Yesterday, I found myself weirdly triggered. By which I mean something, seemingly inane, had sparked a reaction within me that felt icky.
Even though I have largely conquered my social media demons with a conscious uncoupling if you will (more on that here) I found myself caught in the hashtag spiral to end all others. #theyareglamorous #andyouarenot. Enter Spring Carnival. Designer outfits, pre-race makeup chair selfies, champagne, glamorous parties, champagne, girls, champagne. Did I mention champagne?
Before I knew it half and hour had passed, I had oggled most of my friends and half of Australia’s celebrities within an inch of their lives and I had a funny heavy knot residing in my stomach. I was feeling jealous. I was resenting my leggings that had grubby fingerprints down the legs. I was cowering at the reflection of my sweaty post-workout hair in a messy do on top of my head. Why the hell wasn’t I at the races with the rest of the population in a nice dress drinking champagne?
Now as I mentioned – the impulse shocked me. I am not even a races kinda gal. I think I have maybe gone to the races once ever and besides that (and without getting into the debate) I don’t even bloody agree with it (read here for more on that ol’ chestnut mare). I mean don’t get me wrong; I love getting dressed up, pampering, being with my girlfriends, and cheering as much as the next broad. But that said, the races still ain’t my cup of tea. So why was it that suddenly, the further I went down the hashtag rabbit hole, did I feel so… small? And, like I wasn’t really as good as all my well-heeled counterparts?
So I strapped on my sneakers and went for a long head-clearing walk. As tends to happen when I get outside and simply breathe, I suddenly had some new eyes that could separate the bullshit from the gems.
As I stared at the dresses, the millinery, the hubbub and the celebrity I was feeling less than glamorous. My knee-jerk reaction was to think uh-oh, icky feeling. Get rid of it now! DISTRACTION! I immediately tried to quash the jealousy and sweep it away under some mental rug. Told myself that it was immature to feel that way. Not very life coachy. Certainly not spiritually enlightened. But the feeling refused to be swept without leaving some painfully obvious lumps and bumps. So I tried a different tack and instead let the jealousy wash over me. As I walked along the coast I threw myself a pity party and didn’t judge myself for the feelings I was having.
And suddenly – when I let myself feel it all – the epiphany came.
I realized that it wasn’t just some silly fear of missing out, I actually legitimately was missing something that all those red-lipped girls in the images weren’t. What I had confused as a feeling of inadequacy was actually a yearning.
I don’t take much pride in my appearance anymore. I pretend that I am really proud that I can go to the shops in my tracksuit pants or that I wear pyjama’s when my friends come over. But really that doesn’t make me feel gorgeous or successful. And I would like to feel both. What those beautifully coloured floral frocks reminded me was that I like investing in clothing that makes me feel special and adds height to my posture. I want to – occasionally – go to fancy places where there is a dress code (that doesn’t okay thongs). I want a little bit of romance in my life. I want to live life as art. Paint more, have fresh flowers and wear bright lipstick.
The point here is, while nasty shitty feelings are exactly that they can also be bloody important desires showing up in their most attention-grabbing form. Triggers are just clues of areas we need to do more self-work. Feeling icky can be our intuition giving us homework.
So I want to ask you to tune into yourself right now. Is there a reoccurring thought that is churning your stomach? Do you try to hide how you are feeling, even from yourself? Maybe just for today, don’t. Do the counter-intuitive and marinade in the discomfort of it all. Examine it without judging. Go for a walk. Look for the lesson. And then do something really awesome for it.
Me? I have booked myself in for a hair cut and a fancy massage. My anniversary is coming up and I have decided we will be going to a very fancy restaurant to celebrate it. The sort of restaurant that is going to serve some kind of bisque or maybe even a foam. I am also going to be getting myself some nice lingerie. Hell… may even wear lipstick tomorrow.
What about you? Can you think of a trigger that could be trying to tell you something? Would love to hear in the comments.