonna drive you absolutely insane.

I had something happening the other day where there was loud chaos, no one could pick a place to play, I was just trying to clean up and I realized me cleaning up the mess wasn’t helping.

So, I used my loud teacher voice and stated “I AM GOING TO READ THIS SPOOOOOOKY BOOK” (my tiny humans are all about spooky books right now).

I sat on the floor of my library and at first just started leafing through the book.

Then one tiny human came over and I started reading it.

By the end of the story I had 7 of my ten kids in the library. 

Then we finished the book and I re-asked them where they wanted to play and they chose an area, I pulled out some new toys and we went back about our day.

There are a lot of things that need to be said right now (#govote). There is a lot of energy in the air that isn’t helpful.

There is a lot of the inability to feel as if we aren’t allowed to be joyful.

But damn, do we need it.

And joy isn’t easy.

And it sometimes feels like succumbing to anxiety is easier.

But sometimes we have to stop yelling at the chaos and we have to sit down and read a spooky book and let the chaos settle.

And yes, sometimes we have to fight.

I think right now we are more prone to fight.

I know I am.

If I don’t fight I feel like my body might just give up on me.

But I also know the more that I hear others celebration and joy I get more ability to fight.

I think we’ve stopped sharing joy because it feels wrong.

I think I’ve started feeling like anxiety is winning because it feels like celebration is losing.

It feels like we are shouting at the chaos when instead we just need to tell a story. It can be someone else’s story or even a spooooooky story. 

Stories don’t have to be celebratory but the more we speak out our own darkness the more it isn’t able to stay because we keep shining light on it. 

So, what I want you to do is (if you’ve gotten to the bottom of these words) to share a joy, a celebration, something exciting that has happened this week no matter how small it seems to you.

And lastly: if it feels like anxiety is winning, if depression and darkness is winning- I get you and also,

No, it’s not.

I can promise you that right now.

You are more than it.

It’s still valid, it’s there- but it’s not winning.

Honest, hope is a verb

I cleaned my room

Damn.

So, this isn’t something I have wanted to talk about again. It seems that there are a few topics that when they swing back into my sphere of life I desire to do everything but write about them.

I don’t really like to feel like a broken record.

But the fact of the matter is words and I haven’t really gotten along in 2k18, so I best move along with the ones that are hitting against my heart.

Before I move on I want to just leave my bottom line up here at the top, just in case you want to stop reading and go eat a taco:

Your anxiety is not a burden.

Your depression is not a burden.

Your burn out is not a burden.

Your mental health is not a burden.

I don’t know what it is with summers (well, I do but we don’t need to go into it) but this summer has been for lack of a better word; weird.

That’s been really the only word I can come up with.

Because nothing has been bad, nothing has devastated me, but I’ve been tired, drained, burnt out and much more susceptible to the anxiety that finds ways to creep up my spine.

I am surrounded by people just like me or similar to me in one way or another.

I work with people who care. You literally would not survive in my job if you didn’t care. Even the tiny humans that drive me the most up the wall occupy space in my heart.

But, what you find in my line of work is a lot of humans who don’t have the space or ability to put themselves first, you find people who want to help others, take care of others.

When I was in grad school I did a lot of research on burn out in pastors and church leadership mainly because that is what I was going to school for. And I found a lot of pieces of research, a lot of books and statistics on burn out in pastors. A lot of stats on mental health issues and breakdowns as well.

I haven’t done the research but it wouldn’t surprise me if there was the same type of findings in early learning.

And I already hear the responses, and I already can see comments being typed about needing to take care of ourselves.

Don’t you think we know?

I, personally, deal with depression, anxiety and burn out. It is not always present but it comes in waves, seasons and here and there it’s debilitating intense. But, every damn day, I show up for those kiddos. Yes, sometimes that might not be the best for me. But it’s what I do.

(The tears are freely hitting my ipad just for reference.)

I’ve been finding ways be it reorganizing my room, doing face masks, listening to pretty music, to lower my stress and to bring me back to myself.

I’m always working on it.

And I think, why I chose to write and allow my train of thought to freely take the lead is this:

Sweet lord, you my friend, in whatever you are dealing with, are allowed to deal with it.

I’m not saying to not be active. To not pursue health, to not find things that bring you joy, balance and hope.

Be as active as you can be, whether that’s calling a friend to lay on the floor with you while you cry, or bulking up your self care routine. Or getting help from someone who has a degree on the wall.

I don’t know where you are in life.

I just want you to know that we are all walking together whether we know it or not.

I want you to know that I very much have an Instagram filter on sometimes (& its 100% ok if you do too)

I want you to know I very much believe you are going to be ok.

I am going to choose to believe that all the things in life are not a burden.

I am going to choose to believe that I am not too much.

I want you to do the same.

Whether you are a stay at home mom. Or a teacher. Whether you have a corporate job or you are a pastor.

You’ve got this.

And we are here, together.