03 Apr Fake It Until You Make It – My Motto in Times of Grief and Exhaustion
Do you stop to “listen” to the little blessings all around you? I try to pay attention. Sometimes it is as simple as getting ready to write a blog on grief through COVID-19 and finding a blank document I had saved with the title “Fake It Until You Make It”. Wow. What a perfect title. It is my mantra. When I wrote this title to “hold that thought” I did not know I would be using it for something none of us saw coming. But, it is perfect. Well, I added to it, but I’ll take it. Here is my reminder to myself – fake it until you make it, Kim. Fake it.
How are all of you doing? I keep repeating 2 phrases – 1) My emotions are following the stages of grief 2) I never realized how much work no work is.
I googled the 5 stages of grief and skipped past the number one “hit”. (Although I linked it above.) I found this article: Why the Five Stages of Grief Are Wrong. Well, that peaked my interest. Ultimately, the author isn’t saying they are completely wrong, just that they are individualized and personal. That is definitely something I can get behind.
Stage 1: Denial
Probably goes without saying that denial has been a part of this process. I think denial feeds hope. Schools are only closed until…………the military won’t stop their training……..people are still getting married………….Each hope dashed with a new day and new information. Denial becomes impossible when reality hits.
Stage 2: Anger
Whoa boy. Watch out for this one. I have had some intense anger issues. I feel for the poor sales rep calling me to sell me their product during this time. Logically, I know they are just doing their job, but emotionally – if you are selling – shouldn’t you know your client and their business for crying out loud?! Then, my poor phone. For those times when I am on the receiving end of someone’s anger. Phew. I keep it together until I hang up. See, this is where some of our young folk won’t know the pure joy of slamming a phone down. We still have desk phones at the office. I am grateful. And, I did have a talk with my 9 year old that the language mom and dad are using during this time is not okay and not to be modeled.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Ya. I’m not much of a bargainer. My husband closes the deals on vehicle purchases, not me. He is our bargaining agent. So, this is one stage I skip. It’s not for me. I bet for some of you it is strong and alive. Have you recognized it?
Stage 4: Depression
This is where faking it becomes so important. I have been sad. There is a great loss. It is different from the loss I felt when my brother died, though. I didn’t realize it until the feeling left me, but I was going through the days then with the feeling of an X-Ray blanket over me. I don’t have that level of grief here. I do have tears, I do have why am I even???? thoughts. So, what do I do? I forgive myself for not doing everything I normally do, but I still do something. Maybe it is ½ my exercise routine. Maybe it is wearing jeans and subtle lipstick – not my kick a@$ color called “Shame” with heels. I still work. Maybe it is at 60% instead of 110%. But, it is something. I fake it. I fake it because I KNOW I will make it.
Stage 5: Acceptance
Acceptance has been present at other stages, too. Angry – I accept it. A fire is lit and I let it burn productively. Depression – I let the emotions work in me to be more empathetic, understanding, slowing down to fully appreciate what is happening around me – to look for the sunshine moments. I am a realist, too. So, by having acceptance I can create a plan that will get me beyond this moment in time. It is a moment, you know. In 5 years, this will seem very different. And, because I have acceptance – no work has become a lot of work.
I do think acceptance is easier for me because I have lived life and have faith. I have had great disappointments and come out better. Through all of this my faith tells me that it may not be my plan, but there is still a plan. I just have to fake it until I make it to see what new future unfolds.
My prayer for you is that you recognize your grief. Accept the emotional state you are in today, know that it will pass, and fake it until you make it.