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In the Arena

From last year's post - Can you Handle the Arena?

- September 27, 2020

Hey Party People,

2020, what a year ammi right? 2021... better or worst? All depends on your perspective and personal journey doesn't it?

I truly don’t even know if there are words to describe the emotional upheaval and challenge of this year to date. As always though I refuse to let 2020 win. I refuse to let naysayers get to me. I refuse to let anyone or anything keep me down. I have too much to be grateful for to wallow in the gutters.

What I’ve noticed lately though peeps is that my highs and lows are drastic. The peaks and valleys of my mood are extreme. Like I’m not talking the Rockies and the Foothills lately guys, I’m talking the Himalayans and the Shivaliks (the Indian equivalent for the foothills). What I mean by this is that my highs have me feeling elated and fulfilled, but my lows have me strugggggglin’ deep in the gutters of self-doubt and overwhelm.

It’s been hard for me to juggle and balance these swings of emotion because that’s not what I qualify as normal for myself. Either I’ve been incredibly good at managing my emotions in the past or I’ve never been challenged like this before. For example, I was just talking to my mama this week and told her I have never felt the level of overwhelm or anxiety I felt in the first two weeks of September this year – I think I cried 3x. What’s got me shook is that when I look back at 2019 it would seem I had even more going on and I never reached the point I had earlier this month. Why?

Well, some pieces are obvious – we’re living in a global pandemic with ALL kinds of challenges, uncertainty, and changes to our daily lives. After 6 months of this I think sometimes I forget how this virus continues to impact my life and challenge me in big and small ways. Second, the ugly inequalities of our world are around every corner, and since my Unveiling, I am constantly upset at the world and myself for not seeing it before. Finally, I’ve come to realize that I’ve entered a different arena. For those of you not familiar with Brene Brown’s work, she talks about "the arena" as a place where we confront our vulnerabilities and fears. She refers to it in many many of her books and it revolves around this famous quote.

“ It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt