The Importance of Pushing Through

Shit happens. Right?  By now, it would be safe to assume that the average twenty something has definitely been hazed up by different experiences and occurrences throughout their tenure as a pseudo adult. "WTF" is apart of our daily phrases.  Basically, we understand that life straight be TRYING it.  

We can deal with the regular stuff. The day to day, --train delays, annoying bosses etc.  But when the shit hits the fan? That's a different situation. We're talking about the "when it rains, it pours", the "if it ain't one thing, it's another", the "compound interest" shit. 

And that, my friends, is what makes us feel like someone just unplugged the stopper in the bathtub, and we're circling around the drain, trying to avoid being sucked down the pipe. It's relentless. It's chaotic. It gives zero f**ks about you. It smacks the plate of food and cup of Kool-Aid out of your hand at the family BBQ. 

Take the month March for example. For me, it was one of the roughest months I had in probably a year. It may have not seemed like it, but it was a doozy. I meaaaaan there was personal drama, family drama, work drama. It was all way too much and my head was spinning. There were several late nights and early mornings, and most days, it took so much out of me to simply put one foot in front of the other. My anxiety was on fleek. There were tears and pleading, and lots of talking to myself. (I support this, and I'll probably explain on another day). 

But the thing about life is, it continues. There are things that I was still expected to do; like go to work, pay bills, etc. Life goes on and, as hard as it is when you feel like you're drowning, you will have to as well. Push through. Here's what I did.

1. Compartmentalize- Everything can't get your attention at the same time. If you're having problems at home-- if they're not overly severe-- still go to work, and actually work.  Focusing on your problems at home, when you're at work is counterproductive, and could compromise your paycheck as well. And that would only add to your problems. So, put your phone on Do Not Disturb and try your best to focus on the task at hand.  For March, I really had to dig deep. Meet quotas, put on playlists and knock out 'do' lists. When 5pm came, I checked back in on my issues. And would ya look at that. They were still there.  To be clear, I'm not just talking about work.  Compartmentalize in other aspects of your life. Put your problem(s) in a small box and (don't avoid them, but) deal with them on a piecemeal basis.  Which leads me to number 2. 

2. Do Not Be Consumed-  Stay positive. Try your best to not allow your issues to take over your entire life. Don't let them spill out of their assigned compartments. Write. Grab a cup of coffee. Go to the gym.  If I was one of those people who lost weight under stress, honnneeeeeey, --I would be snatched. But I actually have the tendency to gain. So, in March, I took Spin twice a week, and did circuit training as well. It's a great way to relieve stress and my jeans started fitting better. Two snaps for me! This is a good time to zone in. Tackle those things you've been meaning to do. Book that trip. Balance your finances. De-clutter your space. Chaos forces you to reexamine your life and re evaluate the things that are important.  

3. Own What You Can, and Leave the Rest- "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference" This is super important. Sometimes the chaos that we are experiencing is a result of trying to change things that we know good and damn well we have no business trying to change--like other people. Well? This also means, that with the things you can change, you have to determine if they are short quick fixes, or if they might take a little longer to work through.  Also, in the spirit of mindfulness, we must understand that things, people and experiences can't technically make us "feel a way"- we're choosing the response to a certain situation. Easier said than done, but it doesn't change the fact that it is true. Choose your responses carefully. Protect your peace. 

4. Cry, and then Go. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big old fashioned cry baby. We live in a society that tells us not to show emotion in fear of being labeled weak. But a good cry is everything. It's refreshing. I'm for it. What I am NOT for, is staying in that space and feeling sorry for yourself. Cry. Get it all out. That's a huge part of pushing through. But when you're done, get out, go get something to eat, and keep going. You have to. You need you. We need you. Trust me, you got this. So take your time, wipe your tears, and then refer to Number 2.

5. Create Boundaries -Maybe you put yourself in this position. Maybe life and other people saw your light and tried to stomp it out. Maybe other people's poor choices are affecting you.  Whatever the case, tell yourself that this isn't the end. Be kind to yourself. Most importantly, don't let anyone else take you on a guilt trip for taking care of yourself, mentally and emotionally. If you need a moment or several, take them. And don't feel bad about it. I've learned that sometimes other people have expectations of themselves that they don't fulfill, so as a result, they project that onto you. No. . 

Even though March was was legit cray, doing the above things allowed me to understand a lot about myself, what my strengths are, where my weaknesses lie, how far I have to go, but also how far I've come. 

