Do the Work - Part I
Life is not just a moment in time, it's not just one event or chapter -
it is a series of chapters that come together to form who you are.
Your reality is not determined by faking it until you make it.
Your reality is determined by how well you walk through the fire.
~ J.V. Manning
I would like to say that I wake up every single day ready to take on the world, full of positive intentions and a smile that just refuses to quit. I would like to say it, but I can't. I'd be lying. Some days I wake up, and the last thing I want to do is face the world. Some days I don't want to smile or rise and shine. Some days I don't want to be me or do what needs doing because I would rather just hide out, drink coffee and pretend that life isn't messy as hell.
Some days I wish I wasn't me because I always see everything as it is and apparently lack the ability to gloss everything over and pretend that everything is just hunky-dory. I am an optimistic realist, and I don't know how to be any other way. And boy, are some days when I wish I could. Kinda. There are days when all I want to do is bury my head in the sand and let the world and all of my problems work themselves out without me. Days when I no more want to deal with my life, its stresses or people, than I would like to get a root canal.
But still, I get up every morning.
I’ve never figured out how to hide from life. I don't know how to avoid dealing with my problems head on or facing life’s challenges. I don't know how to ignore everything that’s wrong. I completely lack the ability to turn a blind eye to anything broken in my world. I know what being happy, and content feels like and I LOVE it - when it's real. I won’t pretend that it’s happening when it isn’t, regardless of how uncomfortable that makes me. If something is hurting me, not working out for me, stressing me or just broken, and I am not settled and content in my world, you can damn well bet I am going to ask the hard questions. I will look under every rock and challenge every shadow, however daunting it feels so I can get back to where I want to be mentally. I have worked far too hard and battled too many demons to accept anything less than what I deserve. Just to be clear here, no one dictates what you deserve in life but you. While you may not always get what you give, no one but you has any say in what is good enough. Took me awhile to appreciate that.
I loathe the phrase - fake it 'til you make it.
Life is messy. It's emotional, incredibly infuriating and unquestionably overwhelming at times. It beats you up, chews you to pieces and unceremoniously spits you out. Then, the sun shines through the dark clouds and a rainbow forms in the sunlight to remind you life is not just a moment in time, it's not just one event or chapter - it is a series of chapters that come together to form who you are. Your reality is not determined by faking it until you make it. Your reality is determined by how well you walk through the fire. Assuming of course, you allow yourself to see the fire in the first place.
Who you are is determined by how you face each day, how you handle the messy and how you strive for real, even when real hurts like hell. Who you are is found in how you take the lessons life throws at you; break them down, examine them while being scared to death, and then find ways to make them work for you instead of against you. Life isn't just about the lessons. It's about making those lessons mean something to your life. Ignoring them doesn't do this. Embracing them does.
No one is sunshine and rainbows all the time. No one. It's not possible. Anyone who tells me that life is perfect and sunshiny all the time has their head buried in the sand. They aren't living life; they’re faking it and faking it doesn't bring a happy reality any closer than not getting up in the morning does. Faking it is delaying the inevitable. Faking it is telling yourself that you’re not worth the effort it’s going to take to get yourself to the place in this world that you want to be. Faking it is lying to yourself. You convince yourself of nothing of value or substance when you fake being happy or content and on some level you have to know everything in your life that you are faking will crumble into a dark and dismal reality at some point that you won’t be able to deny any longer.
Everyone is not okay sometimes. Everyone loses their way, has their heart broken, suffers from some terrible circumstances or events at some point in life. Everyone has people who hurt them and the scars to show it. We are not alone in this. The difference between everyone is how they deal with it. If they do the work or not. Some will. Some will not. Some with check out of life mentally, just going through the motions; maintaining some pretense of being well adjusted and content that will be about as deep as a puddle after a summer rainstorm.
Not living, merely surviving.
