On Bouncing Back and Living in Color

On Bouncing Back and Living in Color
Helen Rose
December 28, 2018

One of my favorite musicians right now is Kesha. While her early work is admittedly questionable, I find her newer music to be incredibly empowering. My favorite song of hers is Rainbow. The entire song is worth listening to over and over again and it’s hard to choose my favorite part, but the opening conveys enough to get started:

“I used to live in the darkness
Dress in black, act so heartless, but now
I see that colors are everything
Got kaleidoscopes in my hairdo
Got back the stars in my eyes, too, yeah now
I see the magic inside of me”

I did not have a Merry Christmas. Henry did, and I’d like to say that’s all that matters, but it’s not. I matter too and I’m in pain and I need to work through it.

I spit a big game about healing through feeling. I talk about sitting in the discomfort and honoring emotions. I don’t always do a good job of following my own advice.

I’m a very idealistic and optimistic person. I can always find the silver lining. I see the way things could be and refuse to accept what is simply because it always has been. I believe that not only does every being have inherent worth and dignity, but all souls are inherently good.

Of course, negative things happen. Messages get contorted along the way and we can get preoccupied by low-vibration distractions like money, power, substances, or codependence. These things can trick us into believing that they are comforts, but really, they are bandages for wounds that need serious care.

This year, I got out of an unhealthy situation that I’ve been in for a while. Years of blame, shame, and manufactured self-loathing have really taken their toll on my mind, body, and spirit.

Healing is coming in waves. Christmas was a low point. I tried to ignore my pain, but it demanded my attention and I eventually just had to sit in it.

I was scared. I feared that I was returning to the depression that I have spent years working through. I feared that I was unlovable. I feared that the few glimpses of joy I have experienced lately were figments of my imagination or inaccurate representations of my situation.

I wrote this the day after Christmas:

“I write instead of drinking these days. But I don’t really think I can write myself out of pain.

I low-key want to die, but it’s really more that I can’t stand to be sad, anxious, and insecure anymore and don’t know how to change that without doing something self-destructive.

I’m past the point in my life where I solve my pain with self-destruction, but not quite to the point where I can self-soothe. So I’m just sitting here watching Paw Patrol with Henry and trying not to think too much.

I know my life is beautiful. I know it warrants so many smiles. I keep saying it and trying to make myself believe it, but there is such a disconnect between my mind and heart.

That moment was probably the worst of it. The turning point came later, while reading one of my favorite books.

“Right now, in this moment, you can claim your right to have the rest of your journey be easier and more pleasurable than it has been.”

I’ve always balked when people say that happiness is a choice. I understand the scientific realities of chemical imbalances in the brain which cause depression and anxiety. I’ve been in therapy and on medication for years. I know depression intimately.

However, what I was feeling was not clinical depression. It was sadness, a deep sadness caused by feeling alone and by an unfamiliar situation. I can not control depression on my own, but I can curb sadness by trusting what I know to be true and radically accepting it until it feels real.

I know I am loved. I know I am capable. I know I am doing my best. I know I have inherent worth and dignity. I know I am never alone.

I felt moved to write some intentions and go to sleep.

I intend to find the joy in the journey.

I intend to walk the middle path.

I intend to honor my intuition and live my truth.

I intend to learn something new every day.

I intend to embody love at every opportunity.

I intend to trust myself first.

I intend to serve Love as my higher power and greatest purpose.

I intend to facilitate healing.

I intend to be an instrument of peace.

I slept more peacefully than I have in months, and the next day I had an amazing day.

There was not one singular thing that made my day amazing – it was all the little things.

I woke up at a reasonable hour to Henry asking for milk. He was well behaved and we got him to school on time. I got a ton of organizing and cleaning done. I brainstormed for my book and sketched a potential cover. On my way to pick Henry up, I picked up some blue hair dye.

I love having bright colors in my hair. It makes me feel a little more like myself and I like to think it makes others smile sometimes. Little kids always seem to love it. I had to dye my hair a “natural” color while I was seeking a new job recently. Honestly, I’m not sure what my boss will say when I return to work next week with part of my hair dyed blue, and I’m trying very hard not to care.

I’m not interested in fitting into the mold that others expect me to. I’m not interested in being sad, complacent, or bored. There is beauty and magic everywhere and I am not interested in missing out on it anymore.

Of course, sadness happens. Life happens. Things that are not beautiful or magical happen every single day. Where there may not be beauty or magic, there is at the very least a lesson. Sometimes, that lesson is just that we must keep going and try again, and that’s ok.

It’s all about the journey

“Put those colors on, girl, come and paint the world with me tonight.”


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