Feeling Bad? Good!

February 22, 2022

I have a confession to make.

I’ve been wallowing.

Such an interesting verb, isn’t it?

To wallow. I wallow. He/she/it wallows. We wallow.

Wallow definition feeling bad? Good!

To wallow is to indulge in something (ie. wallowing in luxury). Who wouldn’t want to do that?

But what if we’re wallowing in self-pity or sadness or feelings of futility?

Who would do that kind of wallowing?

I have another confession to make, as long as I’m doing the whole confession thing here…

I don’t always practice what I preach. Take what happened following my visit to urgent care back in December…

Urgent care feeling bad? Good!

In the 48 hours following the ski injury that resulted in a complete tear of my ACL and sidelined me from nearly all of my family winter vacation, I posted a photo and an inspirational message about making the best of the situation and coming back stronger.

And I got kudos for doing so. For setting a good example! For my positivity and perseverance! For seeing the bright side of things!

What you should know is that I was lying. Well, kinda, anyway. I was certainly lying – laying – around, not really able to go anywhere with a giant brace on my leg. And lying to myself about how I felt.

Ski brace feeling bad? Good!

I was trying to convince myself of the bright side. I was writing to push myself into a more positive side.

Because what I was mostly doing was wallowing.

Not in luxury but in self-pity.

Hello, Pity Party of One? Here’s your table and it’s next to this gas fireplace that keeps sputtering out in this rather cold and decidedly dated ski condo that’s on the 3rd floor with no elevator so any thought of coming and going with your leg brace and ski crutches is going to take some more thought and effort than it’s probably worth.

It was not a pretty place to be.

Pig wallowing feeling bad? Good!

I Was Wallowing Like This Pig Wallows In The Mud

I told my family I didn’t want to hold them back or get in the way of their fun. I asked them to send me photos of their day on the slopes. And then I seethed silently when I received them and sobbed about eating leftover Chinese food in the sad, cold condo while they spent way too much money on a burger and fries at the mid-mountain lodge.

I felt invisible yet in my posts and in my actions I hid.

I often wonder why it’s so easy for me to coach others and give out neutral, objective advice that gets clients out of a rut and then be COMPLETELY UNABLE to take my own advice.

So I wallowed for a bit.

Outwardly I posted positive thoughts, told family and friends I’d be fine – this was just a minor setback – and tried to keep things as normal as possible. I even crutched my way to the supermarket to buy chips for my family’s apres-ski and did their laundry.

Nothing to see here! Everything’s fine! I’M FINE!

But inwardly, I struggled. Felt sorry for myself.

So I napped. Watched all three seasons of Succession. Ate a lot of cheese.

Which was surprisingly effective.

Hello, doctor. I’m suffering from general malaise and disappointment in life, what can I do? I recommend a 3-day dose of napping, 3 seasons of Succession, and a giant wheel of Brie. Call me if symptoms don’t improve.

My symptoms improved. Besides the Brie, it just took time.

I also got out one evening and bought a bunch of humorous socks at a store called “Joy of Sox.” This pair, in particular, spoke to me:

Socks feeling bad? Good!

“I’ll get over it. I just need to be dramatic first.”

Those socks fit me to a T.

I decided that at some point I would write the real story – not the optimistic-can’t-let-life-get-you-down version appropriate for social media – but the sucky, sulky, sad one.

The injury sucked. The upcoming surgery and physical therapy for recovery will suck too.

It’ll be OK to wallow for a bit in the suckiness of it all.

Eventually, it will come to an end. The knee will be fully functional again. I’ll bust out of the dated condo and get back on the slopes (this is somewhat metaphorical, we checked out and flew home many weeks ago).

This is all my way of saying that it’s OK to not be OK.

Check on your strong friend. Check on yourself if you’re the strong friend.

I know so many people who need better boundaries, a sprinkle of confidence, or to walk away from something that’s no longer working.

We don’t always have to pretend everything is fine because we’re worried other people won’t be fine if we admit that we’re not.

Wallow if you need to.

And when you’re ready to get out of the muck of the suck and back to the mountain, it’ll be waiting for you.

You might even find the perfect pair of socks to wear when you do.

Socks wearing feeling bad? Good!
Valerie Gordon is a lifelong storyteller, an Emmy-winning producer, and the founder of career and communications strategy firm The Storytelling Strategist.  Her book, “Fire Your Narrator! A Storyteller’s Guide to Getting Out of Your Head and Into Your Life” is snarky self-help for those who need to rewrite their inner stories. These are her socks.




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