Here's a picture that my friend Erin posted on social media last night that, I feel, truly encapsulates our collective 2021 at a glance. We have all been hanging on for dear life until the very last moments of this year, hoping for better things to come. Not unlike last year and the year before that. Dare we speak of hope for this new year?
I say, dare we not?
What is it that keeps us hanging on for life and limb to the tops of those proverbial artificial Christmas tree trunks? Do we think we will find a star or an angel at the top? Santa Claus? Ryan Gosling?
Do we perch ourselves up there to see if we can detect any semblance of light ahead?
I don't think it's a question of whether or not light is coming or how far away it is or how long it will take to get here. I believe it's a matter of turning the lights back on in ourselves. These past few years have not been kind, and since I live my life out loud, in real time, I can admit that there have been times that the light inside me has been quite dim. Sometimes I have wondered at times whether or not the light has even gone out entirely in me. In fact, I'm sure it has.
There. I said it. You read it. The light sparks and flickers and shines and fades intermittently. And guess what?
I'm still typing.
I'm still trying.
I'm talking myself down from my tree.
I have been way too frustrated and angry these past few years. Cussed too much. Drunk too much. Eaten too much. I called all of it 'self-care' because, except for the anger, these things brought comfort, and I felt like I deserved comfort from all the injustice and harm and horror of the world. I did what made me feel good... or, at least, better.
But I'm not better. I'm worse for all of it--especially the frustration and the anger.
So, this year, regardless of what happens to us or doesn't and irrespective of what fresh, new horse manure awaits, I have to be better. I have to live better. Because self-care shouldn't result in fifteen additional, aggravating pounds, higher blood sugar and hypertension--which is right where I have taken myself.
I have to redefine self-care: I deserve to be healthy, so I will do the things that will make me healthy. And
I have to reduce my stress. I have to make a three-column list of the things that includes:
a) The Things I Can Control
b) The Things I Can Influence
c) The Things I Can't Control.
Then I need to take a pair of scissors and cut out The Things I Can't Control and chuck it in the F#@& !T BUCKET.
See? I didn't spell it out because I'm working on my potty mouth. I'm a work in progress. And so are you, friend. I know you are. Or you're trying. Or you're at least thinking about trying. Maybe I can offer you something that might be a fun exercise that will help along this journey.
Let's play a game of Bingo, shall we? We'll take it month by month. Download this Bingo card for NOT LOSING YOUR DANGED MIND IN THIS WORLD. Get your dauber out and start knocking out squares. Let's reimagine all the possibilities for bringing light into this weary world and reignite the light inside yourselves, and I will do the same. Pick a few boxes. Be mindful. Be intentional. Make goals out of them. And let me know when you get a BINGO! I would truly love to hear about each small victory and how this simple game brought a measure of peace for you and, perhaps, for someone else as well. If you would allow me, I would love to feature it here on the #RainyDaisBlog. Of course, you can remain anonymous. LET'S PLAY!
In the meantime, here is a meme that my friend Heather sent me this morning. It is quite fitting as we embark upon a year of who knows what? May you write yourself a beautiful year!
Daisy Rain Martin has spent over 25 years in the classroom and has managed to preserve her sanity—mostly. Actually, she feels quite blessed to be doing what she loves. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology (1990), a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction (2004) as well as a Master of Fine Arts in writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota (2021).
In the summers, you can find Daisy in her gardens with her husband or in her office writing. As often as she can, though, she loves spending time with her grandbaby, Wiggle, who was born on her birthday and her grandniece, Giggle, who was born on Christmas Eve. Truly, she writes for them.
If you are interested in having Daisy speak for your school district, provide professional development for your staff, or visit your school to talk to students, please contact her through this website.