About Liz Goodchild

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So far Liz Goodchild has created 67 blog entries.

You don’t need permission.

The other evening, a dear friend of mine text me with, as she called it, a wording question. She’d been invited to a party, you see, by someone from her work who she doesn’t like very much, and was struggling to articulate how to RSVP with a “Thanks but no thanks” yet still be polite. In her text to me she said, “I don’t want to say I’m unable to come but should I make an excuse? I don’t know how to combine politeness and integrity!”

I text her back and suggested she write: “Thanks for the invite, however I won’t be able to come”.

Voila!

With the holidays coming up, you too might be struggling a bit with the sudden blitz of festive party invites and family gatherings to go to. Maybe you’re feeling that you have to be part of the office ‘Secret Santa’, when really, you just think it’s stupid spending a tenner on a pointless gift for Andy in Accounts—who you barely even know—and yet you’re feeling the pressure and don’t want to say no.

I struggled for years with this. I would go to parties I didn’t want to go to and chip in for gifts I didn’t want to chip in for and smile and nod along and say “Yes, that’s fine!” when actually, it wasn’t fine, it was crippling.

It’s difficult to say “no”, isn’t it? Because when you say “no”, people might judge you and dislike you and think you’re not very fun and a party pooper.

Talking of party poopers, I decided to leave a party at 10.15pm last weekend, mostly because I was really tired and also because I am a raging introvert and don’t really like parties. It took me close to half an hour to actually leave though, because as I said goodbye to everyone, I was fire-hosed with “Don’t go!” “Just stay, for one more hour!” “But the party hasn’t even started yet!” and “Oh come on, don’t be boring!”

I left anyway. Despite the peer pressure to stay. Despite the nagging voice in my head that said, “Well, what if you are really boring and now everyone hates you and thinks you’re weird?”

The truth is, they might now think I am really boring. They also might hate me and think that I am weird.

I can just about tolerate this though. Because a) I know I cannot control or do anything about what other people think of me, and b) I am not obligated to do anything I don’t want to.

And the same is true for you.

You don’t have to go to the party. You too can say, “Thanks for the invite, however I won’t be able to come”.

You don’t have to spend every single Christmas with your parents and that weird old Aunt you only see once a year.

You don’t even have to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or whatever festivity you think you have to celebrate! You might think it’s all a bit daft and commercialised and you can’t be bothered with all the faff. (A few years ago, before my kiddo arrived in the world, I chose to spend Christmas day on my own. I ordered a takeaway curry from my favourite Indian restaurant and watched Will and Grace re-runs all day long. It really was bliss).

You don’t need permission from anyone.

But if for some reason you feel like you do, here it is:

You can say “No”. Or “No, thank you” to the parties and the invites and the Secret Santa and the hours and hours and hours you feel you must spend with your family over Christmas when really, your family drive you slightly bonkers and each year you’re already tearing your hair out before your mum has even served up the trifle and everyone’s got a bit pissed and opinionated on Baileys.

You can say “No.”

You don’t always need a reason. You definitely don’t need an excuse.

You’re allowed to say “No” because that’s what feels right and the best thing for you*.

Over and out.

 

*This also applies throughout the rest of the year, not just at Christmas.

 

By | 2017-12-20T09:26:14+00:00 20 December 2017|

Demand it.

“Trust me, I do this day in, day out. You’ve got to take my word for it.”

A surgeon said that to me, nearly 4 years ago, shortly after I’d fucked-up my ankle. 

I can’t see anything wrong with the bones in your ankle, the problem is definitely in your calf muscle” he added, standing up from his desk and gesturing me towards the door. My allocated 10 minutes with him were up. “It’ll be a quick operation, we’ll cut some tissue away from your calf muscle, then, once you’ve recovered, you’ll hopefully be able to run properly again. Just let me know what you want to do.”

I eyed him warily, “I’ll be in touch”, I replied and politely shook his hand as I left his office.

I did not have that operation.

