How P!nk Changed the Conversation I Was Having With Myself Because of My Health
For Christmas, I was given two tickets to the March 5th P!nk concert. I excitedly called my friend Chris and asked her to buy a plane ticket so she could join myself and my children’s Godparents, at what was sure to be an enjoyable event. P!nk is known for putting on an incredible show.
As the date got closer, I began to have overwhelming anxiety. What if I was sick and weak on the concert day? After all, my autoimmune issues love to show up for important events. What if my friends were annoyed with me? What if my kids were angry with me for going without them? What if there was a bomb or a shooter? What if I got a headache? What if I had to pee through the whole thing?
My anxieties were making me more anxious and I began to feel shame for not being able to just enjoy the good stuff. I had great seats for a sold out show! Why was I such an ungrateful wreck?
Chris came into town and the day of the big show. We shopped. We laughed. We had great food. I battled with dizziness and nausea. My limbs were weak and achy. My boyfriend insisted on me taking a nap before the concert. As I tried to nap, all I could think about was the fact that things are so hard. I didn’t ask for multiple autoimmune diseases, paired with anxiety and depression.
I spent half an hour surrounded by pillows and shame before I finally got up and reverted to my favorite tactic: distraction. I bustled around trying to get things done as the dizziness and weakness grew. I chastised myself and told myself that I was weak and lazy. I told myself that I was worthless and didn’t even deserve to go to the show. And I did it all while wearing that fake, rehearsed smile that so many of us have become expert at producing. If you are reading this, chances are that you frequently use that smile…and might even be using it right now.
By the time we got to the arena, I felt like the sky was falling. Here I was with three of the most important people in my world, people who love me, and I had to pretend that all was well.
The concert was spectacular! P!nk has such a strong and amazing voice, even when she is spinning high above the crowd. I was delighted and entertained…and plunged into a smothering darkness.
There I sat, 45 years old, divorced, sick, financially struggling, missing out on so much of the world, chubby, feeling as though I wasn’t as beautiful as the other people, and just generally a wreck. I was steeped in feelings of unworthiness as I watched that tiny, fit, healthy, talented, wealthy, driven, joyous woman give it her all. I felt as if I had no value. I felt unworthy to be in the same room with such a successful person as I thought about the fact that getting my kids to and from school wears me out. I felt humiliated by the fact that I haven’t written the next great American novel. I felt broken by the fact that everything I do takes so much effort.
And I cried
Right there in the concert, I mourned how much I sucked.
And then she spoke.
I was in awe as I listened to this humble woman speak so tenderly about her 6-year-old daughter, who felt like she wasn’t enough. I heard the bewilderment in her voice. I thought of my own sweet, feisty daughter and remembered how badly it hurts when she questions her worth. My daughter looks just like me. I cannot refer to myself as ugly in front of her, because it would tear her down.
It occurred to me that this wasn’t any different. My lack of compassion for myself could only harm my daughter. You can only give your kids what you already have, and what I had was a whole lot of damaging.
In that moment of realization, I decided to look at things from a different angle: what do P!nk and I have in common?
Can I spin through the air or do complicated dance moves while singing? Am I seeing the world? Am I changing the lives of countless people? Do I inspire others just by stepping onto a stage? Am I thin? Am I wealthy?
No. No to all of that.
I get up every day and make the decision to try. I compete with the person I was the day before, and I usually win. It’s one thing to be hanging from a wire with technicians and support people to help you, but what about making dinner for your kids when you have to hold yourself up on the counter? What about helping friends? What about hugging someone who is sad when the lightest touch fills your body with unimaginable pain. What about never giving up?
I do all of those things every day of my life. I push myself to be better in every way. I show up. I try. I do my very best with the very little that I have. I give it my all.
So if I really need to compare myself to P!nk, I need to take into consideration the fact that we are both operating at the very edge of our abilities. We are both doing our best.
I do not know her struggles or her private pain. I know that as a human, she must have them. I do know that I cannot make myself better by comparing myself to someone I was never destined to be. I am all that I have to work with, and I must believe that I am enough.
I will probably never be healthy. I will probably hurt every day until the end of my life. I will continue to try and I will push forward because my family and I are worthy of good things. I am worthy of my own kindness and good efforts.
I will never forget that show and will continue to admire the woman who unknowingly helped me to change the conversations I have with myself.
The fact that I’m not taking the world by storm doesn’t mean that I’m not a rockstar.
Photo courtesy of P!nk’s Facebook page