Black Eyes and Rose Colored Glasses

Rose-ey glassesSo it’s that time of the year again.

Where we say buhbye to 2010 and sexy ourselves up so 2011 will dig us like an old soul record.

Pretty much every single person I know is knee deep in some mix of dreaming, scheming and reflecting right about now.

Putting a bow on things.
Writing lists of lessons learned.
Making gigantigorgeous plans for next year.

It’s that whole yearly wrap up thing.

Taking stock of where you’ve been. Figuring out where you want to be.

Yada yada.

And parts of this end-of-the-year ritual are 100% pure awesome.

Other parts, not so much.

Hold the sprinkles

I’ve talked to five coaching clients in the last two weeks who were feeling totally angst-ey about the end of the year.

And when I asked what was up with the angst-ey bits, they all had basically the same answer.

They’ve each had a lot of suck happen this year.

And every single one of them was feeling this pressure to wrap up the ack into some neat little package before saying toodles to 2010.

Like they had to remix the suck and turn it into something positive. All of a sudden. On command.

Looking for the silver lining.
Finding the gift in the hard.
Being grateful for what they learned.

And not only that, but they had to do it before 11:59 pm on December 31st.

That, fab taters, is what I’d call a double dip of bullshit, served in a crap cone and topped with extra suck sprinkles.

File under “futile” (See also “annoying”)

There is nothing more annoying than forced gratitude.

Which is not to be confused with real life gratitude. Which is actually the awesome.

But this forced stuff?

It’s gross. And plastic. And pretty much totally useless.

Because you are where you are.
And you feel how you feel.

And, sure, there’s a ton of things you can do to get yourself to a different place. But pretending you’re there when you’re not isn’t one of them.

If you’re feeling gnarly about some suck, acting like you don’t isn’t going to automagically turn ack into a unicorn.

And trying to look for the silver lining or find the gift when you’re still mad or sad or hurting?


At least they meant well

And I get that it totally doesn’t help when friends and family (and coaches and bloggers and… and… and…) start in with the platitudes.

Everything happens for a reason.
It all works out in the end.
Something good will come from this.

Something good may totally come from this. At some point.

But when you’re in pain, that’s not even a little helpful.

Because the ouch behind the mad and the sad and the hurt is right now.

That’s what has your attention.

And that’s ok.

Because you’re totally allowed to feel the ouch for as long as you feel it.

I’m not saying it’s smart to wallow.

But it’s also not smart to whoosh past your pain because you feel like you should be at the silver lining part already.

And not only is this not smart, it totally doesn’t work.

Because positive thinking doesn’t equal bullshitting yourself.

It’s all. Happening. In. S-l-o-w motion.

My Christmas kind of sucked.

Ok, actually, it sucked a lot.

Someone super close to me announced their surprise engagement. To a totally iffy person. At the dinner table. In front of everybody.

I was shocked. And horrified. And really sad.

After the big reveal, I spent the next four hours giving my Don’t Lose Your Shit kit a serious workout.

And somehow I managed to avoid a total meltdown.

But by the time I got home I could barely talk without tearing up.

All I wanted was my drum, my monkey slippers and a bucket of macaroni and cheese.

You spin me right round, baby (right round like a record, baby)

The next day I talked to a sweet friend about le suck from the night before.

And they were totally trying to be helpful.

But they went straight to putting a positive spin on things.

Think happy thoughts.
Cheer up.
And, seriously, the marriage probably won’t even happen because of this and this and this.

That last part?

Kind of funny, actually. And probably totally true.

But, right then, I didn’t need unicorns.

I just needed to be mad and sad and all kinds of confused.

Stop the clock

There is no time limit on your pain.

No one gets to stand there with a stopwatch timing how fast you finish.

And, if they try, tell them to suck it.

Because, really.

If you’re in pain and you’re ready to put a bow on it, rock on.

If you’re at the point where you can see the lessons you’ve learned and the gifts you’ve gotten, go you.

And if you’re not, know that it’s totally and completely ok.

Consider this your permission slip to be where you are.
And to feel what you feel.
And to get to that please-pass-the-unicorn part whenever you get there.

This isn’t a race.

You’re not behind.

And you don’t have to push extra hard or run extra fast just because we’re about to say sayonara to 2010.

You have plenty of time.