I knew that there was something wrong with a bone in my ankle, not my calf. I could feel it kind of jamming up against another bone each time I ran. It wasn’t painful as much as uncomfortable, but I knew it wasn’t supposed to feel that way.

A few more years passed. A merry-go-round of appointments with physiotherapists and manual therapists and doctors and experts even more x-rays prevailed. No-one could pin-point the exact problem in my ankle, even though I described in detail what I was feeling. I even showed a physiotherapist what I thought was happening, on a foot skeleton model in his office, and yet he just smiled at me and told me to do the exercises he’d set me.

I did them, diligently. He knew better than me, right?

Still, nothing changed.

Several weeks ago, growing tired of getting nowhere, and fast, I demanded another x-ray on my ankle, nearly 4 years to the date since my ankle injury. My doctor—an awesome guy who is also a runner, so he gets my frustration—referred me to the best foot and ankle specialist in the area.

“Here we go again”, I thought. “Another x-ray. Another office. Another conversation where I’m not listened to.”

And yet this time, it was different.

The x-ray showed exactly what I’ve been saying for years. A bone is out of place in my ankle, and it jams up against another bone. I could see it with my own eyes. And the specialist could also see it. She pointed it out to me.

I cried right there in the fancy office of the best foot and ankle specialist in the area.

I cried partly because I was relieved—I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably never run a marathon ever again, and now? Maybe that’s not the case. But mostly, I cried because I was thankful. Thankful that I’d demanded and pushed relentlessly to get an answer, and that I’d trusted my own body—and my own mind—despite being told countlessly that I was wrong.

In January, I’m having an operation on my ankle. I met with the surgeon yesterday, and he said he’s 99% sure I’ll be able to run marathons again, which, if you know me, you’ll understand just how much this means to me.

In a world full of ‘expert’ advice, you don’t have to take someone else’s word for it, you know. You can trust your own.

By | 2017-11-26T17:07:53+00:00 26 November 2017|

The half-broken drawer in my kitchen.

There’s a drawer in my kitchen under the sink, that’s broken.

It’s not broken enough for it to be unusable, but it kind of falls off its runners when you pull it out too far.

It’s been like that for a few months now and I’ve masterfully figured out a way to carefully open the drawer without it falling off the runners all the time.

I think my partner has also figured this out too because I see her opening it in a different, but equally careful way.

It’s funny though, because neither of us have mentioned the broken drawer to each other.

Not a word. Not a peep.

We’ve just got on with opening it in our own way, accepting that the drawer is broken and yet not actually doing anything about fixing it, or, in our case, discussing it.

This happens in life too, right? It’s not just DIY stuff. It happens at work and with friends and in marriages and also in our own heads.

Something breaks down, something stops working the way it used to, something needs more effort than before, something needs a little more support or patience or a new perspective or approach.

And instead of communicating that to others (or even ourself), we say nothing.

Not a word, not a peep.

We just continue doing the same thing as before, or we spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy working out ways to skirt around the problem, without spending any time or energy on how to actually fix it……

By | 2017-11-02T15:58:12+00:00 2 November 2017|

A missed train.

My Dad and sister came to stay with me here in Germany last week.

They had booked themselves on the same flight from London Luton, so that they could travel together, despite the fact that my Dad does not live in London.

He lives in Manchester, you see. And so, on the morning of the flight, he travelled by train from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston.

He planned his journey very carefully so that he had a lot of time to get from Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston to London Luton airport. He figured that if there was a delay of some sort, he’d factored in a big enough buffer to still arrive with plenty of time to spare.

This was not the case.

The train he was on stopped dead, only an hour or so into his journey.

It did not move for nearly an hour and a half while the train company dealt with “An Incident”.

Time ticked away. My Dad did a lot of sweating and panicking. So did my sister and I as we text back and forth, trying to figure out what he should do and how we could help him.

I stress hoovered my entire house while I waited for updates. I Googled hotels in London and checked flights for the next day. I ate my way through a packet of vegan cookies that I’d bought as a gift for my sister (sorry, sis).

Time kept ticking.

