Thanks For Nothing || MY STORY

[...] the process of regaining our emotional footing in the midst of struggle is where courage is tested and our values are forged.

- Brené Brown

I’ll be the first to admit 2017 has been one of the most challenging years of my life. If you were to ask some of my closest friends and relatives to compare the “2016 version of me” and the “2017 version of me”, I am almost certain most of them would say the transformation is very noticeable, if not blatantly obvious. Challenges and obstacles are a pain in the a**, there’s no doubt about it. I am not even going to try and convince you otherwise. I would be lying through my teeth if I said I got through it all, scot-free. Heck, I am still rumbling through it, as we speak.

I spent some time in Calgary with my family over the weekend and as I was roaming around the airport terminal, killing time before my flight, I walked into one of those convenience stores, you know, with tacky souvenirs. I instinctively headed towards the back of the store to peruse their book selection. I am not sure why, to be honest. I haven’t read a book in months, which is strange because I used to read all the time. I was in a d*mn book club, for crying out loud.

You see – the “2017 version of me” has not been very much into reading. In fact, I’ve been avoiding it at every turn. My logic behind it: reading means I am forced to quiet my brain, enough to focus on what I am reading. But the very thought of “quieting” my brain has been quite overwhelming, scary even. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reasoning behind it… until now. I was browsing the impressive fiction and non-fiction selection when my eyes gravitated to a book called “Rising Strong”, by Brené Brown.

My heart stopped. The noise, you know that typical airport commotion, went silent. I stood there. Reading and re-reading the title: “Rising Strong”. I had heard those words before. On Thursday April 13th, 2017… to be exact. Strangely precise, right? I remember those words echoing around me; I remember the way the room was lit; I remember the smell; I remember clutching a damp tissue deep into my fist; I remember looking at this short-haired woman sitting in front of me, thinking: “You've got to be kidding me. You’re no f*cking help.”

I know what you’re thinking. Rude, Max! But as foulmouthed as it may seem, I was thinking those exact words because I was hurting. I was hopelessly pining for a solution. I was neck-deep into my third session with my therapist, desperate for an answer that would make all of this pain end, once and for all. Unfortunately for me, that’s not how grief and struggle work.

She sat there and told me about this book and how it could perhaps guide me in discovering a new perspective about vulnerability and hurt. A f*cking book? Cool, thanks for nothing, lady. I walked out of her office, furious. I slammed the door and never looked back.

I am a creature of pattern, you see. I meet a guy. I fall head over heels. He breaks my heart. I find myself tucked away in an office somewhere, crying in front of shrink. I’ve repeated the exact same formula three-times over now. So, as you can imagine, this seemingly harmless book sucked the life out of me. But for some reason, my hand reached out for it, I walked over to the register and I paid for it.

As I flipped through the first couple of pages, I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into. All of a sudden, BAM! A string of words read as such: “It’s seductive to think that not talking about our pain is the safest way to keep it from defining us, but ultimately the avoidance takes over our lives.”1 Holy f*cking shit. What was this sorcery? Like actually. I was avoiding my therapist; I was avoiding reading books; I was avoiding THIS book (and a handful of other sh*t). Why? Because it all f*cking sucked! Just thinking about it hurt, and I somehow figured if I avoided any and all of those factors, I would be ok. Boy, was I f*cking wrong.

"We disengage to self-protect.”2 Plain and simple. Yet, I am determined to design a bad*ss collection of unrefined greeting cards that will not only defy the traditional, cookie-cutter "happy greeting" model, but ones that will ultimately spark conversations about vulnerability, resentment, grief, shame, etc. So if the first step to making this vision come to life is facing my own demons...

Bring it.


[1] RISING STRONG by Brené Brown | Paperback | April 4, 2017

[2] RISING STRONG by Brené Brown | Paperback | April 4, 2017

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