The other day, I was standing in line at a coffee shop behind a woman who found herself hemming and hawing over whether or not to order a piece of coffee cake along with her drink. It’s just that she’s on a diet, she said to the cashier — so she really shouldn’t. But… but… it just looked so good. She’d take it, she decided. It was what she really wanted.
I had to restrain myself from gripping her arm and yelling, “YES! GET IT, GIRL!” Partly because it likely would’ve scared her, and partly because it probably would’ve scared me just a bit. (I’m your biggest advocate, yes; but, I’m the world’s biggest introvert first and foremost.)
She got the cake because it looked good and because she wanted it, diet be damned. And on her behalf, I was thrilled.
Just so we’re clear: I’m not sitting here suggesting that you let all self-discipline fly out the window on every whim. But I am unquestionably telling you that you are allowed to fail, to break the rules and to let your responsibilities fall by the wayside every now and again.
Let’s be real. It was a piece of coffee cake. Life is hard work, and I think we all know this with varying degrees of certainty. It’s grueling, it’s relentless, it’s at times unforgiving, and it is always a damn hustle.
So get that cake.
Maybe you find yourself questioning everything; maybe you can’t even keep track of where your car keys are. Maybe only God knows the last time you worked on your Kegels. The list is never-ending, and the dishes are piling up, and the kids are throwing a fit, and the emails in your inbox aren’t replying to themselves.
I know we can’t conquer every mountain every single day. The majority of us wake up on Monday mornings ready to set the universe aflame if that means not having to hunker down in our cubicles and get through five straight days of redundant emails, worthless meetings, paper-pushing. And don't forget breathing through the fire that rises up within every time we’re asked to put in 12-hour workdays and barrel through the weekend in order to get this backlog. Even though we have a family at home thank you very much, BRENDA.
We find ourselves being pulled in a thousand different directions, and it's easy to let every pressure wear us down. Without sufficient breaks or opportunities to recharge, we start convincing ourselves that we’re nowhere near up to snuff.
It’s hard to get everything right all the time, or even to get most things even sort of right on any given day, I know. Maybe you can’t stop fighting with your partner, and you’re positive that all common ground between you is a thousand miles behind you. Maybe you yelled at your kids because you were positive they were messing around on your laptop, which they hadn’t touched at all, it turns out. Or maybe you ate most of a warmed-up frozen pizza over the kitchen sink so that nobody thought the Dairy Queen Blizzard you inhaled directly afterward was the only thing you were going to eat for dinner last night.
Maybe it’s all of that. Maybe you find yourself questioning everything. Maybe you can’t even keep track of where your car keys are. Maybe only God knows the last time you worked on your Kegels. The list is never-ending, and the dishes are piling up, and the kids are throwing a fit, and the emails in your inbox aren’t replying to themselves.
But psst… I’m going to throw this out there, and I don’t want you to argue with me: you’re not doing a bad job — you’re actually doing a great job. Your kids are clothed, and your shirt's not on backwards, and you’re still breathing, and there's a roof over your head, regardless of how chaotic and messy everything underneath it really is.
You’re doing what you can. Forgive yourself for the ways in which you fell short; allow yourself grace for the mistakes you made today, and hold space for the ones that might arise tomorrow. I don’t care whether or not you managed to put pants on today, or if you can’t remember the last time you washed your hair. You are human, you are magic incarnate, and you’ve got this.
So shift your focus.
For every deluge of garbage you find yourself buried under, know that this too shall pass, that no singular issue has the power to take you down, and that you will conquer each beast in time. The sun will rise again tomorrow even if you messed everything up today. Show yourself grace, breathe through it, exercise your ability to love, and for God’s sake, get the damn cake.