|Photo courtesy of Hannah Dol as pinned on Pinterest.com|
A few weekends ago on a fairly cloudy Saturday afternoon in Orlando Florida I took refuge in a café, grabbed some tea and made a call to Pittsburg, PA. I waited both impatiently and excitedly for her to answer the phone and when she did I was relieved. “Is this a good time?”, she asked. It was as good as time as any other for me to enlist some extra support in moving towards goals. I reassured her it was and we had an amazing conversation. I hung up encouraged, expectant, and grateful that she would take me on as a client. I hired a coach.
And so, a few weeks later, last week as a matter of fact, I found myself in another café, sipping yet another cup of tea, and making that call. I updated her on the things I did since our last talk, such as take time to really think about what I am good at versus what I want to be good at. I also shared that I wanted to really commit to my work as a counselor and seriously pursue licensure. I also talked about my time management and how I completely lost my rhythm, giving up any sense of routine if it meant more sleep. And there was Thanksgiving. I talked to her about how life giving it was and that it was the birth place of my epiphanies, like assessing how sustainable my current lifestyle is, am I making choices that lead to more survival or position me to thrive, etc. Then she asked me to tell her more about why going away was life giving. So I shared it was everything from being around people who get me , look like me (and by look like me I just mean people of color), are younger passionate professionals and or entrepreneurs, embrace change. Mostly I shared “I wasn’t invisible.”
|Photo courtesy of Amy Saunders as pinned on Pinterest.com|
She asked why I relocated and if what I expected was my reality. I shared why, what I had hoped, and then my bottom lip began to quiver and I could feel my eyes welling up with tears. “No. Not even close.” I said. And I immediately went on to share all of the good things that I could muster, the list that I kept at the forefront of my mind that helps me to be grateful, see all that has transpired as a blessing, and the humorous joy filled triumphant moments. They existed I assured her. “Tell me more about what you expected and what didn’t happen.” Leave it to a coach to ask the hard questions aka the ones I try to avoid.
So I told her. I told her every detail. Every painful detail. I didn’t expect so many things about life after the move in fact there were so many things I hadn’t expected about the entire year. I didn’t expect the deaths, the strained family dynamics, to be paying a mortgage by myself for a house I’m not living in, the loneliness, the brokenness, the feelings of inadequacy, the discrimination, the anger. No, no, and no. Didn’t expect it.
“Sounds like you’ve got some grieving to do.”
I was quiet.
“You’ve had some serious losses recently and throughout the year, but especially with this move. You need to grieve that.”
|Photo courtesy of Christine as pinned on Pinterest.com|
I wanted to say it was disappointment and was exactly what I deserved for my darn expectations. I wanted to say it felt a bit traumatic. But to declare it a loss to grieve seemed strangely more appropriate. And not a defeat, not a reason to hang my head, not an honorable mention, but a loss to grieve.
She called it what I simply could not or perhaps would not. Maybe because I had known enough loss and didn’t want to add this to the list. Maybe because I didn’t want to have to look at life and say “You son of a gun look what you did now. I suppose with time we’ll l make sense of this mess eh?”
I find in life that the upswing we often seek, that little bit of sunshine amid clouds, the hope we long for that gives breath to an inkling of change often starts with calling things what they are. There is something to be said for naming things, especially those ugly, hard, scary, half-baked things. I find that when we name it, we often begin to accept it as real and when things are hard and seem most out of control we long for real, tangible, now. Naming it doesn’t mean that it’s the end all be all. I will not be losing and grieving from here to eternity. Not happening. But it’s amazing how I have been much more gracious and compassionate with myself. After all aren’t those some of the very things those who experience loss need most? Extra grace when their running behind or in a daze because they are still coming to terms with a new reality. Extra compassion because it just hurts and compassion, softer smiles, kind words, reminders of encouragement, sitting in silence, helps tender wounds.
|Photo courtesy of Jennifer Lenny Salt as pinned on Pinterest.com|
I wasn’t particularly keen on working with Akirah. That’s my coach and she is the bomb.com. You can check her out here. My like or keenness had nothing to do with her. It was me not being too keen on soliciting more help. I had a counselor, friends, family, and for Christ’s sake, I had Christ. Yet it was and has been such a good decision. In part because coaches are good at seeing the ways we can best win the game utilizing our strengths, so they do what they know best to do to help us optimize those strengths. Akirah knew that the next career and life goals I had in mind weren’t going to be accomplished if I didn’t grieve.
Might I suggest this week that whether you do it with the help of a friend, your sister, your uncle Jimmy Tony, God, a counselor, mentor, or a coach, that you call things in your life for what they are. May you not call it frustration when it’s anger, caution when its fear, disappointment when it’s a loss to grieve, or like when it’s love. By all means if it’s love call it for what it is and then the person and let them know! May you experience the power of naming those things in your life that need to be named so that you can deal with them accordingly and keep it moving towards living the simply LIVEd life. May you call things as they are so that you can then see and speak to that which you desire to be.
|Photo courtesy of Nana-Mbra Idun as pinned on Pinterest.com|