When I was in the midst of my financial meltdown – otherwise known as August – I did what you’d expect from a woman who’s spent six months trying to improve herself. I ignored the problem, watched hours of television and drank litres of wine. I engaged in what Brene calls ‘numbing’ behaviour.
I also did something else that Brene says is very common when we’re ashamed of ourselves: I BECAME A B*TCH.
I grabbed any opportunity I could to put other people down. I’d criticise people on the telly, moan about my family, get annoyed with friends and even people on the street: Can you believe the way she looked at me? What is her problem?! etc etc.
Last year mum made a vanilla and strawberry cake for my sister’s birthday.
I carried it from Surrey to my sister’s place in East London, via two trains and a bus. Mum didn’t have a tupperware container big enough for it so it was on a plate and there was some strange net thing put over it, the kind of thing that you put over food when it’s outside on a summer’s day. Something to stop the flies.
This made travelling in rush hour pretty challenging – I kept thinking someone was going to bump into the cake and send it flying but they didn’t. Rush hour that evening was like no other rush hour I’ve ever experienced. People smiled at me, people moved out of my way, people even chatted; ‘That looks nice,’ they’d say, looking at the cake. Their face would soften. The hard, tired, determined, ‘I hate life’ look most us adopt on tubes would melt.
It was really weird. It was like everyone become human again.
Happy Thursday… Just thinking that I’ve been a bit messy on this vulnerability stuff, I only really skimmed what the book is about before delving into my own various back stories… so this post is a cheat’s guide to the book so that you actually know what Brene Brown is saying as opposed to just knowing the inner workings of my mind (and immune system).
It’s a wonderful wise non-self-helpy book that touches on every aspect of life so I really do recommend you read the real thing but even for my own clarity of thought, here you go:
WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF SCARCITY
Brene starts by arguing that we live in an age of scarcity. In our media dominated world nothing we do is ever enough – we’re never rich enough, successful enough, beautiful enough etc… Even when we wake up, our first thought being ‘I didn’t get enough sleep,’ followed by the fear ‘I don’t have enough time…’ We go to bed thinking ‘I didn’t get enough done today…’
I’ve been thinking a lot about vulnerability and how nearly two years ago it changed me life.
In the last post I gave you a lot of back-story about being sick throughout my twenties. I hated putting up that post. I felt exposed, embarrassed and like everybody would be judging me. I have always felt that getting sick is a huge weakness, something to be ashamed of.
I experienced what Brene Brown calls a ‘vulnerability hangover’ – which is where you cringe about what you’ve just shared. You want to run away and pretend it didn’t happen. It was like when you say something stupid in front of a guy and just the memory of it makes you feel hot and sick weeks later.
Anyway, no doubt I’m heading for another vulnerability hangover but I’m going to finish the back-story…
Well, as some of you on Facebook might know, I’ve sick for the last ten days and counting. At first it was fine – an excuse to stay in bed and watch TV (after a solid three days watching Gossip Girl, Netflix is now asking me ‘How often do you watch teenage drama? Often/Very often…’) but I’m bored and fed up now.
It’s just a virus, according to the doctor, who says these things take as long as they take etc but I’ve been doing a right number on myself – beating myself up for having such a crap immune system and trying to find the psychological cause of all this.
You see, in self-help land you’re never just sick – there’s always some sort of emotional/psychological problem at the root. One friend suggested I might have an ULP – which apparently stands for an Upper Limit Problem. This is when things get too good (Brazilian book deal good) and we self-sabotage. Could be true.
Hello all, how’s everyone? This is just a quick one because I think that a lot of you saw it already but I WAS ON THE TELEVISION last Thursday, talking about the blog. It was a morning television show called This Morning and it went very well, or at least I thought it did.
Mum was less convinced. Her very first comments afterwards; “Was your mouth dry? Your mouth seemed very dry.’ I don’t know how you know if someone’s mouth is dry – or why she felt she had to lead with that observation – but she thought I looked nervous at first but I got the hang of it as it went on.
Well, as predicted, the angel stuff is not sitting well with me.
So far I’ve read two and a half of Doreen Virtue’s books in the hope that one of them will make more sense to me but they’re largely the same book repackaged in different ways. She may spend her days in the ‘angelic realm’ but she’s no fool when it comes to business. Sell the same thing 40 different ways and you’ll find someone to buy it. Including me now, which is irritating me.
But everything about angel therapy is irritating me.
OK, so I’ve put this off for as long as I can. Get your wings ready and your heavenly thoughts going – we’re about to dive into the world of Angel therapy. Yup, angels are very, very big in self-help land (well, self-help is the new religion).
Oh dear. I’d written a lovely final post for F*K It. It was wise and wonderful, profound and witty. It’s now gone. Not sure what I did but I obviously didn’t save the draft. Oh well, F**K It – here’s a very hastily – and reluctantly – written post. Thing is, I don’t want F**k it to end. I really don’t.
I want to live in a F**K it world forever, preferably in Italy, drinking wine in the sun and listening to John and Gaia uttering funny, wise words which serve as an antidote to all the crap we listen to every day of our lives.
The crap that tells us that if we’re not pushing harder, doing more, striving to be thinner, fitter, richer, more successful, then we’re not doing it right.
As one friend put it, reading this book is like letting out a sigh of relief.
A couple of months ago I said F**K It to something quite major and I didn’t tell you about it because I worried I’d made a big mistake. I was worried that it was a sure sign that self-help had made me crazy.
In April I was offered a book deal and I turned it down.
I was offered something that I’ve dreamt of my whole life and said ‘No, thanks.’