It all got a bit more fraught. And then a bit more.

In the end, the train company decided it was best to let everyone off at the nearest train station than continue to make them sit there on a hot, sweaty train.

And so my Dad took a very expensive taxi straight to London Luton airport.

He figured that this way, he might just be able to make the flight by the skin of his teeth.

The taxi driver drove very fast.

While he was travelling in the very fast taxi, my sister—who was already at the airport—found out that the plane had been delayed.

This bought my Dad extra time and he made the flight. Hooray!

Thank goodness the flight was delayed!…

says no-one ever….

…..other than me, my Dad and my sister that day.

On any other day, a day when the train had arrived exactly on time, that delayed flight would have been THE WORST, right? It would have been SO ANNOYING and SO FRUSTRATING and HOW DARE THE FLIGHT BE DELAYED, WE’LL GET THERE LATE NOW.

But on this particular day, that same delayed flight was THE BEST THING EVER!

Funny, isn’t it? Because that delayed flight was just a delayed flight.

Everything else that happened came as result of our thinking about the delayed flight and what we made it mean.

By | 2017-11-02T15:59:45+00:00 2 November 2017|

I’m the asshole who spoils the fun.

My 2-year old kid loves tractors.

He likes to run into his bedroom and open his giant encyclopaedia of tractors and tell me what kind of tractor brand he’s looking at. Each night before bed, I read passages to him from the encyclopaedia and his little face is full of delight and curiosity and focus as I tell him about all the different types of tractors from all over the world and what they do and what they are used for.

He’s a total tractor nerd and I love him for it.

He’s also a total pain in the arse at times.

He wants to watch tractor videos all day long on YouTube, you see.

And I’m the terrible parent who says no.

He loses his shit when I say no.

He cries and shouts and throws himself on the floor and is pretty much inconsolable.

His little brain just wants tractors now, now, now and all he can hear from me is no, no, no.

I don’t like saying no to him.

There’s a big part of me that wants to give him everything he wants, to say yes to every request of his.

But I know best. (At least I think I do). I don’t believe it’s helpful or healthy for him to sit on the sofa all day long staring at a screen. It’s surely better for him to be outside flying his kite and running around and climbing things and exploring the exciting world around him.

And so I’m the asshole who spoils the fun for him. I put my foot down. I don’t give in. No matter how loud he screams and protests. I say to him, “I can see you’re mad right now, and that’s ok. When you’ve finished shouting, come and find me, I’ll be in the living room.”

And then I leave him to it.

After 5 minutes, he waddles in all sniffly and shaky shoulders and climbs into my arms. I kiss him on the top of his head and then we decide what we’re going to do for the rest of the afternoon (other than watching tractor videos on YouTube).

I’m gentle with him but firm.

I have to be like this with myself too. I have an inner 2-year old you see. And my inner 2-year old also wants to sit on the sofa watching YouTube videos all day long every day. She also wants to eat junk food and never do any exercise and to go to bed super late and do whatever she wants, whenever she wants.

And I have to put my foot down with myself too.

I do not like this. My inner 2-year old cries and shouts and throws herself on the floor and is pretty much inconsolable.

My inner 2-year old wants everything now, now, now and all she can hear from the rational, adult part of my brain is no, no, no.

I don’t like saying no to myself.

There’s a big part of me that wants to give my inner 2-year old everything she wants, to say yes to every request. Yes to ALL the junk food! Yes to ZERO exercise! Yes to watching EVERY SINGLE Casey Neistat video on YouTube EVER! Yes to slobbing around and procrastinating and doing nothing!

But I also know what’s best for me. I know that I feel so much more alive and energised and awake when I eat healthy food and move my body and write and get outside and meditate and all the other shit that’s good for me that my inner 2-year old hate and resists.

And so I put my foot down. I don’t give in. I have to parent myself as well as my kid.

How’s your inner 2-year old doing?

 

By | 2017-10-13T15:38:43+00:00 13 October 2017|

Scary things.

