I loved this post below from the brilliant and beautiful Elizabeth Gilbert, on Facebook.
Here’s what stubbornness means to me, you guys:
There are days when I wake up at 5am, and for some reason the madness is right there waiting for me, like it’s been sitting by the side of my bed all night. The disappointments, the anxiety, the regrets, the insecurity, the anger, the second-guessing — all of, waiting for me, with a greasy smile. Like: “Wake up, sucker! We can’t wait to mess with your mind and give you a horrible day!”
Mornings like that happen to me more than you might ever guess.
Then there are the weeks and months when I feel like I can’t love any of the people I’m supposed to love — including myself.
I fall into spells of living where I can’t seem to take a correct step or a wise action. I’ve been depressed, anxious, confused and deeply ashamed of myself — often enduringly, often all the same time. More recently than you might imagine.
Follow any of that stuff to its natural destination, and one will find life to be bleak and sorrowful, indeed.
But you know what? I’m fucking STUBBORN, people. I will fight that shit. I insist on pursuing enjoyment and meaning in the life that I have been given — even when some of the times I feel half crazy and totally uncertain. I fight for the light. You give me a crack of light the width of my pinkie, I’m going to try to squeeze myself through it, if it kills me. I will find something good around me, I swear to God, and I will hunt it down eat it — sometimes literally (pizza). I will make myself go out in the world and look at something beautiful. I will demand that I find a way that day to commit an act of kindness on someone. I will insist on trying to create. I will not be ashamed to call up my old therapist and be like, “Listen, I need a tune-up here,” and ask her to try to help me put my head on straight, rather than spinning in a vacuum of uncertainty. I will spend hours trying to find a goddamn inspirational quote that actually does its work on me. I will grab myself by my own hand and say, “Listen, kid — screw up as much as you want: I AM HERE TO LOVE YOU.” And I won’t let go.
You think those Happiness Jars that I talk about all the time are all about light and gladness and easy rays of sunshine? No — my Happiness Jar is a ninja weapon of stubborn defiance against the creep of despair. So is my relentless commitment to living a healthy creative life — a creative life that doesn’t worship darkness. So is this Facebook page. So is my stuttering, semi-effective meditation practice. So is my tithing. So is my traveling. So is my care and feeding of my own curiosity. So is my hunt for divinity. So is my daily attempt to wring some forgiveness out of my soul — for myself, for others. (And then to try again the next day, if it doesn’t work today.)
It’s a word that saves my life every day, and has given my life whatever worth it’s got.
So when it came time for Alma to review her own life, and to put her own dignity and worth in context…well. Ultimately, it all had to be about stubbornness.
Because without it? Nothing good will come.
Thanks for noticing, dear reader.
Go fight the fight today, you gorgeous warriors. Put your head up, put your fists up, push in hard…GO.”
I’m a Taurean, and Taureans are infamously stubborn. Lately, as I watch myself journey along this healing process, I been increasingly grateful my stubbornness (even though it fucks me over sometimes). This morning – reading this – I realise that it is a gift. A gift that enables you to kick the shit out of our inner crazy…I think that’s how it helps me. I just naturally – without consciously trying to – refuse to, even the darkest of dark or the craziest of anxiety or the most desperate of desperate, feel it entirely. Like, feel it with all of me. There’s ALWAYS a part of me that’s like:
“NO MOTHERFUCKER! I WILL NOT BE YOU! I AM MY OWN PERSON. I WILL NOT HAVE YOU CONSUME MY ENTIRE BEING. FUCK YOU! I’m a sexy talented beautiful radiant sweetheart, and I deserve to SHINE!”
And I go outside or I do something or I call someone or I play something or I do something stupid or I eat something or I put music on really loud or I cuddle my toes in my hand and give myself a foot massage, even when the rest of me is hating what I find or what I hold… Because even if I can hardly feel the joy or comfort or reassurance or love that the action is bringing, I know that it is lighting a flame again. And even in those moments when I can’t feel the spark that sets this flame going, I know it is always there. By doing these things my body seems to just know how to do, and knows exactly when I need them, I’m giving that spark a voice…I’m letting it know, I’m listening. And in those moments, that’s the biggest gift I can give myself – to listen to my heart opening, and the love that ALWAYS sits there, and to resist the urge to cling onto the hate that’s flying around my system. In those moments, I realise my stubbornness is my spark.
Even when I overdosed, I listened to that spark – that spark was the one that saved my life. That’s the spark that made the call that brought me help. So, even in my darkest of days, my stubbornness and the spark is a bright old motherfucker and it stepped in to save me. And for that I am so grateful. For that, I thank my stubbornness.
If I can do that on that day, on the day I overdosed, I trust my stubbornness and my spark will do it – will be there – every other day of my life, too. And that’s something I am slowly learning I can trust and rely on. Something that offers Letting Go be an option.