I can’t even remember what drew me to Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed but I’m rather surprised I hadn’t come across it before now. Within the first couple chapters, I just kept thinking that this was a memoir form of everything Brene Brown talks about in Daring Greatly. How could I not love it?
There were about a dozen quotes I picked out but I couldn’t figure out how to connect them or how to articulate what I really took from the book. Then yesterday as I was leaving work, it dawned on me: just show up.
Although it’s not overly optimistic or particularly moving, this is the one quote I kept thinking back to (in part because the sisters are two of my In Case of Emergencies, as is the case for the author):
I learned that in these disasters, all we can do is tell our In Case of Emergencies that their grief is real, and if it lasts forever, then we will grieve with them forever. As fas as I was able to tell during those two years, there was nothing else worth saying. It was not going to be all right, ever. Everything doesn’t happen for a decent reason. I was Sister’s In Case of Emergency and I couldn’t fix her emergency. (pg. 43)
I love that. Absolutely love that. Despite my love for the written word and life chats, I never know what to say when someone is grieving or having a meltdown or panicking. But I can show up.
In my own experience, that in itself makes a world of difference. My In Case of Emergencies (and it goes beyond the sisters) deserve medals for the second half of last year. The little sent a Hot Box cookie delivery to Lindsay’s, who let me crash with her for a few days. The librarian showed up with plates for me to smash my anger away after another job rejection. They didn’t offer words of wisdom or advice or start bashing/lamenting my situation. They were just there, letting me grieve and be pissed off at the world.
That’s all we can really do in life — be there for one another, particularly in our vulnerable moments. In some ways, that’s what my blog does for me as well. Even if I don’t get into specifics or details, it helps me embrace all the parts of me and realize that navigating this twenty-something life isn’t easy for anyone. It’s something the author and I seem to have in common.
I mostly love writing. It serves me, heals me, and satisfies the creative cat constantly clawing at my insides, trying to get out. It helps me make sense of things and holds me accountable to myself. (pg. 193)
Making sense of things and holding myself accountable is also how I show up for myself. Life isn’t always easy, but I love that this author has a fierce determination to showcase her true self and not let the world break her. It’s actually something I hope to emulate. She reminds readers that although life is hard and scary, it’s also beautiful. And what I particularly liked is that she didn’t try to convince people to be zen or in the present to notice the beauty like so many authors and articles tend to do. In fact, I found myself relating more to her sentiment toward the whole carpe diem approach to life:
But I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This carpe diem message makes me paranoid and panicky. … Being told, in a million different ways, to carpe diem makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of profound gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong. (pg. 111)
My hope in navigating the good life is to show up, to do my little part to make the world slightly better for others and to let people be there for me. I also want to show up for myself. Whether I’m having a moment of that profound gratitude or a moment where nothing seems to be going right, I’ll feel slightly better knowing that I’m not experiencing it alone.