Everybody’s free to feel good
Brother and sister together we’ll make it through
Someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you’ve been hurting
I’ve been waiting to be there for you
And I’ll be there, just helping you out, whenever I can
I love this song from the soundtrack of the Romeo and Juliet. Not the original, nor the new version, but the near and dear to my heart 90’s rendering with Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio. There’s something about the timeless Shakespearean dialogue set against the modern backdrop that makes it more relevant and accessible. Or perhaps it’s the nostalgia of recalling seeing this movie for the first time, and knowing how young and carefree we were.
Recently, I’ve really needed to remember these words, free to feel good. The combination of an uncertain schedule, too much work, and the winter sky being more often gray than not, have left me in a serious funk. Add to that a cold that refuses to desist, and I find myself wanting to huddle under blankets with a good book.
After weeks of patiently plodding through it, I naturally turn to Girl Scout cookies for solitude, but alas, I ate them all, and the funk still persists.
With some introspection, I understand I’m wallowing a bit. I often feel my time is not my own, and certainly, there’s not enough of it to reach the end of my to-do list. I work diligently, and most days find I accomplish quite a bit, yet still, I can’t seem to get ahead of the current. It’s as if I am bobbing in a sea, a cross-current of paperwork, projects, and requests. Imagining slicing through clear water with crisp, clean strokes is a glorifying feeling. Most days I merely tread water in the murky depths, rather more frantic than graceful.
While, not being able to get abreast of my list is disappointing, it does not need to be disheartening, or worse, diminishing.
People can’t make you feel inferior without your permission.
I always disliked this line about not feeling inferior, in that eye-rolling, sing-song way, of We love you Miss Hannagan. It’s a true statement, but it’s not very helpful.
Similarly, early in my career, a mentor told me I needed to be like a duck relative to receiving feedback from an unhelpful colleague; to just let go, and allow the water to cascade off my back. But, I had not, and still haven’t, an idea of how to do this. The very laws of physics defy that water when poured, shall surely cling.
Some people seem to be born with natural proclivity to go on, unaffected by the words and opinions of others. I rather envy them this. But, perhaps in re-framing it, it is a teachable skill after all. For free to feel good, is something else entirely different.
It reminds me I am free to feel good, regardless of what’s happening around me. I’m free to take the deepest breath, even in tense moments. I’m free to be proud of my work even when there’s more to do. I’m free to say no when I need to, and to hush that inner voice that says it’s not good enough. I’m free to give my kids all the love I can. I’m free to decide not to log on again tonight.
And with this in my mind, I close my computer. I take the kids to the park on a surprisingly warm February day. They shriek and holler, and invite me to join them climbing the castle. We man the boat, blasting the canon at our enemies. Finally we dock and go on a proper pirate hunt for buried treasure.
We cross the bridge gazing at tall cattails in the marshy stream. The water is still and cold, barely moving beneath the bridge. Birds call in the distance. Around the bend, we meet a cardinal drinking at the pond’s edge. Down the path, the woods deepen, seeming to envelope us in a secure embrace. The kids gather acorns, rocks, and twigs as pirate booty. Crossing the wooden bridge, our feet make clumping sounds that echo across the glade. Busy squirrels look up to see who’s interrupted their foraging. To soon, the outside world calls, and we turn to head home for lunch and hot chocolate.
This may just be what’s needed to bust my funk. And in case it’s not, can someone please send a Girl Scout to my house with more cookies?