It’s the last Friday of the month, which means it’s time to encourage you all to brag about all the cool stuff you got done this month — even when it wasn’t fun, easy, or glamorous.
Here in the U.S., it’s the start of the end of summer Labor Day weekend. My partner and I are headed to the adorable town of Ocean Grove, NJ which has the odd distinction of being both a Christian camp meeting down (hey, businesses are allowed to open on Sunday now, but you can’t go on the beach before noon) and also really, really gay.
Growing up, my grandmother lived in Bradley Beach, and my childhood summers were spent in the towns — Bradley Beach, Asbury Park, Ocean Grove — along this stretch of the Jersey shore. They’re scenic and complicated places that have seen a revival in recent years. In my childhood, Asbury was a dying amusement park town and in some ways it still is, although the bumper cars and the carousel are gone now.
The point of me telling you about these places isn’t just that I’m trying to get off-line and get my head together before Starling‘s release (I am, but that’s not gonna happen, because we have a lot of other deadlines and tones of blog tour and related stuff to write). The point is that these towns are complex and filled with contradictions. What they want you to believe about them and what they are from the eyes of one person to the next all vary. They are liars and they just want to be loved.
They are, like you and me, just trying to do their thing. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it hard, sometimes it makes no sense, sometimes it works, and sometimes no one gets it. But they keep going, because that’s what collections of people do. It’s a lot harder when you’re on your own.
Which is why you should get down in these comments and brag. Because we may not all be working towards the same goals. We may have totally contradictory views of ourselves and the world. But if we do it even semi-collectively, it’s a lot easier to keep going, to recover your energy while you ride the wave from others, and to offer support when you’ve got some spare strength to give.
So what do you get done? Inspire us (and seriously, if you made your bed like twice all month, that’s inspiring — we’re not a bed-making household). Hence, assume your contribution is inspiring to someone. It almost certainly is.
I passed my PhD viva with minor corrections! I’m pretty darn pleased with myself for that one because it’s been 5 years of slog, misery, very nearly quitting twice, throwing myself on the mercies of the university counselling service (who I cannot praise highly enough) and desperately trying to reverse a pretty difficult relationship with my supervisor (we ‘re both good at what we do, but my goodness we should never work together). The thing I’m actually proud of, though, is that the night before I did the most terrifying exam I have even taken, I went to bed at a sensible hour and attempted sleep, and when that didn’t go so well I used relaxation exercises instead of panicking and staying up all night and making my own life harder. This is progress!
I stood the fuck up for myself. Repeatedly. I’m practicing asking authoritatively for the things I need. I am proud of myself for refusing to be a doormat any longer, even if I have to remind myself often that it is a thing to celebrate.
fuck yeah! i wanna give you the highest of fives for doing that hard (and frankly terrifying) thing!
i’ve been working on the unhealthy amount of self erasure i do to avoid conflict, and reading this got my really pumped up and excited about standing up for myself. i think i’m gonna print your comment to put it in my fridge.
I can run a mile in 12 minutes now. When I started working out earlier this year, it took me something like 22 minutes. Never in my life did I imagine I would ever be able to do that.
I also made the decision to suck it up, be a damn grown up and do responsible things for my mental health. It was and continues to be a terrifying, emotional process. But hey. I haven’t punched anyone, broken anything or wrecked the car. I’m counting it as a win.
I wrote a lot of words. Wheeeeeeeeee.
My beach vacation isn’t until next month, so I’m envious.
In the last couple of weeks I revealed a very difficult painful secret to my partner, one that potentially would estrange us, and instead of having a tantrum/drinking too much/running away/drowning in self-pity/all of the above and more, I am handling it like an adult, and am prepared for any consequences. Like an adult. And miraculously (maybe not so miraculously), my partner is handling it like an adult, too, and continuing to love me through it and beyond it. I never dreamed I would achieve this level of emotional maturity. Ever. Nor did I ever expect to be loved so dearly. I did The Thing!!
Hell to the yes. Many internet fist bumps to you for this. I know it is hard to handle stuff like an adult and not do the run away/get drunk/fuck things up response instead. So hard. But go you! You’re doing it!