I think I’m going to make this post the last of this series. “Part 7” just feels like one too many, and I can tell I’m starting to circle back on emotions. There won’t be anything new to share with you, only revisited thoughts and feelings. This final part is about accepting that emotions like feeling sorry for yourself are part of the process of dealing with a loss or hardship and are OK. Sometimes.
You can read the whole How to Cope with Loss series here.
Today was a rollercoaster ride. It started out high. I went to bed at 8:30pm last night and woke up just before 7am. And I actually felt rested. Friends were coming over for brunch at 11am; I was making French toast with vanilla cinnamon flavored Bailey’s that I found at Target on clearance. After I had my morning cups of tea, I put on some dance music (club, not ballroom) and prepared the place for their arrival. I normally don’t care for chores or cleaning, but sometimes it just makes me feel very satisfied. And I feel more relaxed in a clean space.
Friends arrived, and we ate and drank mimosas and chatted. A good time was had by all. The French toast turned out quite yummy. And I felt happy. Even after everyone had left, I was looking forward to doing some writing and just spending a nice Saturday at home.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. My rollercoaster hit a crest in the late afternoon, and my mood plummeted downward. I started feeling miserable. There were things that I wanted to do. I had plans! And it was all taken away.
In the midst of my rapid downward spiral, I realized I was just feeling really sorry for myself. Even as I felt like it was all over for me, I knew it wasn’t. Teacher’s wrist would heal, and we would be back on the floor. But my little demons didn’t want to be consoled; they just wanted to sit and cry and dwell on what we missed out on. So I let them.
I even indulged them by watching Strictly Ballroom. I actually liked the movie better this time than when I first saw it. I think it was hard for me to get past the quirky style the first time, so it took away from the story. But all I have to say is Fran is my soul sister! She’s me, right down to the bad skin, glasses and frizzy hair.
The movie made me miss my dancing, of course, but actually didn’t push me down further into sorry feelings. In fact, it pulled me a little closer toward wanting to go back to the studio to practice. I still haven’t been back since my last lesson a week ago.
The rollercoaster is still in the low valley of self-pity, but I’m not going to worry about it. Sometimes you need to let yourself feel sorry. It’s hard to be strong and keep a positive outlook all of the time, especially when dealing with hardship. It takes energy. And it takes more energy when the socially acceptable grieving period has passed and people expect you to start moving on. So it’s ok. If you need some time to let the self-pity demons run around and play, take it. As long as it’s just every once in awhile.
I know myself and I know how I process grief. After I’ve gone through initial consistent lows, I get on a rollercoaster and start the good days and bad days. Or as was the case today, good hours and bad hours. It’s a looping process that keeps moving forward, so it doesn’t loop back as far to the original hurt each time it cycles. Every once in awhile it can make an unexpected backwards jump though. But it’s ok. There is no particular timeframe. You can have something shitty happen to you six months ago or even a year ago, and you’ve been feeling good long enough that you think you’re over it. But then something random triggers your memory of that old pain and renews it. I started bawling at the end of a comedy in the middle of a movie theater awhile ago because the ending triggered a painful memory and caught me completely off-guard. It happens.
As long as you don’t cross into unhealthy territory where you make no effort to move forward and do nothing but dwell on your pain, cry at the comedy. Your feelings are valid and do not come with a “use by” date.
I felt ok letting myself just feel sorry today because I knew I was also making efforts to make new plans and set new goals for myself (and I was productive and wrote this post!). But even after getting about 10 hours of sleep, I still needed to just let go and feel lousy for awhile. I won’t let the feeling hang around too long, but I’ll give it the time it needs.