When I look back at all of the brilliant, mind-expanding, soul-deepening, feel-good things I’ve done in my life—from running ultra marathons, to starting my own business, to moving to another country, to swimming across a giant lake—I can confidently say that I did not feel even remotely confident before, or during, any of them.

“Why the fuck do I put myself through this shit?” I once asked my friend, Josie, having returned from another terrifying swimming session in my local lake, having covered nowhere near even half the distance I would have to swim on race day. “Because you actually want it more than you are scared of it”, she replied.

And she was right.
Very right.
She’s one of the wisest people I know.

Last Saturday, I stood on stage in front of close to 200 people and spoke for 25 minutes about my work as a coach and how I blend who I am as a human being with who I am as a coach.

I was terrified.

I actually don’t think I have ever been so scared in my entire life, actually. I am still extremely confused by this. I have done, on paper, far scarier things (jacking in my job and starting a business, 2 months after my kid arrived in the world is probably up there) and yet that particular time in my life doesn’t seem to come close to how I felt standing on that stage on Saturday afternoon.

In the weeks, maybe even months, leading up to the talk, I was already acutely aware of just how nervous I was. I couldn’t focus properly, I dreamt about standing up on stage and really fucking my talk up, and my appetite waned (which is weird for me, because I bloody love eating). And honestly? I began to actually question if it was all worth it. Was 25 minutes on stage worth weeks and weeks of worry?

I started to feel that Josie’s sage advice of wanting it more than I was scared of it wasn’t ringing true this time around.

I didn’t know if I wanted it.

The fear felt too heavy and uncomfortable to want even an iota of how good I knew I’d feel once my talk was over and I was safely off stage.

But I knew I would do it, because, a long time ago, when a series of traumatic events obliterated the once very safe life as I knew it—and I subsequently spent many more years being okay but not really okay, putting on an act and ‘getting through—I actually made a pact with myself that I would always live my life choosing courage over comfort.

I very quickly learnt that that I’d always find the good, worth-doing stuff in life shit-scary, that fear was never something to fight or smash through or ignore. I couldn’t out-run it. And to just do things scared. I learnt that I’d probably never achieve anything in my life feeling certain or comfortable or safe.

I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish I could do amazing and incredible and heart-soaring and adventurous things from the squishy pillows of my sofa while watching Netflix and eating pizza, but I haven’t figured out how to make that happen. Have you?

And so I stood on that stage on Saturday. Quaking in my boots.

I told the audience I was scared. So scared, in fact, that the FitBit heart rate monitor that I was wearing at the time, thought I was doing a high-intensity workout and kept congratulating me.

I spoke from the heart—even though my voice was shaking even more than my legs—about being human and real and honest, even when it’s far easier to not be.

I meant every word that I said as I stood up there being very, very, very human and very, very, very real and very, very, very honest, because as a coach, it’s really important to me that I walk my talk. If I’m encouraging and guiding the people I work with to do scary, but brilliant, mind-expanding, soul-deepening, feel-good things, then I better damn well do them too.

I didn’t hide my fear with the people who were listening to my talk. It was there for everyone to see. I couldn’t run from it. It wasn’t going away.

So I just let it be there.

I just stood up there scared.

I’m always stood up somewhere scared, really. It’s almost impossible not to be.

Because life is scary, in lots of ways, isn’t it? There are job interviews to go to and first days at school and difficult conversations to be had and decisions with no uncertainty to be made and invites to speak at a conferences in front of people you have bags of respect for.

There’s no escaping fear. It infiltrates us all day long. There’s always something to be scared of or about.

We don’t really have a choice to not be scared. The primal part of our brain kind of takes over and we’re strapped in for the ride, whether we like it or not.

And yet we always have the choice when we’re scared, to choose courage, or to choose comfort.

Which one do you tend to choose?

By | 2017-10-11T10:26:06+00:00 11 October 2017|

Learn how to stay.

“To get free, learn how to stay.”

