A few years ago I found myself sitting at the airport about to catch a flight that I didn’t really want to be on, going somewhere I didn’t really want to go, to undertake tasks that I’d rather have avoided.
My father had passed away only a few months before, and I was flying across the country to help my mother sort out his things, make some order in the house, and come to terms with his passing. My mother and I have a mostly cordial relationship as long as we stick to topics like the weather, add religion, politics, child raising to the mix and it becomes strained rather quickly.
My mother is still an active Christian Scientist, she has political opinions that I disagree with, and I’m raising her grandchildren. These topics are pretty much unavoidable.
I sat in the airport terminal dreading the flight, my mind filled with thoughts I’d rather leave unaddressed. I’m not totally sure how I ended up deciding to buy Jenny Lawson‘s book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I heard about Jenny Lawson aka “The Bloggess” from Wil Wheaton‘s twitter feed, and the #depressionlies hashtag. Eventually I got curious and went and read a few posts, which then turned into a few years worth of older posts.
My impulse purchase of her book before my four-hour flight was serendipitous. It helped me put things in perspective, it was funny, relatable (a little too relatable in places), and I laughed, cried and nodded along. It was exactly what I needed to read before heading home to face my mother.
Jenny’s new book has come out, Furiously Happy — I picked up a copy of Furiously Happy two or three days after it came out. While I found it enjoyable, I didn’t find it as relatable as Let’s Pretend this Never Happened. I don’t know why, I enjoyed it, but I found I far prefer Let’s Pretend. I digress. She recently shared the promotional video for it. I’m not sure if it is the stress, lack of decent sleep, smoke in the air from the fires, or a combination of all of those things, but the video brought me to tears. People shared why they are “broken” and why they are “furiously happy” and it is so relatable…
I struggle with the concept of “broken” although I relate all too well to several of the inscriptions on the placards. I was raised as God’s perfect child, with no room for error, or mistakes, certainly not broken. To open myself up like that, to be vulnerable, to be who I want to be, to allow myself to drop my defenses, to be alright with failure, I’m not totally sure where I’m going with this.
I don’t feel broken right now, I have in the past, I did after I had my first child. I felt like a failure during my first winter at Principia. I felt used after I split from my abusive boyfriend who apologized for ruining me. For a while I did feel ruined, then I felt angry, and then empowered, as well as confused.
Right now, I’m feeling overwhelmed. I have a several very successful projects going on, and while magical thinking says everything will all work out, I know it takes a lot of hard work for that to happen, and some things are simply out of my control. I’m not going to “let go and let God” — I don’t think God has anything to do with it. I will instead trust that events will continue to fold with serendipity and that the sun will continue to rise each morning (even if it is heavily obscured by fog, clouds and hopefully rain).