In the storied flurry that was my late teens, I had a girl friend who got stuck in a K-hole. For the uninitiated, a k-hole can result from taking Ketamine, a prescription drug meant for anesthesia but used recreationally for sedating fun (eek). She related to me afterward that, for several hours, while everyone else simply saw her sitting on a couch unmoving, unresponsive to the world, she was locked inside her head. She was trapped in a box on the side of a hill. She was terrified, screaming, clawing her way out. (Don’t do drugs, kids.)
When, yesterday, I shared my blog “A Teacher’s Prayer” with some select folks at work, I swandove headfirst into that box! I compulsively refreshed my email while spiraling down into thoughts of: Oh g-d, why did I do that. It’s not good, they won’t relate, no one will reply, I should have kept it to myself. It’s too vulnerable, too honest to share. This is work, what were you thinking?!
“You did a dumb thing,” in essence.
Then, finally, I stood up from my laptop, walked out of my kitchen, and began to talk to myself (occasionally aloud!):
Molly, you’re a good writer. Molly, who cares what they think of it—it’s important to you. Molly, you’re a 36-year old woman with a wealth of experience, and you’re on your way to a date. You are a writer, singer, friend, teacher, human. You are more than one emailed blog post! Let it go.
Be in what’s happening right now. You are not locked in a box on a hill with your negative swirling thoughts. Don’t be an asshole to yourself. Jeez.
And, so I did what I was taught: The next right thing.
The next right thing was to text my Goals Group ladies that I was feeling super vulnerable. The next right thing was to shower, get dressed, and get out of the house.
Further, when I returned from the date and only two emails had come through, I booked a workout class for 20 minutes from then. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD! Move your body to move your emotions!
Vul-Hole, you bugger.
Because here’s the final result: 6 hours after I emailed out that blog, my “big boss” replied to thank me deeply for my words … and then asked if I’d read it at today’s staff meeting.
Are you sh*tting me?!
The ultimate lesson however needs to have nothing to do with the result. The fact that my boss, and several of the other faculty, emailed me to say they really appreciated my words has nothing to do with how I felt about it.
The true lesson here is about how I treat, and treated, myself while I was in a Vul-Hole.
Phase One: Feel elated, and kinda proud, at the courage it took to send it.
Phase Two: Feel deflated and self-immolating at what I’m now calling hubris, not courage.
Phase Three: BE IN MY DAY. Don’t get mad/sad — Get Moving!
Phase Four: Come back to my self. Remember I’m a whole person with ups and downs, and that this event is one microscopic stitch in the tapestry of Time.
Phase Five: Feel pretty damn proud of myself for getting out of the Vul-Hole and acknowledge that my ability to do that is more than any accolades, likes, or dates could ever offer.