I promise.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

<end of transmission>

Flickr credit – Jayel Aheram

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22 Responses to Black Eyes and Rose Colored Glasses
  1. Tori Deaux
    December 30, 2010 | 3:08 pm

    So sorry about the suck. And yeah, if you tie a bow on something sucky while it’s still sucking, it may look pretty, but under that paper it’s still a stinking festering mess that is going to drip all over the floor and ewww I just grossed myself out with that image so let’s pretend I didn’t say that, ok?

    Because what I wanted to say was that I mostly hate the bruhaha around New Years. I’m often starting something new this time of year because it’s convenient since the time-eating holidays are over. But I try not to make it New Yeary. This year, I had a product planned that is PERFECT for New Years, but it isn’t done. I started to get down, but realized that IT’S STILL AN AWESOME THING any time of the year.

    And I needed the reminder that it’s not a race, the date is arbitrary, and there is plenty of time. Even if it doesn’t suck, it’s ok not to put a bow on it yet.
    .-= Tori Deaux´s last blog ..Dear Santa… A Letter From The Circus =-.

  2. Kellie Walker
    December 30, 2010 | 3:32 pm

    Finally! Someone who gets it. Thank you so much for reminding folks that it’s ok to be where you are and feel what you feel.

    Down with platitudes!

  3. Tzaddi
    December 30, 2010 | 3:36 pm

    Oh Fabeku I’m sorry for the hard stuff and I thank you for turning it into this wonderful post. I hope you get as much drumming and Sid cuddles and whatever else you need through it all!

    P.S. I think “gigantigorgeous” is my new favourite word. The “plus size” clothing makers should be all over that!!
    .-= Tzaddi´s last blog ..Common Thread =-.

  4. Sue
    December 30, 2010 | 4:20 pm

    This morning I had some unexpected news that pretty much sent me into a tailspin of fear and anxiety. And yes it sucked. I stomped around, felt the walls crashing in on me. All of the gargoyles in my mind seem to be waiting for me to eff up so they can have their way with me.
    And then I stopped.
    I said to myself “you don’t get to win this round.”
    I took a bunch of deep breaths.
    And somehow I moved from fear and panic to a nice even hum.

    I think it is essential to accept your starting point. I think it’s really beautiful when others can hear your pain without trying to fix you or make you feel better. That’s what being witnessed is about.

    But if you aren’t going to wallow, what do you do next? There is a difference between thinking> positive and feeling positive. Right now I feel positive. If I let my mind take over, the gargoyles begin rejoicing. And I’d rather not invite them to my party. Know what I mean? They are such party poopers.

    So what I hear in this post is that the key is about acceptance of who you are and where things are. And in that acceptance comes a big dish of self love (drenched in chocolate of course!)

    .-= Sue´s last blog ..WORDLESS WEDNESDAY- Life is for Growing =-.

  5. Andrea
    December 30, 2010 | 5:19 pm

    Loved your honesty about your experiences and reactions. Forcing ourselves to do or be something because of timing or other people’s expectations never makes sense. When we can be with what is, somehow, miraculously, we come through the other side intact and, perhaps even stronger than we went in.

  6. Amy
    December 30, 2010 | 5:20 pm

    Brilliantly brilliant. Love love love this. For so many reasons – the humor, the irreverence. All the reasons I love your writing. And also, because you can’t get to un-suck by resisting or pushing against the suck. In fact, in this, my own year of great suck I discovered the deep wisdom of the yucky bad stuff. Which wasn’t sucky at all. Thank you.

  7. Susan T. Blake
    December 30, 2010 | 5:32 pm

    Yes, sometimes it is entirely appropriate to crawl under the porch and lick your wounds – as long as we don’t stay under there forever. Most wonderful post, Fabeku. The only way through stuff is through it, not past it. Which sucks when you’re in it. One of the most important lessons (and gifts) of healing – for me – has been realizing that it takes as long as it takes and that is OK.

    I was just thinking the other day, while reflecting on my year – on the last couple of years – that it’s really kind of arbitrary that we celebrate the new year when we do. And if it doesn’t match up with the stuff that’s going on in our lives, that’s kind of too bad. Not all transitions happen at the same time, which is actually a good thing. Otherwise, we’d all be too busy going through stuff at once and there would be no one available to hold the door or make buckets of mac’n’cheese when needed.

    I propose that we all give ourselves permission to celebrate the New Year whenever the heck we want. And that when someone is ready to say Happy New Year to themselves and a new year, even if it is March, or June, or July 23rd, everyone else be ready to stand up and toast them.