~ Laura McKowen

I have to practice this over and over and over and over. To just stay. Right where I am, with what I’m feeling. Which, over the last few days, has been bubbling anxiety and not-very-grounded-ness. I’ve got a talk coming up on Saturday and I’m really fucking nervous. I’m also currently in the UK and have been away from my kid for 8 days (and counting) and I’m missing him like mad. I’m out of my groove, my flow, my routine, you know? My impulse is to run. Not physically, but emotionally. I can’t bear it. I want to numb out; with wine, with Netflix, with food, with anything that’ll somehow remove me from the nerves and the missing and the shakiness. But I’m staying because I’ve learned that although it’s not the easiest way, it’s the place that ultimately soothes and points me to freedom.

It’s the place that teaches me to curiously observe what the bugger is going on in my head without responding to it with 4 giant-ass glasses of wine (I’ve not drunk alcohol for 10 months now, and I’ve never felt more clear and energised).

It’s the place where I get to meet the part of myself that I find the most challenging—the messy, scrappy, complicated, wonky part of me. I’m all, “Hey Liz, I know you’re all jangly and ARGHHH right now, but you’re just going to have to tolerate it, my friend. Just stay. Don’t run. It won’t help, not in the long-run. Sit with it.”

I said the same to a dear client this morning. She gets anxious too. I said, “Can you just sit with it, instead of moving away?” And she said, “Urgh, I’m trying, but it’s so hard.”

I nodded my head.

It is hard.

As hell.

But it’s worth it. Because when I’m bumping up against myself and scared and unsure, it means I’m not stagnating and I’m not stuck and I’m not bored. It means I am living and learning. I’m not just bumbling along. And I know it sounds a cliche and cheesy, but doing stuff that scares you, that challenges you, that makes you want to climb out of your own skin, is ultimately good for you. Because it means you’re alive and growing.

Learn how to stay. Over and over and over.

By | 2017-10-11T10:23:41+00:00 11 October 2017|

Begging for bottles.

I’m sitting on the 13.08 train from Cologne, travelling back home, earphones in, listening to one of my favourite podcasts.

The train is packed with people. Knees crushed up against suitcases. Feet on seats. Heads awkwardly pressed against windows.

There’s some kind of commotion going on behind me. The people around me are shifting in their seats and craning their necks, looking in that direction.

I take one earphone out and turn my head to see what’s going on.

There’s a woman—she looks all official in her train company uniform—barking orders at another woman, a passenger, for taking up too much room.

There’s plenty of eye rolling and tutting and shaking of heads in disbelief from the other train passengers, mostly at the woman in uniform. She’s being pretty rude and obnoxious. Some people are kind of laughing, uncomfortably, others are arguing with the uniform woman and blaming the lack of carriages on the train. My partner, who is sitting next to me—and who has the strongest moral compass of right and wrong I’ve ever known—starts to declare loudly how the uniform woman is unfair and how she can’t believe a human could treat another human being like that. I nod and agree. People around us do too. We all kind of join together in solidarity for the woman behind us; exchanging knowing glances with her and making it clear through our body language that we’re on her side.

The train trundles on.

The commotion behind me quietens.

People go back to looking out of the window or reading their magazines.

I put my earphone back in, and press play.

10 minutes later, I become aware of someone talking in a loud voice, maybe 10 rows ahead of me.

I look up and see a man standing up and facing everyone at the front of the train carriage. He seems to be making some sort of speech. He has a moustache. It’s the first thing I notice.

The second thing I notice is the blue jumper he’s wearing. It’s grubby and stained.

I take both earphones out and pause my podcast.

He’s begging for money. And empty plastic bottles. Empty plastic bottles are worth cash in Germany, you see. Around 25 cents each. You take them to the supermarket and get money back. It’s a recycling initiative. It’s also a begging initiative. I see this at most train stations and airports. Places where people are on-the-go and thirsty and probably don’t have space in their bags to take their empty bottles home.

The man continues to talk.

He explains that he will soon make his way through the train carriage and will gladly accept any money or bottles.

He talks loudly and confidently.

To absolutely no-one.

