Nourishing Koalas

*This is a departure from my normal fashionista blogging. If it’s not your thing, feel free to skip it! We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled fashioning very very soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Nourishing) Koalas. It’s my 2015 phrase.

I didn’t think a word was going to find me for 2015. I haven’t been in an excavatory mood. Not called to write, reflect, look back, dig in. I figured, if a word wanted my attention that badly for 2015, it would show up and loudly proclaim “I AM HERE.” Otherwise I was planning on sticking with last year’s word.

But then a 2015 word went and showed up.

I was in yoga class – my favorite teacher, she is magical and I kinda wanna be her friend. (Can a friendship be based on overly flexible hips? She holds my lower back down during child’s pose. What better basis for friendship than grounding?)

Anyway, I’m sitting in yoga class, trying to “arrive” in my brain and I’m noticing that I’m feeling stress about a meeting I have later in the evening. It’s a long-standing, regular commitment, this thing I have to attend. Last year it really provided me with a sense of accomplishment and belonging and joy. But lately this commitment has been sour for me.

There are lots of reasons: boredom (the same issues appearing over and over, and they’re not fresh and new anymore). The same arguments that take place over and over. People are who they are, and their opinions remain fairly constant. And so I resist a lot of the work I need/should do for this commitment. I put it off. I dread it. I thumb my nose at it and scream, “You’re not the boss of me! You can’t make me!”

And then I start to feel like I’m not pulling my own weight. I start to *imagine* conversations between the other members of the team (there are four of us) about how I’m not contributing, how unreliable I am. I imagine that the three of them are better friends, that I don’t belong, that they merely put up with me. And then I really, really don’t want to do the work. And the work I do comes from a place of desperation, for the approval of others. It’s catch-up work, not actually adding any new value, not providing a sense of accomplishment, just relief. There. God. I did it already. Leave me alone.

For a while I’ve wondered if I was just burned out on this volunteer job. If it was time for a break, for someone else to take over for a while.

But, then I realized: this is not an isolated issue. I do the same exact thing in myriad situations – put something off, start to feel bad about it, stress about how people hate me for not doing the the thing (calling my grandmother, doing the dishes, cleaning the litter boxes, making appointments). And then, hello, self-loathing! And then I really really REALLY don’t want to do the thing.

So as I am sitting on my yoga mat noticing the stress, my mind flashes to an image from a hilarious video we watched last weekend with some friends called True Facts About Marsupials. And the accompanying song that plays over the credits at the end is this:

Koalas in the rain….No fucks given!

Because, yeah. Maybe the other folks ARE better friends (though this is also equally likely my paranoia). Maybe they DO wonder why I’m late to reply to emails (or fail to reply at all when it just. doesn’t. seem. necessary). But I’m still contributing! I still *volunteer* my time to co-create an entire community! And I realized that this whole situation is mostly my own personal attitude problem, a problem of me making up a whole story that likely has no real basis in reality. ย There’s no place like home.

And my dread problem totally evaporates when I remind myself:

Koalas in the rain….No fucks given!

I clearly give some fucks, because the volunteer work is still worth doing. What is NOT worth it is my obsessive need for approval, the need to be perfect, the need to be LIKED UNIVERSALLY. To never piss anyone off, let anyone down or annoy anyone. Maybe my teammates (family members, friends) are irritated with me. And you know what?

THAT’S OKAY.

This might not seem very, um, profound to many of you. But to this recovering teacher’s pet perfectionist (note: I want to be friends with my yoga TEACHER?!), the idea of not getting an A++++++ on everything I do in life is terrifying. Because what am I otherwise? Who am I without it?!

Let’s find out.

To further home in on my intended meaning, I decided to add (Nourishing) to Koalas. Because, positivity, yo.

So, (Nourishing) Koalas. It’s not about (only) detachment, it’s about making the nourishing choice to let go of what is not truly mine. To let go of the story in my head that’s tripping me up. Letting go of what is in other people’s minds. Not my responsibility. What other people think of me is none of my business. And every moment is a chance to start again, in a fresh place. Deep breaths and sing it with me:

(Nourishing) Koalas in the rain. No fucks given.

Koalas in the rain...No fucks given.

What’s your word or phrase for 2015?

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10 thoughts on “Nourishing Koalas

  1. mtsedwards says:

    O.M.G.!!!!

    Koals in the rain! That is such a catchy song – I think this is immediately going to replace “honey badger don’t care” as my new favorite animal YouTube clip.

    [still laughing…and sharing with hubs and guiltily with almost-12-year-old son]

    Seriously, I think your 2015 word is thoroughly apropos and kinda reminds me of the vow my BFF made when she turned 30 – just let go. I’d been after her for years to not take to heart what students or colleagues say – or what she thinks they say – about her. It took loads of coaching and reminding, but at the end, she said it was truly a liberating thing.

    So good luck to you and I totally offer up my services to be your coach and reminder if you want. And if being my beta has fallen under the category of don’t-wanna-do-to-the-point-of-self-loathing, please be koala about it and let me know. I totally understand. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Like

    • I will definitely take reminders of Koalas throughout the year! I love coaching.

      And I love beta-ing, but I have had some self-loathing about how freaking long it’s taken me to provide feedback for you. But i’m so enjoying it. So, if my slowness is not working for you I PROMISE not to take it personally if you need a different beta. But I’m happy to do it – and I’m feeling refreshed, having shed the self-loathing, to happily get back to it this weekend!

      Like

      • mtsedwards says:

        Well, as I told both Selah and Sarah, the longer it takes for you to get back to me, the longer I have to procrastinate. ;p Trust me, I’ve been feeling my fair share of self-loathing over this story, and that’s not a good place to be. So I’m right there with ya, lady.

        And your procrastinating actually worked in your favor because I’m currently working on even more revisions, having taken the winter break off from it and now feeling newly-minted and inspired once again. So if you wait just a bit longer, I’ll have a recent version for your reading enjoyment.

        We’re in this for the long haul if you’ll have me. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Like

  2. I love love love this! I chose a word for the first time this year and it is SOULSHINE (also inspired by a song)! I loved the process of doing this and my word is already making an impact in my life.
    I resonated so much with your words here. I don’t know if we have a lot in common or if these types of feelings are universal. I have found that studying my personality type, strengths/talents, and realizing that HSP or highly sensitive person is a real (and OKAY) has helped so much in understanding who I am and that it’s OK to be me while giving no Fucks about what others must think of it!
    I sincerely hope that your phrase brings much nourishment and joy in your life. Cheers to 2015!

    Like

    • Mandi – what a cool word, I love SOULSHINE! That’s interesting about the HSP connection – I might have to read up more on that. I know that a LOT of things clicked for me when I realized that I was an introvert – all of a sudden so many things made sense and I no longer felt bad/broken for not loving certain things (crowds, parties, etc).

      I can feel a lot of work and healing around Koalas. My history of wanting/needing to be liked/included and not making anyone mad, and therefore totally sublimating mySELF sometimes – it runs deep. But Koalas in the Rain are here to help me be me! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Happy 2015 to you, too! โค

      Like

  3. Gretchen says:

    OMG! yes, yes and yes!!! HSP and introvert and in a job that is completely, utterly, not the right job for me but all the fears around making enough money for my family and the biggest one of just admitting that I’m not good at it….holy cow, it makes for 8 months of hell on earth.

    I love how your personality and humor and candidness show up in your writing. So much fun to read. Thank you!!

    Like

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