My friends and I went to a local brewery the other night and pulled out our favorite game - Catchphrase. On one of my turns, I was given the word “impatient” and, without thinking, I just blurted out “Oh oh! ME!” Of course, even though my friends know me quite well, they still gave me confused looks rather than guesses of the word I was hinting at, which helped me realize I hadn’t really given them anything to work with. So I kept describing the word and within just a few seconds, they connected the dots between “ME!” and the rest of the adjectives and descriptions I used to correctly guess the word.
I am impatient. It’s in my genes. I’ve known that my whole life because I see it in some of my family members, and many of my friends, family, and even coworkers see it (and don’t hesitate to point it out) in me, too.
Yesterday, I slid a pan of s’mores blondies that I’m recipe-testing into the oven and quickly realized that “DANG IT! I forgot the baking soda!” and that’s not the first time that’s happened. I just get so excited about baking that I sometimes forget the most essential ingredients. I sometimes pull banana bread out of the oven before it’s actually ready, or I call it a failure before I’ve even had the chance to investigate whether or not it actually is one.
And the same things happens, sometimes, when I’m processing emotions. I’m learning that more and more each day. When I arrived home from Minnesota, just one day after my grandpa passed, I texted my mom while walking to work. “Mom, I don’t know if I can just go to work and act like things are normal. I need to, but I don’t know how I’ll do it.” 24 hours after my grandpa’s passing, I felt the need to swallow this huge life event like it was an Advil and just carry on. I hadn’t ever dealt with such grief before, so I had no idea what was happening then and what was to come, or how long it would take to wade through these thick, muddy waters.
I’m still wading, and it’s been a month and a half. It’s okay, though. I’m not rushing anymore. I know that I can’t skip the grieving process because that’s the pathway - the only one - that leads to healing.
When my last relationship suddenly and unexpectedly ended, I suddenly and unexpectedly found myself smiling and laughing and ready to move on within a week. I’m just being completely honest here. I cried quite a bit - more tears and bigger sobs than ever in my life - the day of and the day after it all happened. This was my forever we’re talking about here, and for a planner like myself, when a big part of your plan for forever falls apart, it’s like…. whoa. But, I picked myself up. I wrote. I talked to loved ones, open and honest and vulnerable about what happened between he and I and that’s how my eyes opened to what went wrong in our relationship. That’s how I felt strong enough to move forward rather quickly after yet another loss.
This didn’t last long, though. Mini panic attacks - emotional rollercoasters I’d never ridden before - in the aftermath of heartbreak followed suit. I was confused - I thought I was over this? I thought I stepped far enough out of the water so that I wouldn’t get wet anymore when the waves came. If you’ve been through a break-up and/or heartbreak in general, you’re probably familiar with the memories that pop back into your head of things you and your person used to do, plans you two had, little details about him/her, etc. And they hit like bricks.
I haven’t grieved this loss, yet. I am smack dab in the middle of wading through the muddy waters. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to just scream “I HATE THESE D@MN MUDDY WATERS!”
In Rising Strong, Brené Brown talks about this space in between falling down hard and standing up strong. When we’re in this position, we’re far enough off the ground to know that we don’t want to be back in that spot. It was too painful and we know we are ready to put in the work required in order to grow stronger and taller. However, we’re not quite in the position to look back on the ground as we walk away, dusting the dirt off and dressing the wounds, to be grateful for the experience and confident in where we ended up.
The scary part of this position isn’t uncertainty of whether or not you will make it all the way off the ground because you know you want to and you know you will. The scary part is uncertainty of how long the rising process will take.
I still don’t know how long I will be grieving the loss of my grandpa. He was my man, and he was the man in our family. This could take a while, and I still have my family - thank goodness - to walk with through this. I also don’t know how long it will take to move past the other loss, the loss of my person. I do know, however, that I want to and I will and that drive is enough for me right now.
We can’t be impatient in our grieving processes. There is work to be done here. It’s like when your computer shows you that little spinning circle for ten minutes straight - there is nothing you can do but just wait patiently for the page to load. I’m still loading and it’s okay. If you’re still loading, that’s okay. Give yourself time to load because it’s during the loading that we strengthen and wisen in order to better the person we are when we can stand up again, look back at our butt-mark in the dirt with gratitude and look forward to the future with confidence and excitement.