The Monday after Thanksgiving…who else feels a little tired? Between getting ready for the holiday, the actual celebrating, cleaning up, shopping, & family time, it’s all just a big blur of exhaustion to me. I love this time of year. I love the gloomy weather, comfy sweaters, cozy blankets, family traditions, enjoyable memories, & so much more. But it truly can be trying on the soul. It’s the time of the year when everything just needs to be perfect & the reality that it might not be. This idea pours over from the holidays into my creative work life & it’s a tough Christmas sugar cookie to swallow. How are we supposed to deal with this stress when it floods into our daily lives?
Last week, I was cleaning the house for Thanksgiving weekend completely from top to bottom. I love cleaning & organizing & putting everything back in it’s rightful place. Sometimes when I clean, I also will rearrange furniture to make a space feel new & refreshed. It usually gives me a boost in creativity & sparks new ideas to work on. This time it ended up being different.
I had spent the day entirely alone cleaning like crazy, & for me, being alone all day isn’t always best. I have the kind of personality that when I don’t have any human interaction for a long period of time, all the bad thoughts creep in. I instantly start to compare myself to the internet Queen B’s & then feel bad about myself. That day was no different. I started feeling like I wasn’t producing the best work, & that lead to me feeling worthless. I felt like I just wasn’t good enough to be in the industry that I’m in & that I should just quit, throw it all away, & give up. As I was thinking these thoughts & moving furniture around I knocked over one of my succulent plants…in slow motion it fell to the ground, the clay pot broke & there were pieces of dirt & brokenness everywhere.
I am used to being clumsy. I knock things over all the time. I am not new to breaking things by bumping into them with my hips or my butt (true curvy story) & having them fall to their death. I’ve definitely knocked plants over before too. Dropping things, falling walking up the stairs, tripping, or ripping my overalls on Thanksgiving (again, true story) are all things that I am used to doing. But this time, with this particular plant, it was different.
The plant that I knocked over this time was a succulent that came in a clay pot that was painted bright green & shaped like a shoe. Totally not my display of choice, but my dad gave it me a year ago when I won a local photography award. I came downstairs a few days after my acceptance & saw it on the kitchen table. I knew it was for me & I knew it was from my dad. And I knew why he got it. “A growing step in the right direction”, he said. Get it, a plant that came in shoe ha! I get some of my humor from my dad, that’s for sure. I instantly loved it & even though it wouldn’t be my first pick in the plant shop, I cherished it because it was a gift from my dad when he was proud of me. It was a gift of something I loved (succulents!) from someone I loved, & it was a reminder that I was in fact good enough.
But now, it laid on the floor of my room, shattered into pieces. As I knelt around it, completely shocked that it was broken, I instantly forgot about my thoughts of self-doubt that I had just been dwelling on seconds before. Now, I was contemplating what to do next. Do I throw the whole thing away? The plant was fine & the shoe could be glued back together, but the paint had chipped a lot with the cracking & it wouldn’t look the same. Honestly, my first thought was that I could now finally get rid of the ugly “not my kind of aesthetic” bright green shoe, replant the plant into a pot that I actually liked, & have something I wanted that looked pretty. (Have a mentioned that I like to be brutally honest?). I was sad about losing the part of the prize that was more my dad than me though, it saddened me to think about just throwing something away that was still good. But as I kept sitting there not knowing what to do, a voice quietly said, “pick up the pieces, put them back together, & move forward.”
Call it God, call it my dad’s advice, call it my own thoughts. All I know, is that in that moment I learned something… You can’t just throw something away that you love because it doesn’t seem good enough anymore. You can’t just give up on something you’re proud of because it doesn’t look the same or as pretty as everything else around it. You can’t give up during the downward spiraling moments of comparison because what you’re comparing yourself to isn’t who you’re meant to be. You have worked hard to be where you’re at today, & others around you have seen that, & acknowledged it. You have many great things you are doing & accomplishing. You are doing the job that you were created to do, & no one else can do it better than you.
Sometimes, we just have to shake the bad thoughts from our heads, pick up the pieces, put them back together, & move forward. It’s not always going to be pretty, it’s not always going to be easy. You are going to doubt & trip up again. But, push on knowing that you are good enough. You are successful. You are doing many great things. If you believe that, then you are taking that growing step in the right direction, & you’ll get where you’re wanting to go my friend. Pick up the pieces & put it back together, the imperfection of the journey is worth being a part of your story in the end.
– abbey kay
*brought to you by a girl who picks up the pieces & puts them back together daily