Life Events, Stress and the Color Purple

 

My favorite color has always been blue. It is calming, and peaceful. The color of the sky, and the ocean. Of heaven. I love it.

But for today, I am purple. Purple is the combination of blue and red. Blue is tranquility and calm, depth and stability. Again, I love it. Red is a stronger color. It is energy and danger and strength and power. I am purple today. Here’s why. My default is love, and kindness and minimal conflict. But, damn, there are some hard things going on in my life. Things that make me angry and really sad. So I call upon my inner red. I am strength. I am the power I need to deploy in order to survive. In combination of peace and strength, call me purple!
For me, this self-reflection is a soul-searching mental cognizance which seems to happen on its own time. So, it makes sense to go with it. To feel the feelings, and think the thoughts when they happen. And to ask myself questions, and to search for answers. (And it gives me fodder to discuss with my therapist — as if there weren’t enough drama I bring to the chair!)

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Johnny jump-ups, in my flower bed

There are some truths that I notice are rising to the top of my introspection. First and foremost, I am a transformed woman. It is amazing to me how deeply the passage of time — be it lengthy or brief — and life events — be they monumental or insignificant — can truly shape who we are. Indeed, it is not simply the time or the events that shape us. It is the working of a much larger power, strategically intervening in our lives. Placing certain people in our paths. And offering up events which jolt us into seeking what matters most. Furthermore, we need have open hearts to be able to first recognize, and secondly to grow from these instances.

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I LOVE the strong scent of hyacinths. They remind me of Easter. And my childhood.

There have been some BIG events/changes that have occurred in my life over the past year or so. I was remembering from my university days a psychological inventory which assigned a weight to life events/changes and churned out a “stress score.” This Stress Inventory was created in 1967 by psychiatrists Holmes and Rahe as a way of determining whether stress might contribute to illness. Each event carried a different weight for stress. The more events checked off, the higher the score. The higher the score, the more likely one was to become ill. So, just for giggles, I recently completed an online version of this particular Stress Inventory.

My score was 306 — High or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

Well. Okay, then.

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Not sure what these are — pretty little things in my flower bed! ❤

I suppose this validates why I have been often feeling anywhere from a little sideways to suffocating in a swirly hell. But, honestly, I already know this. I am well aware that I have been experiencing significant life-changing events. Here are a few changes in my life just within the past year.

I started a new full-time job after being home with my littles for nine years. And although my work is completely rewarding, laboring daily alongside women co-workers in a special needs classroom is not without its challenges.

I moved. To a bigger, nicer apartment. But a move is a move, nevertheless. Ugh …

My sweet step-brother, not yet 20 years old, died of a drug overdose.

Then a month later, there came devastating news about my dad’s health. He had been experiencing trouble lifting his arms for some time, and I noticed some speech difficulties. Well. He has ALS (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Trying to process and deal with this is the worst thing I have known in my life. I am trying to handle it, to “be positive” for him. Oh. My. God. Some days I’m good. Sometimes I wake up in the dark, crying, feeling like I was punched in the throat.

There is also my ongoing divorce from hell. The only thing worse than being married to a narcissist is trying to divorce one. I am finding that out.

Yeah. There are stressful events/changes in my life. For sure.

What keeps me strong? Realizing that love heals. And realizing that my family and my Brian and my friends DO LOVE me, with all my imperfections and mistakes. Also, coming to understand that more people admire me than judge me — that helps me stay focused and strong. I still go to counseling, and I do a lot of gratitude self-talk. Sometimes I have to stop and remember, and give myself some grace, and be a little more patient and nice with myself along the healing road. 

So, today I am purple. I default to the blue of love and kindness, but I am trusting those who love and care about me so that I increase the red strength I need to carry on.

Call me purple!

Can I encourage you, too? I know (and you know) there is a lot on your plate. Be kind to yourself and recount — on paper is best — your wonderfulness regularly. Reach out to those who love you. They DO love you, you know, even though you make mistakes and stumble through life. And, above all, give yourself grace to move through life and process your thoughts and feelings at your own pace. It’s okay. You’re okay. ❤

 

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