Because no-one is listening.

Which is probably not true: People are listening, but they’re pretending not to.

The same very-listening people, who just 10 minutes earlier had craned their necks to watch the unfolding drama behind them and had so much to say about it, were now motionless and blank.

No eye contact. No acknowledgement as the man slowly walks through the carriage, both hands open, palms facing up, smiling hesitantly.

Heads are buried in books. The countryside that has been whizzing past the train window for hours on end suddenly becomes incredibly interesting to look at.

No money or bottles are handed over.

Until he gets to my seat, that is. I don’t have any money. But I have an empty plastic bottle.

As I hand it to him, my hand brushes momentarily against his, and I suddenly remember a quote by Mary Kay Ash, “Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’

I smile at him. He smiles back and whispers, “Danke.”

I don’t know if I made him feel important. But I made sure that he knew that I saw him.

It’s the least we can do for each other.

Human to human. I see you. Solidarity.

It’s a shame we’re just so choosy about who we see, isn’t it?

Over and out,

Liz xo

By | 2017-07-26T06:41:09+00:00 26 July 2017|

The wisdom of baby birds.

There’s a tiny blue birdhouse nailed to the giant cherry tree in my garden.

Inside it live a family of sparrows.

I watch from my office window as the sparrow parents work tirelessly all day long, constantly feeding their babies all sorts of insects.

I stood under the birdhouse yesterday and noticed that the baby sparrows have started to perch perilously close to the tiny, round hole that their parents fly in and out of.

I’ve seen this before.

Last summer, I watched some baby sparrows in the same bird house do this too.

It means that they’re getting ready to fledge.

They start to peek out of the tiny, round hole at the world outside. It must be mind-blowing for them. Imagine!

One day, in the not so distant future, the baby sparrows will leave the bird house.

They’ll jump from it, not fly, landing on the ground below, hopping to a nearby bush or some other kind of safe shelter, where their parents will continue feeding them. I read an article about it and learned that fledgling baby birds, once they’ve left the nest, spend 2-3 days on the ground before they learn to fly.

2-3 days of danger.

Especially when there’s a cat close-by.

My cat.

Who sits directly underneath the bird house.

Waiting.

Ready to pounce.

I don’t know if the baby birds know that my cat is waiting.

They don’t seem to?

I guess they are somehow wired to leave the nest, whether my cat, or any other sign of danger, is there or not.

It doesn’t seem to occur to them to stay in the nest.

It’s interesting, isn’t it?

Because as humans, it occurs to us to do the opposite.

We stay in the safety of what we know; in our version of the nest, and there’s no fucking way we’ll jump.

Even though, unlike the baby sparrows, there isn’t any danger lurking below.

Not real danger anyway—danger like the strong, crushing jaws and teeth of my cat.

No.

Our ‘danger’ is different.

It lurks not on the ground below, but in the corners of our minds.

And it looks like fear: Of failure. Of fucking everything up. Of getting it wrong. Of being disappointed. Of not doing it perfectly. Of it not working out exactly like it should. Of uncertainty and not knowing. Of being different than everyone else. Of being judged. Of being mocked. Of whispers of “I told you so.” Of  losing money. Of losing people. Of not being able to cope. Of not being seen to be coping. Of being found out…… And all the other wild and terrifying thoughts that race through our heads the moment we even consider peeking out of the tiny, round hole at the world outside our minds, outside our own version of our safe nest, and take it all in.

So we don’t look.

We don’t give it a go.

We stay where we are.

We don’t jump.

We fret: “Maybe I should?” “Maybe I shouldn’t.” “What if?” “How will I know everything will be ok?” “What if it all goes wrong?” “How will I cope?”

It’s funny, isn’t it? Because the baby birds don’t fret about whether to jump or not.

They just jump.

By | 2017-06-26T08:44:28+00:00 26 June 2017|

Are you holding it in?

I’m laying face down, arms by my side on a soft, plastic bench in my physiotherapist’s clinic.

