Bullshit Detective: Self Love + Self Discipline

{griffin lamb}

Last week, I was off my game (thanks Monia for the catch phrase!) .

Unable to drag myself out of bed before the kids. Each morning, the same disappointment revealed itself to me.

Each night, reaching for the belief that tomorrow would be THE DAY. Scared that the last 7 months of work had all gone the drain. I stirred myself with fear, hoping that it would be motivation enough to get back to my game.

And the morning would come. Instead of my usual moonlit indigo sky, the Fir Trees constrasted against the rising morning light. And my stomach lurched in anxiety. The numbers flashed their aggressive carmine red. Not the loving red of poppies and tulips, but the angry red that sometimes washes over you.

Remind me to design a life giving alarm clock.

And so, those first tone-setting moments of my day were seeped in the recognition of my own failure. My brain awoke in a duvet of disappointment.

Hard to turn that shit around if you ask me.

I won’t bore you with the details of the recently disappointed client, or the 5 year old that refuses to dress properly and misses the bus. You’ve all had the same scenarios and much worst too. Yours have different actors and sets, and maybe Gwynneth cameos in yours (god damn that’s one good IG stream), but sadly not in mine. Last week, my body ached in a way that I had never felt before. My hips were tight, my lower back burt with exhaustion, my shoulders tied to my ears with stress and my face crumpled in a focused yet angry origami of skin.

I feel sick, but maybe I need to push through till Friday.

This run hurts, but I need to push through it.

Bruno’s away, but I can do it.

This situation makes me unhappy, but I don’t want to shake things up.

What you said was very hurtful, but I don’t want to upset you.

When do you know what you need to push through and what you need to accept?

My family doesn’t take sick days.  My mother can be down with the flu and she’s still making dinner, stoking the fire, tending to her shit. Or at least she is in my head.

Sit up or lie down?

Paint or write?

Work or wash the floors?

I struggle to hear the voice that say HEY, YOUR MACHINE IS BROKEN. I often stick with the voice that says, get it done. You’ll feel better when it’s done. One wants stillness and the other wants reassurance.

And on that specific morning, both sides won and I lost. I half walked the dog, worried about what I was going to do next. I answered emails, concerned that I should be lying down and napping, I watched a movie while cooking.  I tricked myself into doing both, when in reality neither served their purpose.

I was Present nowhere.

So with a week under my belt I can try to see the pattern:

When I practice self-care, I feel guilty.

When I practice self-discipline, I am a martyr.

But this week, my game is on.

Things feel easier and more fluid.

I’ve done the work ahead of time: cooked, planned and organized. I’m waking up feeling refreshed, not bulldozed by anxiety. I’m meditating again, rolling out my mat twice daily.


I know better than to correlate ease with performance.

Sometimes your game is on, and sometimes your game is off, and you are not in control of any of it. You are a third party.

My meal plan can be done, my mornings can be early and my exercise can be frequent, but none of it means that I’m entitled me to a good week. I learn that same lesson over and over again.

Accepting that things unfold in unpredictable ways, accepting that shit happens to good people, accepting that we make mistakes, that sometimes we suck, but on the flip side we sometimes also do our best with what we have, sometimes things fall into place, sometimes the phone rings and it’s the person you’re thinking of.

Being a bullshit detective is hard work: both the voice that pushes forward and the one that pulls back, they make excellent cases for each other. And often yell so loud that you can’t make them out.

Knowing which voice tells the truth comes with practice, so I’m told.

I’ve spent deep pools of energy trying to conquer my self-discipline. Succeeding sometimes and failing often, overcompensating with food and alcohol both as a reward and a punishment, never even knowing about self-love.

Maybe they are both the same. And maybe with time, knowing which frequency to tune into won’t be so hard.

But I hear the whispers now and I can’t ignore them anymore.


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