One of the most frightening things I have ever done was what came after writing my book. It wasn’t the writing process. The writing process was safe. I sat behind my computer for months, pouring out the process of healing and hope I was searching for and it flowed onto the computer screen. Believe it or not, that was the easy part. I never had any intention of letting anyone read the deep and dark parts of the journey. It was like writing in a journal.
Sharing my book came several years after writing it. I reluctantly emailed the rough draft off to a close friend who also happened to be an editor. She promised that if it was terrible to be honest with me and protect me from publishing something that would ultimately embarrass myself.
Several days later, I happened to run into her. Fearing the worst, I tried to avoid the conversation that I just knew was coming. Was it good enough?
Before I was able to run off, she said “You have to publish it.”
I knew she was not the sort to lie to make me feel good and she was trustworthy so all I knew to say back was “I do!?!?”
“Yes, but….”, at that point I figured that was where she was going to let me down easy, but she continued “do you realize how many times you said “In the midst of”?”
My answer to that was “No”. I had no idea how many times I had said that. After looking back and realizing that almost every paragraph either contained or alluded to something along the same lines of, I was shocked.
I never knew that I had so many “in the midst of’s” in me! I never even remembered saying that phrase, much less knew I had written it hundreds of times.
I’m reminded this year why that term resonated so deeply during such a pivotal and hard time in my life. Because it’s “in the midst of” the hard times that truly change you, build you and eventually define the person you become. I feel like I am (you are, we are) in the midst of one of those times right now.
Everything seems to be falling apart. Places that used to be filled with sharing happy pictures and life updates is now the place people attack and throw their judgements on each other without any repercussions. If there was ever a moment that we have ever collectively been “in the midst of” …. it’s now.
We are either fighting to stay strong through this. That looks like building the blocks to create strength, happiness and joy from the little things (but actually the things that matter the most) in life or we are going to lash out. Lashing out is often disguised in righteousness, but normally motivated by fear.
At the end of this we will find ourselves with either a stronger foundation or a blown-up life with disaster all around us. We will be left with the evidence of what we did “in the midst of” an incredibly hard time for us all. Hating, blaming and lashing out on others will end with sadness.
Patience, kindness, gratitude will be what pulls you through.
Acting out of fear feels like the natural reaction. How do you step out of fear and into strength in times like these?
1-Call it what it is. It’s fear. It’s okay to say “this is scary times and the uncertainty is a place that I neither like nor want to stay much longer”.
2-Realize that thinking you are right will only be true to half of the people in your life. The other half aren’t bad people. They aren’t monsters. At one point in your life, you valued them enough to let them in your life. Yelling at them won’t convince them you are right. Belittling them and trying to put terms on what they are, won’t convince them you are right. Respect them, which in turn acknowledges that you, yourself deserves respect (ensuring the people in your life actually respect you=happier life).
3-Find the places, things and people that are safe and put a smile on your face. Those are saving graces that will pull you, moment by moment through such a hard time.
“In the midst of” is hard. It’s scary. It defines you. If pushes you. It builds you.
Let it roll. Stand strong in the hope that a better day is coming. The best thing about all my “in the midst of’s” was that it was past tense. I was looking back at my own life, recognizing how hard it was. Was. I made it through it and I was able to look back and honor the journey. I survived and I am who I am today because of it.