I always wonder about these motivational quotes that float across social media like the seeds of a dandelion a child blew to smithereens. Do they really work? Really? Really.
They don’t work for me. I don’t read about a shark taking a bite out of Monday and say to myself, “Woo…I am a shark. I am snatching life into my jaws!” I’m a realist. And a cynic. And a sarcastic, mouthy individual. Instead, I end up muttering, “Sharks don’t know that it is Monday because the calendar is a man-made concept.” And I keep shuffling at whatever pace I started my day until I decide that I need to hit the gas pedal…or slam the brakes.
I react to stories. I react to emotion. I react to real. We are human begins. I swear that the person who has a smile plastered across his or her face at all times of the day and thinks the everyone is a ray of sunshine with Chanel sprayed on for good measure is either smoking something, has popped some pill, or had loosened some internal wire before coming out of the womb. There is a reason why I like the box of 96 crayons instead of the five primary colors: Variety. And as human begins, we have more than one or two emotions. I say use them. But I am a Scorpio. And I live with depression. So maybe I’m not the best person to give advice on this. But I do know that sharp wit and internal grit do not flourish without the darker colors of the emotional spectrum. And empathy does not rise if we have not experienced our own depth of fall hues.
As a result, I would rather share my story than plaster a swift motivational quote to kick your butt into gear. Quite possibly, your butt doesn’t need to get kicked into gear. Maybe it just needs a nudge. A soft tap to say, “Move an inch off the couch. Stick a foot out of the bed. Let gravity carry you a step or two.” Picking up a book, stepping onto a treadmill, drawing in your eyebrows, texting a friend, petting your dog, saying one kind sentence to yourself in the mirror. These all seem like normal deeds to those who do not deal with the throes of depression. But those of us who ride waves of emotions like surfers balance boards in the waters off Hawaii shores know that these small acts take great effort.
So, my advice? Start small. Let that small act enthrall you. Let it move you…literally and figuratively. Don’t rush the small movement. Live within it. Appreciate it. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t mean anything. It means the world that you let the sole of your foot touch the soft carpet of your bedroom floor. You took a step out of bed. Take another. Walk to the bathroom. Wash your face. Take a deep breath.
Don’t punish yourself.
Don’t belittle yourself.
Just be yourself and walk the next step.