Ever get so stressed you just want to scream? Or maybe you think you want to scream but then more work, or responsibilities or meaningless busy-ness hits your plate and you move to that, not allowing yourself to really feel that dark emotion that’s shadowing over you?
I hate that.
When I get so busy, I forget to feel. I forget to scream.
I don’t think it’s good at all to mask the bad and so what I’m sharing today are some of my struggles as I consider my own 180s.
Most of the time the thought of 180 excites me. I meditate, do yoga, dance and laugh. I believe the universe has my back and I remain open to receive whatever I might need, whenever I might need it.
I talk a lot about how to handle transitions with grace and ease. I strive for that in everything that I do. But the truth is, it isn’t always graceful, it’s never easy and sometimes I just want to be angry and frustrated. Transitions are stressful and we can’t deny that.
I got to a tipping point with stress that crept up on me and it isn’t all oceans and flowers.
As some of you from the 180 Facebook group or Instagram friends may have seen, I got into a car accident in December. This was when I first realized that even though I’d calmed my mind, my body was feeling the heat of the shift bubbling up in my life.
I was on my way to my corporate christmas party that I wasn’t sure if I wanted to attend. I had a brutally tough day at work where I experienced the kind of politics that turned personal. Though I was calm during the attack and maintained my calm, I later saw that the incident did get to me. It made me question if I was welcome. After the hard work I’d put in, I wondered for a moment if I deserved to celebrate now. I pushed on and decided I would go to the party, my team loved me and I loved them. It was a chance to enjoy a party together.
I remember the drive and taking an unfamiliar route so that I could avoid traffic. It was a rare rainy evening in Los Angeles, my mind was blank and I was paying attention. But then something I didn’t see came up. I braked fast as my car skid over the curb-height median that replaced the lane I’d been in at the bottom of a hill. Boom! Pop! Boom! I came to a stop, dashboard lights having their own Christmas party. Unharmed and seeing that my car was semi-operable, I pulled it over into an alleyway 100 feet ahead.
At a massage appointment a few days after the incident, I came to realize that my muscles were tighter than ever. Perhaps the bracing of that moment was a cause, but what it felt like to me, was something deeper. For me there was no denying that it was my body feeling the internal distress of the upcoming decisions I would need to make.
Something else was happening as well, I was gaining weight. Since my 180 to Los Angeles, I also 180’d my activity level. No longer was exercise considered, “the stairs to my 5th floor New York City walk up,” but consisted of outdoor hikes, strength training in the gym, yoga and biking. I’ve been doing these things, but my body has started to lag. This past week I reached a low when I found myself dressing for work in all black instead of my usually brighter colors. I looked in the mirror and literally thought to myself, “I’m hiding.” Not only hiding in black clothes but hiding in denial that 180 isn't challenging for me.
My stomach has gone from flat to flab, my arms losing their muscle definition. My tight clothes aren’t fitting and my body feels like it's dragging. Not many people can tell (or so they say), but a guy I’ve been seeing pointed out, in what he intended to be a compliment, my growing ass.
The point is, it doesn’t feel great. This doesn’t feel like me and I want to be mad and stomp my feet and throw a box of tissues across the room to hear the smack as it hits the wall.
I’m in this body right now. And it’s really hard to talk about it. I don’t feel comfortable sharing with many people because the response tends to be, “you’re so tiny! You’re thin compared to...” or “I haven’t noticed anything!” before I can finish sharing. As if they are so afraid that I’m calling myself "fat" that they won’t let me finish. Am I fat? No, I’m not. Am I uncomfortable? Am I concerned? Yeah, I am. And I want to feel that, I don’t want to be pushed away from expressing something perceived as negative. I want to understand where it’s coming from. I want to remember what it feels like. And yes, I do want to turn it around, but like anything, turnarounds and transitions require patience.
It sucks, but identifying that it sucks and knowing that the stress goes beyond the mind and into the body can be a step toward health, because it is recognition that 180s are a challenge and require effort, and the effects of the whirlwind can’t be pushed under the rug.