Climbing out of the Rabbit Hole

It all started with a partial tear in my ab, as in my abdominus rectus. Yes, it’s a real thing. Don’t laugh, it hurts like hell! Plus it makes my stomach swollen which in turn makes me look (and feel) bloated which in turn makes me want to turn to physical activity, which I can’t partake in for at least 2-6 weeks per doctor orders.

This unsolicited hiatus leaves me with a lot more time to analyze other things, things that are completely irrelevant and not important, yet when I’m feeling bad I tend to wane in the direction of philosophical on things that just do NOT matter. Things like my skin and the increase in wrinkles, and the new gray hairs that have sprouted up on my head, and my pimples I cannot seem to shake although I’m a full fledged adult...you get where I’m going with this. Deep down into the rabbit hole. The place no one should ever venture.

My friend once told me a great analogy which is that women have spaghetti brains and men have waffle brains. Women think about 100 million things at once, always focusing on multiple topics. Men on the other hand think about one thing at a time, like syrup their thoughts have to fill one waffle square to move onto the next waffle square. I took this analogy as a compliment since it reflects things I have noticed, such as the fact that women tend to multitask better than men, and women are always thinking, even while at rest, unlike men who really mean it when you ask “what are you thinking about” and they reply “nothing”. Anyway, I digress. So there I am, deep in the depths of my spaghetti brain and next thing you know the cops are at my door because there was a noise complaint called in for my pity party of one. Which involved me, my couch, and a bottle of wine.

As I spiraled further down, becoming more emotional and distraught over not just my ab “situation” but the status of everything in my life overall, my boyfriend provided me with a much needed reality check. As women, we are held to incredibly high standards, both by ourselves and society. We put everything on our plates and expect ourselves to handle it-ALL of it. Which might lead to some overachieving tendencies, some Type-A characteristics creeping out, or some self-loathing from time to time when we turn out to be a human, and not a robot superhero.

While my rabbit hole journeys are few and far between, I know I am not alone in taking self-deprecating thought journeys. As a woman, I’m going to step out on a limb here and say that overall, as a gender we women are too hard on ourselves. We judge ourselves more harshly than anyone else might, and we are the creators of our own demise by questioning our worth, or even worse, valuing our worth by things like our physical appearance. Putting value into things that have no impact on life overall, or happiness, is not only unhelpful, but often hurtful.

While everyone has their own way to dig out of the rabbit hole, I have to say that I am incredibly grateful to have a partner who is helpful at digging me out of my self created spiral. Not only does he remind me that bodies are just our vessels which carry us through experiences, but he also helps me put things back into perspective by reminding me of the things I actually care about, which in turn helps me realize why I need to cut myself some slack, but also immediately terminate the raging pity party inside my head. So I can’t practice yoga for 2 months, so I might be feeling uncomfortable-literally-in my own skin at the moment. This is temporary. There are legitimate problems in the world worth dwelling on, and my partially torn ab isn’t one of them.

It is times like these, when I creep my way back into the light that I am reminded of how easy it is to fall into self deprecating thoughts, how they are often lurking so close under the surface. Yet, these thoughts not only hinder self-growth, they also perpetuate many of the things I staunchly oppose-such as putting emphasis on physical value over mental value. So, for tonight at least, I have promised to shut down the pity party. The wine however, is staying!

About the Author 

Heather is a licensed California attorney who works as an Executive Director running a nonprofit to help those experiencing homelessness. She is also a certified yoga instructor, avid reader, beer snob, and coffee connoisseur.

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