I often feel defeated, tired, worried, and…sore. Not from anything in particular, but from the mere act of living. You have to wake up, and move, and breathe, and think, and talk to people. It’s exhausting. All this to say it’s too easy for me to give up on life and throw my hands in the air whilst screaming, “NOTHING MATTERS SO WHAT IS THE POINT???“.
But, I have this other side of me. The side that can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my dumb little life. One that understands everything matters. That waking up is a beautiful goddamn gift from the universe. That having a body that moves is not something to take for granted. That breathing and thinking are intrinsic and fascinating things human beings do. And people? They’re not so bad. Sometimes they say nice things to you and feed you snacks.
Grateful for life Brittany shows up more than existential Brittany. But existential Brittany is very much real and needs reminders about the beauty of life.
I am reading Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary. She writes about the concept of putting in the work for yourself. About uncovering your “Why” and establishing your personal philosophy, values, and priorities. I enjoy books that ask questions of you. I like to think about what inspires me and what I stand for. The things that move me deep in my core. These are the reminders I need to remember what matters to me.
Someone asked me the other day how I got to a point where I could share about myself online. I didn’t have a good answer. Now I know. I can share online because I DID put in the work and it changed my life. I put in a shit ton of work on things that I struggled with. All that work allows me to be here, now, sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it can help other people.
And holy shit, I’ve struggled and still do struggle. With body positivity, my relationship with food, eating disorders, loving myself. Communicating my needs and understanding my needs are valid. Managing anxiety and depression. Understanding how codependency, guilt, shame, and conflict avoidance show up in my life. Being a good partner with healthy mindsets around intimacy and trust. I mean, everything is totally fine…
But I can deal with this (now) because of the work I did and the things that inspired me. Everyone’s work will look different. Mine was A LOT of writing and reading and answering tough questions about myself. Moving to a new state and changing careers. Showing up in the kitchen to cook and bake. Creating this personal blog. Rebuilding my relationships with friends and family. Finding an exercise, like boxing, that excited me. Learning to apologize and communicate. Simplifying my life by decluttering and minimizing. Accepting that routines, order, and cleanliness bring me peace. Building a personal environment that feels sacred and comfortable and brings me joy.
A lot of this work started with reading. I read everything I could that I thought would help or give me new perspectives to work with. Here are some of my favorites. It’s a mix of self-help, psychology, and memoirs. Maybe they will speak to you the same way they did to me.
- The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
- Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing & Life by Anne Lamott
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler
- This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can’t by Augusten Burroughs
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay
- Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
- Hunger: A Memoir of My Body by Roxane Gay
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
- Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment by Amir Levine
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
- Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World by Brooke McAlary
- Websites of Note: The Gottman Institute: A Research-Based Approach to Relationships, The Minimalists: Essays on Living With Less, Zen Habits: Essays on Simplicity, Isabel Foxen Duke: Essays on How to Stop Feeling Crazy About Food
There is so much work left to do. There might always be work to do. That miiiiiiight just be the point to life? To work and grow and learn and love? I dunno, but we’re in this together, and I’m super stoked to be here with you!