My cheeks are squished together in the hole that’s cut out of the bench for people’s faces. I’m thinking that it would be cool if there was a television or something on the floor, directly underneath the face hole, so that I could watch a movie, like they have at my dentist, only there, the television is on the ceiling.

“OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”My thoughts about the cool television idea are cut short by the steely thumbs of my physiotherapist as she digs them into my shoulder. I writhe in pain. “OWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” I shout again, and she releases the pressure just slightly.

She bends down to my ear level so I can hear her and half whispers, half chuckles “Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! The people in the waiting room will be able to hear you. It’s not good marketing!”

She’s joking. But seconds later, when she digs her thumb in my shoulder again, I stay silent. It hurts. It’s not a sharp, intolerable kind of pain, but the deep, knotty, trigger kind of pain of a tight muscle. I squeeze my eyes shut and grimace. My head hurts from clenching my jaw so much. I want it to be over. The clock says 8.24am. 6 more minutes and then I’m out of here. She gets back to work, steel thumbs at the ready. Ugh. There’s the pain again.

Still I stay silent. Because she told me to be quiet. And even though she was just joking, something in me, deep, deep down, recognises that it’s easier and more comfortable, for her, and for the people in the waiting room, if I do not show my pain.

And we all do it, don’t we?

We’ve been conditioned to not make a noise, to not make a fuss, to dial back what we’re really feeling so that we don’t make other people feel uncomfortable and awkward. Stiff upper lip and all that.

I often wonder where our feelings go when we push them down and away, when we don’t express them.

Mine hang around my shoulders, I’m pretty sure of it. Years and years of being okay but not really okay, putting on an act and ‘shouldering’ the death of my mum is probably the reason why I am having physiotherapy now, 18 years later, on my shoulders.

I asked a client once—who shared with me that she’d never fully grieved the loss of a much-loved family member—exactly where the grief is, if she’s never expressed it.”

“Two extra, can’t-shift-them stones around my belly.” She replied. That’s where the grief is.”

Another client recently admitted that the half bottle of red wine a night she necks is her way of checking out of the distress and frustration she feels about her ailing marriage. “I can’t talk to my husband anymore, Liz. I can’t tell him what’s going on inside, I’m scared he’ll leave me if I do.”

Red wine it is then.

And it might not be red wine for you. But it’ll be something, I know it. We all have our way of checking out. Why do you think Facebook is so popular? Yeah, keeping in touch with people you went to school with over 25 years ago is great and fascinating and all, but really? Facebook is actually so popular because most people are addicted to it. The incessant scrolling soothes with a gentle, warming dopamine rush to the brain, ahhhhhhh. Do you know how many times I’ve checked Facebook while writing this? At least 10 times. Why? Because writing is hard and painful.

Life is also hard and painful. And good and beautiful. And hard and painful again. Sometimes all in one day.

And yet most of us don’t talk about the hard, painful bits.

We just talk about the good and beautiful bits (check out people’s Facebook pages full of photos of their amazing, #blessed holidays and sickeningly perfect homemade fucking salads). The evidence is right there.

No-one wants to see a miserable, we-want-to-go-home holiday photo, do they? No-one wants to see a shitty, thrown-together limp salad photo, do they?

Or do they?

I think, secretly, or not so secretly, we actually do.

Because it’s a relief to know that most of the time, no-one has their shit together, shitty holidays and salads included.

And it’s also a relief to know that life is hard and painful for other people too.

My private Facebook group is testament to this. The thoughtful, kind and welcoming humans who write and lurk there are honest and say it as it is and get real about what’s really going on in their lives. And there’s always someone who writes back and says “That fucking sucks, but we’re with you, friend.” or “Man, that happened to me too, how are you doing?” There’s no holding pain in over there.

They let it out.

And so will I.

Next week when I return for another physio appointment, if it hurts, I’m going to yell.

Fuck being quiet. On the physiotherapist’s bench (that should really have a television underneath it) and in LIFE.

Over and out,

Liz xo

By | 2017-06-13T14:04:58+00:00 13 June 2017|