So I’m gonna talk about my Facebook post. Not the cute ones, which were filtered and fired off a bunch of times under proper lighting before being published. I mean the other one.
The real one. The raw one.
Here’s the backstory.
It’s been a “feverish” year for all seven of us–and by “feverish”, I’m probably referring to many of the same issues that you who are reading this are facing as well. In an effort to help me relax, Matt planned to whisk me away to Florida during an off-kids weekend.
Amazing, I know, right? How lucky am I?
Then something out of our control caused us to have to cancel the trip. I’m going to choose my words wisely from here on out. There were many layers to this sudden and disappointing cancellation–none of which were our fault.
I’d been so looking forward to a relaxing weekend away with him, some together time with my favorite person; and some sunshine, some freedom from the rigor of work, the management of running a household, the terrible grayness of the landscape this time of year, the usual routine: the tedium, the bills, the laundry, the vacuuming, the minutiae of every single day.
Vacation = vacate. And I couldn’t wait.
Then poof: gone.
Nobody’s fault in my circle of trust. There was nothing our circle could do except ensure that all of the kids were okay. Luckily, they have us. And we’re a team. And we foster our little family as much as we can. And we’re fuller together. So we got this.
Once we knew the kids were safe, I threw myself a full-blown pity-party, think-aloud, self-induced therapy session via vlogging on Facebook. Then I hit post.
OMG!!!! What was I thinking?! No halfsies! No take-backsies! What had I just done?!
I went to hit delete, but I saw that there were already several views. And then the messages started coming in…clandestinely. Furtive Facebook messages. Telling text messages. Illicit emails. Honest, authentic conversations at work with my colleagues.
So many people. So much in common.
To be clear, I chose Facebook because I knew my audience: these were my friends–no quote marks needed there. I choose my Facebook friends wisely, and I maintain a small circle purposefully. I knew I could speak only to the people I’ve chosen to have in my life. I did not post this video to Instagram because that is more business-related; and let’s be honest, the two don’t always jive. This was one of those situations in which they needed to be kept mutually exclusive. Meg Foster versus @meg.in.the.mid? Sometimes we are one in the same, but sometimes @meg.in.the.mid is simply my understudy, though she seemingly shines brighter.
Or is it the other way around?
As of this moment, that Facebook video has over 300 views, which kinda makes me feel like Brene Brown (a total stretch, I know), but that number seems huge for me. I can’t say that I’m “proud” of that. But I do take gratification in the fact that it’s elicited conversations and acknowledgement that life is hard for many of us. And pity-parties are so popular, we may need a party bus.
The thing about pity-parties (or any party for that matter) is that you’ve got to know when to leave…like Seinfeld. Stay too long and you’re Alice in Wallow-Land, which is no good for anybody in your life, especially yourself. A day or two is enough: it enables us to gain perspective and context. Then move along, folks!
The next day, I began to think about my “problems”: my weekend trip to Florida was cancelled. Princess problem! I have a great job with great students whom I adore, whose curriculums also mentally and creatively stimulate me. I pay my bills with money I’ve satisfyingly earned on my own. I have two beautiful, charming, and healthy children who snuggle me, crack me up, challenge me, and help me grow as a mother and a person. I have a fiance who fulfills my life in ways I never thought could exist. (I’m pretty confident that even though she’s passed, my mom had something to do with setting us up.)
Let’s talk PROBLEMS. My stepbrother’s son has cancer. He’s five. He gets chemo once a week. My friend just had a lumpectomy and is awaiting the results. One of my friends has to head back to court and spend thousands of dollars trying to fight for the best interest of the kids. One of my friends just lost her job, and she’s a single mother. My students are reading The Book Thief in 9 Honors and learning about not only Auschwitz, but also Dachau, and worst of all, Mauthausen.
Those are PROBLEMS.
My stuff? Meh. Recoverable certainly. Talk about context.
A friend of mine once told me that if we all wrote our problems down on index cards and threw them into the middle of a circle, read them all, and then got to choose…we’d end up choosing our own.
She was right: I’d still choose my own “problems”.
Furthermore, I recently read an article we could all benefit from. Alison Mango gives us in “(Scientific) Happiness Hacks” ways to combat our pity-parties. If you’d like to read more about each of the topics listed below, click the following link from CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2016/01/22/health/happiness-hacks/index.html
- Flow through some yoga
- Load up on leafy greens
- Buy flowers for yourself
- Turn on a light box
- Open the shades
- Go outside
- Smell the oranges
- Eat carbs as an afternoon snack
- Play with your pet
- Take microbreaks
- Listen to music…
- …and sing along
- Eat chocolate
- Drink coffee
- Sip on some green tea
- Make a human connection
So there you have it. We all have “problems”. But some of us have PROBLEMS.
And now we have some solutions.
I chose to utilize many of the aforementioned strategies–one of which was choosing to feature Love Your Melon for Millennium Magazine. This one felt really good! http://www.millenniummagazine.com/product-reviews/love-your-melon/
It gave me perspective. It gave me context.
It made me realize that I’d gladly take off my “princess” tiara and trade it in for a Love Your Melon hat to help the little guys fighting pediatric cancer.
Love conquers all. Even pity-parties.