Letters to Myself: This is Not a Competition

Dear Kristene,

Stop grinding your teeth, drop your shoulders, take a deep breath. And, yes, I know you’ll do what I tell you and then forget ten minutes later but what you really need to know is that you’ve been stuck in a state of trauma for almost a year now. Your mind and body are fixed in survival mode. Along with all the nasty physical and mental side effects (yo, we can’t afford to lose any more teeth to your stress!), it’s also put a big feckin’ cork in your Bottle of Creativity.

You’ve been given a few tools from your counselor, please remember to use them. And for the love all holy hedgehogs, be kinder to yourself. Just because someone else’s life is more difficult and challenging than yours doesn’t mean your challenges and your pain don’t matter. It sucks that someone made a point of telling you that your life was easy and carefree compared to another, and that those words have become the quicksand that you sink into a little deeper every day, but you are also surrounded by many more compassionate and kind people tossing ropes of words to pull you out. Use that, hang onto the love of friends and family for dear life.

Life isn’t the Suffering Olympics. Someone will always have it better than you and someone will always have it worse. There’s no trophy at the end for the person who endured the most pain with the least complaining.

Listen to me. Seriously. Close Facebook. Close out the rest of the world and other people’s opinions and listen to me you beautiful, golden-haired sea creature! You’ve been dealing with menopause and all that shit, which is awful enough on its own, and you have also watched every member of the family you grew up with die. You moved away from a community of good friends and fellow artists and had to start from scratch…again. You had barely begun to recover from your grief when the pandemic hit (and it was adorable how you thought you would be fine and unaffected by a global crisis, you crack me up). Your living situation disintegrated with no warning, and you were powerless to do anything about it except finally and utterly fall apart. Nothing like finding yourself homeless in the middle of a pandemic when there are no rentals and the housing market has lost its damned mind and you are having a mental health crisis, huh? Good times. And here you are, starting over and building a new life and home for the billionth time. I’m exhausted just writing all that!




Repeat after me: I am allowed to be hurt and sad and in pain. I am allowed to call this state “trauma”. I am allowed to do what it takes to heal. I am allowed to be kind to myself.

Now, go do some breathing exercises, pet your cats, take a walk and enjoy the sunshine on your face.



This entry was posted in Friends, Grief and Mourning, Health and wellness, Mental Health and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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