    Meanwhile, I do have a lot to be grateful for at this moment. But it has taken time to get here. And I recognize that not everyone is in my shoes. So y’all let me know when you are ready for champagne instead of mac’n’cheese.

  8. Jesse
    December 30, 2010 | 6:21 pm

    I love you and I don’t even know you.

    Ditto what Susan said.

    I celebrated the New Year yesterday because we had a reason to. I may not feel the same tomorrow. And that’s okay, too.

  9. Kirsty Hall
    December 30, 2010 | 6:28 pm

    I so needed to read this today, Fabeku.

    I have had the most horrible flu this week. It started on Christmas day & although I’m slightly better, I still feel like death warmed up. What was supposed to be a lovely, cozy, family-orientated, nourishing, delicious holiday break, has instead been a daze of fever, pain, hardly eating and all-round-suck.

    I feel angry, cheated and in utter despair at the thought that I need to get back to being an entrepreneur-person next week. So seeing lots of ‘you should be doing blah-blah-blah right now’ tweets has been making me want to scream and throw things.
    .-= Kirsty Hall´s last blog ..Hibernating =-.

  10. skaja
    December 30, 2010 | 6:47 pm

    I so needed to read this right now. Tomorrow is the last day of the big holiday trip, and I’m tired, sick, ended a couple of toxic friendships, and so not ready to jump into the new year.

    I need so badly to just sit and let stuff process, and all of the things that are pulling for my attention are like that I Love Lucy episode when she’s working at a factory (I think) and there was a conveyor belt, and things just kept coming and coming, and she was getting behind. Just makes you want to scream and tell everyone and everything to suck it, and probably stressed enough to not even try to say it nicely.

    As usual, you say the thing I need to hear right when I need it most.

    BTW, I’m sorry for your holiday suck. My own holiday suck: one of my uncles telling me that he wanted to see *me* with a little one next year (after seeing my hold my baby nephew). The kicker: this same uncle was harassing me about having kids 4 1/2 years ago when I was married to the first husband. I guess marriage equals kids in his eyes.
    .-= skaja´s last blog ..Tomato Love =-.

  11. Angel
    December 30, 2010 | 9:49 pm

    Oh, I SO wanted to comment while at work today! I seriously adore your ability to say it like it is (in a non-crappy way).

    a) I’m with everyone else on the sorries for your crappy holidays. You, of course, have every right to be where you are. While people usually do mean well, as you’d mentioned, it’s also more of an ‘I-don’t-know-what-else-to-say-so-this-should-work’ kind of reaction in my experience (and I’ve totally been on both sides)

    b) I’ve struggled with this a bit myself just because I’m really into the whole gratitude thing.. but you’re so right in that you cannot do the ‘pink paint’ junk (pouring pink paint on something does not make it go away) because the suck is still there underneath it. I’ve been really more focusing on shifting out of pissiness and into gratitude only because i’m so damn tired of being pissy!! But that’s different from pain. When you’re in pain, that’s what’s there. You can’t “fake it ’til you make it” and make that just disappear. (Loved where Susan said “the only way through is through”. And while that TOTALLY does suck.. that’s also one of those “It is what it is” things.)

    I’m sure you already know, but just in case you need to hear it… you’ve got a bunch of us “out here” who’d love to help you if we could/can. You need only say the word! (Even if not on this, with schtuff in general or whatever!)
    .-= Angel´s last blog ..20 things you do not know about me =-.

  12. Tammy Vitale
    December 31, 2010 | 10:09 am

    Love this post. LOVE IT! I am so over “chirpy” when things suck. I’m also over get rid of your clutter – I love my clutter – it is not heavy, it is joyful. I am over building a mini-empire when all I want is to do what I love and have it suppot me – that does not require a mini-empire. I am so over $15K in one night when the crower forgets to remember to say: and oh yeah, there were scores of other nights leading up to that one. So good for you for writing the quintessential non-chirpy blog that I would if I could. With you, there, buddy, on the suck stuff. Because I know you also know the gloriously grateful stuff. Me too. Sending white light, virtual hugs, and a quiet sitting beside you until this too, passes.
    .-= Tammy Vitale´s last blog ..Living in the Question in 2011 =-.