Life is about finding depth, finding meaning and doing more than just going through the motions. Life isn't about excuses, all the reasons why you can't get up, speak your truths and honor all that you have been through. It's doing the work needed to find your way through it. It's not about telling yourself tomorrow, or next week you will. It's not about being strong enough or smart enough. All of that is found within the journey but will never be found if one doesn’t get out of their own way, and start the damn journey.
Life takes on a whole new perspective – when YOU DO THE WORK.
I may not wake up every day filled with positivity. I may lose my smile for days on end. I may get so lost in the swirling vortex of emotions inside my soul that I not only don't want to participate in life; I want to run screaming for the hills from it. I may, and it's okay. Because it's real emotions that are screaming for attention. It's my soul saying; "Hey knucklehead, life isn't great right now, what are you going to do about it?" Ignoring them and the cries of my soul doesn't make it better. Faking a smile may fool the world but it doesn't fool my heart or my mind. Pretending I am not scared or overwhelmed doesn't make me courageous or strong. Swinging my legs out of bed and planting my feet on the floor does, though. Spending time within and having much need soul conversations is as good a place as any to start.
Seeing everything clearly - the dark and volatile, as well as, the bright and shiny, is what's going to help me through the fire. It may not be pretty. It may not feel good. It may cause my heart to race and my head to throb, but I know that if I let it go on, all glossed over and fake, it will go on forever and become even harder to face in the long run. I let it go, and my entire life becomes a lie. I won’t be content and happy. I will become a wraith flittering through endless days of nothing. I want more from life than that.
I want to live, not just survive.
A content and happy life isn’t found faking it 'til you make it. A content and happy life is found within the work of making it. Do the work. Challenge yourself. Lose the rose colored glasses. Stop lying to yourself that everything is fine when it isn’t. Ask for help. Seek guidance. Get out of bed every day with the intention of doing something, anything to get you further ahead than you were yesterday. Being an optimistic realist means seeing reality clearly, both the ugly and the beautiful parts and knowing that while it may not be okay right now, you’re optimistic you can get yourself there eventually if you’re willing to do the work.
Do the work.
11/29/2015 06:06:07 pm
So inspiring & so very true. I've done it all from burying my head in the sand to faking it. It all made me who I am. I choose now to plant my feet on the ground & walk through the fire. Facing the storm & questioning what doesn't feel right. I love this page & your thoughts as I drink my coffee & live, love & laugh. Thanks Jenn, best wishes to you through life's journey.
11/29/2015 06:45:34 pm
Sharon, Thank you for such an amazing and touching comment. I want to high five you for your progress. Well done my friend. Keep going strong!!
11/29/2015 07:18:52 pm
excellent! i must say i do not know how to not fake it I can only be the real me when i am alone.
12/17/2015 07:39:40 pm
The real you is so fantastically real, honest and kind. I am blessed by your friendship. Thank you for being a part of my world xoxo
11/29/2015 11:01:14 pm
That was beautiful Jenn! Anytime I need a, "pickmeupper" I know all I have to do is read one of your inspiring and sometimes funny posts. Thank you for just being you and choosing to write all your wonderful, and lifting short notes. You are truly loved!
12/17/2015 07:43:01 pm
11/30/2015 07:26:13 am
Preach! (Great blog and insights, as usual)
12/17/2015 07:43:22 pm
12/2/2015 10:35:05 am
You inspire me to be real and true to myself...and to let go of the guilt in doing so! I've enjoyed coffee time with you for over a year and each time, you leave me feeling inspired, hopeful and happier than when i walked in...for that i am grateful. Thank you Jenn.
12/17/2015 07:44:53 pm
12/3/2015 03:57:54 pm
Very well put Jenn. As always. Doing that is one of the all time hardest things to do on any given day. A specialty when it feels like your life has imploded all around you. This happened to me years ago. And by doing all that ⬆. There is a brighter. The really cool thing is. As I've lived and learned. There is straight to be found in those times. You touched on it!
12/17/2015 07:47:09 pm
Keep on keepin' on my friend!! Thank you for reading and taking the time for this message. Made me smile. Lifting my mug of coffee to you - here's to better and happier tomorrows!
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