I was at Target a couple weeks ago and, for some reason, got in line behind a woman buying way too much stuff with way too many coupons. (I even took a picture. See?) (By the way, significant situations always seem to happen at Target. Either I go there a lot, or it's just a magical place. Maybe both.)
Anyway, it was one of those things where I didn't know whether I should move or not. I was already behind her when I realized this was going to be a VERY long transaction. Have you experienced this dilemma? People were getting in line behind me, and then moving. I didn't know if I should move or not. If I moved, would it take even longer? I didn't know if I should risk it. I had already committed.
I didn't know what to do, so I just stood there. I stood there with my four items, and waited, looking like an idiot. Whatever, y'all were just jealous that I was trying some new eco-friendly baby wipes.
A lovely little woman who looked a little older than my mom came to stand behind me, and for some reason, she didn't move. She was only buying a few items, too, but she decided to stay.
Everything she was buying was Christmas-related, ornaments and stuff. I was like, whoa, you're on top of things. I'm really last-minute with that shit. And she told me she was going through a sad time in her life, and getting into the holiday spirit as soon as possible was really helping her. I complimented her green sweater, partly to help her feel better and partly because it really did bring out her eyes.
Finally, it was my turn. The cashier, a young guy who looked barely of age to buy a drink, started ringing up my toilet paper and laundry detergent and antibacterial hand foam and baby wipes. I told him he needed a raise for the 15 minute coupon-checking process he'd just completed.
The total ended up being a dollar more than I had. Embarrassed, I told him I was short and was about to ask him to remove the antibacterial foam (it's not like it's strong enough to fight off ebola anyway), when the nice lady behind me reached for her wallet and started pulling out cash. I quickly told her not to worry about it and before she could respond, the boy behind the counter took $2 off the transaction.
I thanked him profusely and we all wished each other a happy holiday.
I learned a lot from that night.
I learned that there is still goodness in this world.
I learned that good things happen when you least expect them.
And I learned that being good at something doesn't necessarily get you anything.
I didn't get that $2 because I'm a good Target-shopper. Sure, I was patient and polite in that line, but I didn't get that discount as a reward. I didn't ask for it, and I didn't earn it. I got it because I was in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. And I wouldn't have gotten it if I had chosen a different store, on a different day, with a different cashier. It all happened as it was supposed to.
A measly $2 may not seem like a big deal, but let's say that $2 is your big dream.
Let's say it's the pregnancy you've been trying for, the promotion you've been working toward, the future husband you've been dreaming about, the business you've been saving up to start.
But being good at baby-making doesn't mean you're going to have a baby, and being good at your job doesn't mean you'll get the promotion. Being a good future wife won't make you meet your man, and being good at planning your business doesn't make your business successful.
This might sound negative, but it's actually an epiphany that's made me sigh with relief.
Because, you guys, the pressure's off.
After you've done all you can, you can let go. Because it's not just about putting in the time and having the talent. It's about what's meant to be. If it's meant to happen, it will. As Vanessa said at her blog, you're exactly where you need to be, even if you're not where you feel you "should" be. You don't have to worry about it, so just stop stressing. I believe in God, and I believe in meeting God halfway. I'm a control freak, so knowing that I don't have complete control is a huge weight off my shoulders.
You might not believe these things, loves, but I do. They keep me emotionally stable. They get me through life. Depending on myself and my own abilities is exhausting. And sometimes, I just get sick of it.
I get sick of putting pressure on myself to be good so that I'll receive good.
Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. Karma isn't real. And that's GREAT, because it means that just because we're not perfect, doesn't mean we won't get what we want.
Do the best you can. That's all you can do, and that's enough.
I had a few rough days last week, friends.
I usually feel most insecure when I'm most excited about a big project. You may or may not know that I'm working on something new for 2015 (and you can sign up to be notified when it launches). As soon as I started planning and preparing, my creative juices flowing like tequila -- one shot, two shot, three shot, four, the ideas slamming down, hitting paper, one after another -- The Voice creeped in.
And I ain't talking about the TV show, people.
The Voice is what I call the all-encompassing emotions of my mental illness. The anger, the hurt, the frustration, the confusion. The depression and anxiety I've battled on and off since fifth grade.
Sometimes I feel like a broken record, spinning round and round, writing and talking about the same old issues, and then I get better and worse and better again. Because these things aren't curable, though, thank God, they're manageable. I've learned what works for me and what doesn't. But even though I feel that, for the most part, I have The Voice muted, it tends to pop back on when I feel most confident. It tries to bring me down when I'm happiest. It tells me I don't deserve it.
It tells me I'm not good enough.
I know it's lying, but sometimes, it's hard to ignore.
And that's why I want to help women with their problems. Because I have them, too. I know how it feels. I know what it takes -- to survive, to thrive, to make it through each day without feeling like a failure.
Because you're not a failure, and I'm not either.
And whether or not we DESERVE it, we are ALLOWED to be happy.
We are allowed to love our lives and love ourselves.
We're allowed to get loud. Together.
*Photos found here and here.