  13. JoVE
    December 31, 2010 | 12:18 pm

    So important. Artificial deadlines for fixing stuff up make no sense.

    And the best variation on “It’ll be all right in the end.” that I’ve heard is this: “It’ll be all right in the end. If it’s not alright. It’s not the end.”

    Seems to leave open the possibility that it’s okay for it to be not okay right now and you don’t have to rush to get there.
    .-= JoVE´s last blog ..You can ignore the grading- reprise =-.

  14. kat
    January 1, 2011 | 12:43 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    For the permission slip, for the reminders, for everything about the suckinesses!

    I have been contemplating my collage for the year (which I still intend to make), but as I read from so many what is “needed” to set up the “right” environs for this, I find my inner soul protesting.

    I simply do not want to write down all that didn’t go the way I wanted for 2010! I don’t need reminding, nor do I need to wallow!

    So, with your permission, I am going to write one thing on a slip of peper that says “Ta-Ta-2010!” That is – “All negative and sucky things that happened.”
    Then I shall burn that paper, let the extreme winds that are occurring now take those ashes away, and get on with envisioning a much better year.

  15. Sara
    January 1, 2011 | 2:49 pm

    Hello, and thank you so much for writing this – not sure how I landed here as I’ve been avoiding Twitter and blogs due to my end-of-year anxiety crisis! Must have been some much needed festive magic.

  16. Joely Black
    January 2, 2011 | 2:14 pm

    I saw that tweet about the engagement and I’m so sorry it screwed up your Christmas.

    I had a weird time with the New Year. I’ve been doing a gratitude project, and I agree with you that forced gratitude is awful, but I do try to take time out each day to appreciate what I have (even if I can’t feel the gratitude, I at least nod at what I have).

    This must be the first time I’ve come to the end of a year, realised it was momentously hard and that nothing I wanted happened and yet felt totally at peace with it. The things I needed to happen happened, even if at the time I didn’t feel comfortable with that. I do now.

    Thank you for another great post.

    J xx
    .-= Joely Black´s last blog ..Amnar Serial- 232 You’re Back With Us Now =-.

  17. Faye
    January 3, 2011 | 5:27 pm

    Great post. Thanks for continually posting the other side of things, including holiday festivities, and making that okay for now.

  18. Christa
    January 7, 2011 | 9:29 am

    Ok, I just discovered you. And I am so glad I did. Perfect timing.

    So, I just wrote about all of this yesterday, but not nearly as well. Or so clearly.

    You rock.


  19. Char Brooks
    January 9, 2011 | 9:28 am

    I just put something huge together from reading this post – so thank you. Someone else’s deadline was forcing me to either “use it or lose it” when it came to integrating my knowledge – I was angry, hurt, resentful and didn’t know why.

    NOW, I understand why. It was because I felt the pressure of someone else telling me what to do with my time and energy – rather than me doing it in my own time, integrating it as I could, in a way that worked for me.

    Having that spaciousness would have allowed ME to be where I was at the time, which was sucky, in pain, and not ready to incorporate the lessons learned, the silver lining, the gratitude. But yet, somehow, feeling like I had to.

    Totally not their fault – they were doing what they needed to do for themselves. I get that.

    And totally not a match for where I was at the time. Thank you for helping me understand myself better.

    You and I? We speak the same language – and it is such a relief to have you put words on the things that go running around in my head that feel incomplete and unsettling sometimes.

  20. Fabeku
    January 13, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    Hey faboo taters!

    Thanks for the sorries and hugs for the suck. Totally appreciated x 1000.

    And thanks for big smarts you’ve left in your comments.

    Let me dive right in…

    @Tori – Roger that on the mess + brouhaha. I also totally get what you mean about starting stuff + the timing.

    It took me two Christmases to get the Don’t Lose Your Shit kit out. And it’s totally perfect for the holidays. But it’s also totally perfect for anytime. Because people lose their shit everyday.

    Knowing there’s not an expiration date on your awesome is all kinds of helpful.

    @Kellie – Down with platitudes! YES!

    @Tzaddi – Oooh. Should I trademark gigantigorgeous before someone else snags it? Because I do kind of love that word. (grin)

    @Sue – Sorry about the hard. And I totally agree about accepting your starting point. So smart + well said. I also think you’re right about the mind stuff. Sometimes that just tangles us up more. So knowing how to step out of that can make a huge difference when it comes to handling suck.

