Real Talk: Healing
Last month, Coach Michael at Versus challenged us to unplug for 10 minutes a day. It was the hardest and the best thing I’ve done, and I found it easiest to fit into my daily to-do’s while driving.
All too often, I plug in music and sing as loud as I can. It passes the time and I get in my daily need of tunes. Win-win, right? Right. I’m sure you’re very glad you don’t ride anywhere with me.
And while only a small amount of time was spent each day, those 28 days of unplugging revealed a stronger need for disconnecting more with a focus on myself.
Within a few days of the challenge, it became apparent how quick I am to get caught up in whatever is going on around me and how easy it is for those things to consume me.
When that kind of noise is flying around, it’s really, really hard to find perspective. From relationships to events to work to every other little thing - I found that my brain was starving for a little peace and quiet.
Y'all. Ten minutes of silence is the weirdest thing on the planet when you're not really sure what to do with it. But slowly, the quiet allowed me to process everything that's been going on in my world.
I worked through things I've been avoiding, I grieved for people in my life who are no longer there, and I processed what moving forward means.
If the premise of this column is the realest of talk, I have to tell you that there are so many words I've needed to write for many months... but until I figured them out for myself, I couldn’t.
To be fair, I was getting really good at good ole victim language and pointing fingers at other reasons.
Daily doses of unplugging pushed me to look inward. Regardless of the situation, I am the only person I can control.
In January, I wrote about how I needed to choose me for a change. With that in mind and coupled with February’s challenge, I’m learning just how important that is.
And since we’re on the road of honesty here … I haven’t been my first choice in a long time.
When you count me in for something, I am ALL IN. I think I’ve always owned that character trait and it is the part of me that makes me good at what I get to do as a professional.
But personally? It is a very dangerous line to toe. And somewhere over the course of the past few years, the whole of myself was ALL-IN for certain things and people.
Don’t get me wrong. Things and people are important, but they should never rise to a level of identification.
This isn’t a great awakening, by any means. I didn’t decide this today and now the world looks differently. But, I do think there’s something to be said about lines of understanding when we see patterns that haven’t always resulted in the best of things for who we are.
At least, that’s what it’s been like for me.
My first instincts are...
To stay somewhere or with someone because I find routine to be safe and comfortable.
To dismiss how I feel if it makes the situation easier.
To say yes because there’s a need.
To respond because I feel like it’s rude if I don’t.
To do things all on my own because sometimes it’s easier than asking for help.
The truth is that those are five of the most dangerous statements I’ve ever written.
I’ve always been a stubborn pain in the ass, with a 15-second rebound rate, who does her own thing and is a-okay if it’s not what other people care for.
But somewhere, at some point, my feelings of independence and emotional strength disappeared into an abyss for reasons I’m still trying to figure out.
Y’all, that’s really freaking hard to admit.
I have a friend who often says, “No one loves you like you love you.” Thinking about it now makes me laugh.
He initially mentioned it in the scope of being a firefighter and how it’s a life or death thing to make sure your own personal stuff is all together before entering a burning structure. “Because no one loves you like you love you, Sam.”
I used to tell him how selfish it sounded in the singular context. But y’all… he was right.
I’m not entering into buildings engulfed by flames on the daily; but I cannot be my best self with responsibility for others when I’m not taking care of me.
In college, a mentor passed along a quote by Oswald Chambers. This week, when I was trying to figure out how I was going to pummel all of these feelings into words, I stumbled upon a journal where it was written down.
"When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, by thwarted desires, a broken friendship... when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us."
The journey I’m on today is much different than it was in college, but a leopard doesn’t always change its spots so easily. I needed that quote then, but good-gosh... it’s a perfect descriptor for how these last few months have felt.
This time in my life has left me totally speechless on more than one occasion, but I’m seeing that the key to being a better human stems from the lessons I’m learning.
I know that the comfort zone of routine may not be the best place for me to stay.
It’s important for me to claim how I feel and not let it get lost in the rubble of life just because it’s more convenient for the situation.
I understand that I don’t always have to volunteer me or my time, just because there’s a need. There’s a good chance someone else can fill that need and be better at it.
I don’t always have to respond immediately. I can wait. I can decide to respond when I feel like it’s the best time to do so.
And most importantly, I can ask for help when I need it. I don’t always have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. If you’re curious - that one is the hardest to speak into being.
Y’all, year 30 is trying its hardest to make me into an adult way more than I care for, but I think I am finally ready to be still, to listen, and to learn.
When Samantha isn’t driving in silence, she can be found voting daily for her friends in the Festival South - Best of the Pine Belt Awards. She voted today, did you?
If Samantha made you scream in anger, laugh out loud, or cry snot-inducing tears - give her a shout at email@example.com or visit her at facebook.com/mccainsam.