Hope this helped. Chaos is never fun. But it will be OK.  Push Through. 


Overthinking Shit Will Ruin Your Life


Let's talk about it. How trying to make a simple decision takes you all week, because you've made a damn pie chart on all the different outcomes and possibilities. How you think about something for hours on end, until your head is pounding, so like a true procrastinator,  you end up closing all your tabs, opening a new one, typing in your Netflix info and watching Law & Order, SVU reruns instead. Detective Benson and Stabler need your help, after all. And it sucks. How do I know? Let's see-- It took me a solid two and a half months to debut (today) this blog AFTER I had made the decision to start one, (sometime back in January) simply because I sat and agonized over every. single. damn. detail. From the name, (I can't begin to count how many names I went through, but let's not open up Pandora's Box) to what platform I was going to use. I almost scrapped the idea altogether. And then one day, I remembered that some time ago, when I was overthinking another project --oh just so you know, this ain't nothing new-- someone told me, "Grace, sometimes 'done' is better than 'perfect'.

And that's when I stopped watching an episode, amidst one of Ice-T's tough guy monologues, (outside of the fact that his name is Ice T, he's also got a major lisp, so it's really hard for me to believe him-- he needs more people) and got to work.

It was really that simple. No one is saying that you shouldn't pay attention to details, but there is absolutely no reason to frustrate yourself into an unproductive frenzy because your mind is on team #doingtoomuch.

So, how did I (and continue to) get through it?

A couple things.

1. Drake-. Yes, I'm serious. Yes, as in Aubrey Graham. Drizzy. October's Very Own. He's such a great motivator. Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a huge music head.  So, anytime I'm about to sit down and do something, that requires a lot of concentration, I have to get pumped with the right soundtrack. It might just be the high energy or that I absolutely believe that he's bae in my head, but from 'Houstalantavegas' to 'Headlines,' Drake records just makes me want to like, get things done.  'Make Me Proud' is the theme song of my life. "I know things get hard, but girl you got it,  girl you got it, there you go...." He knows that I went to Howard, and how I be on the treadmill and trying to only eat salad.  Then he told me he's proud of me, repeatedly.  I'm all like, thanks, boo! Next time, you have a project, do yourself a favor and make yourself a Drizzy playlist and Thank Me Later. See what I did there?

2. Make a list- Now this can be a rabbit hole, so you want to get specific. My list consisted of 3 major things that what I wanted to accomplish with debuting this site/blog, and then I broke those 3 things down further to include how I was going to get each done. This also helped me trim down the unnecessary and irrelevant thoughts that kept me going in circles in my head.

3. Create a deadline and (try my best to) keep it- Mine was the first of the month. Of almost every damn month. I didn't keep to my deadline, and I'll admit that at times, it felt like that small detail kept pushing me further and further away from my goal. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't get frustrated, but it allowed me to use that experience, and what came next, surprised me.
(see #4)

4. Being flexible-  This helped me so much. But Grace, I thought you said have a deadline and keep it? Yes, I said that. But sometimes things have to just... come to you. As you write down the list of goals that you want to accomplish for your project, you might see it evolve and change right before your eyes. Embrace it. Grace Period was so many things before I was (semi) content with what it is now. And it still may change. Being flexible also led me to change my debut deadline from the "first of the month," to just...Monday. Those come more often.  Like ponytails, jeans, like Karrueche and Chris Brown, --don't force it.

5. Being kind to (my)self--Sometimes overthinking things can produce an awful lot of anxiety. It did for me. Caused me to second guess, and be super hard on myself for not getting things done by the time I thought I should have. For not being "perfect". I had to stop before I drove myself crazy.  Honestly, if this happens to you, take a bath and a chill pill. Breathe. Take a break and come back to it. Ambition is a gift and a curse, and mental fatigue IS a real thing. I can't speak for all folks, but I know that I can't produce quality like that. I simply can't function that way. Allow yourself to be a human. A 15 minute, 'you is kind, you is smart, you is important' pep talk, can do wonders. A walk around the block, a cup of tea, a trip to the nail salon-- whatever it is-- use it to get yourself re-centered, and back on task. In my experience, a clear mind is way more likely to be productive and less likely to think about things that are unnecessary. It also helps to remember, that progress is always a work in progress.

Hope you found this useful.

Thank you all for your support, and welcome to The Grace Period.