    @Andrea – Yesyesyes. The whole timing + expectations thing is a big deal, isn’t it? And it get really tricksy trying to play by those rules.

    @Amy – I so hear on the pushing against thing. It seems like such a normal reaction, doesn’t it? And it’s not even a little helpful. I’m pretty sure suck just gets stronger from all that pushing.

    @Susan – I love the idea of getting to decide when we celebration the new year. For me, I usually feel New Years-ey around my birthday. Or in Spring. Not so much at the end of December. And extra chocolate stars for you for the mac ‘n cheese + champagne. You rock!

    @Jesse – Aw, thank you. And I totally dig your philosophy around the celebration stuff. Right on.

    @Kirsty – Big sorries about the flu + all the related blech. That sucks so hard. And those you-should-be-doing-this-now tweets were making me bat shit crazy. And I wasn’t sick. So I can only imagine. Fuzzy blankets + good vibes for you.

    @Skaja – OMG. The I Love Lucy episode totally fits here, doesn’t it? Brilliant! And sorry about your particular flavor of holiday suck. Family stuff + baby stuff together? Oy.

    @Angel – Pure smartness. Pissy and pain are totally different, like you said. And I think genuine gratitude is some serious mojo. It’s just the pink paint variety (love that!) that I think sucks.

    @Tammy – Word. Chirpy = the worst. I know sometimes people are just trying to be helpful. But, really.

    And, to touch on the bigger stuff you mentioned, I’m all about people doing what works for them. So if you dig giving away stuff, rock on. If you dig clutter, go you.

    What I don’t dig is people trying to push what works for them on other people. Like that’s the only/best/whatever option. Totally not down with that.

    @JoVE – I’ve heard that quote. And it’s definitely better than the plain ol’ it’ll be ok thing. And word to the artificial deadlines stuff.

    @kat – Ta-Ta 2010! Perfect. Seriously. I love that. And I love that you’re doing what works for you + not getting stuck in someone else’s stuff. Rock on!

    @Sara – Glad you’re here. Yay for festive magic!

    @Joely – Peace! How fabulous is that? I love that that’s where you found yourself. Because I know a little about how hard the year’s been for you. So to hear you hanging out with peace? Suhweet!

    @Faye – Totally welcome. Thanks for the kindness!

    @Christa – Awesome! I’m glad the timing was good. (p.s. Your artwork is gorgeous!)

    @Char – I’m totally happy something fell into place for you. *happydance* I also love how you can see how it all shook around without blaming yourself or the other person. Just not a helpful match. Right on!

    Again, big thanks to all of you. You rock my world.

  21. Laurie Hunt
    March 12, 2011 | 10:51 am

    Fabeku, THANK YOU – THANK YOU – THANK YOU!!! I just found your blog and find it refreshingly straight up. After a life threatening illness that completely turned my world upside down while simultaneously performing a salsa on it then sidelining me for 6 months in 2010…..SUCK about covers it all!! The well-meaning people in my life saying “it will be ok, you will recover” or “you just needed to slow down – it was meant to be”- “How ya feeling, you look better, you sound stronger”. Those well-meaning people who have never been brought to their knees in that fashion just try to apply a bandaid to make the pain they feel, for me, stop. They can’t see the emotional pain and the psychological pain that goes along with it from the fall out.

    You have a knack for revealing the truth just the way it is. That life can suck and hugely at times. I hope that your “Suck” that occurred during the holidays has diminished and resolved itself. That the new year is proving itself to be a great one for you.

    As for me, I have “Embraced the SUCK” and accepted the statistics. Restructured and reconstructed my life to be more centered. I have moved on from side-lining my life waiting for the end to come, to training for my triathlons again and feel great…knowing that if I go at least I will go doing what I love that frees me. I will continue to follow your blog…I find it enjoyable.

  22. Fabeku
    April 7, 2011 | 3:15 pm

    @Laurie – Hey! Thanks for stopping by + dropping a fabulous comment. I can’t even pretend to know how things have been for you, so I’ll just say wow. Because, really.

    And you’re right. People are well-meaning. But sometimes it just strikes a seriously sour note. (p.s. The it-was-meant-to-be thing kind of makes me crazy. I won’t rant.)

    Two thumbs way up for retooling your life in a way that works for you. Right on! And training for triathlons! 100% pure awesome!

    You’ve inspired me. Thanks again for saying hey. Glad you did.

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