As I mentioned in a prior post, I recently went to the local bookstore looking for books to nourish my soul and if that’s what you’re into look no further than Rachel Hollis’ book titled Girl, wash your face.
In the book, Hollis addresses common lies told to us or that we tell ourselves such as “I’m Not Good Enough” or “I Should Be Further Along by Now.” She breaks down these lies and how they are not true through clever use of anecdotal stories from her past.
In her final chapter, Hollis writes: “Girl, get ahold of your life. Stop medicating, stop hiding out, stop being afraid, stop giving away pieces of yourself, stop saying you can’t do it. Stop the negative self-talk, stop abusing your body, stop putting it off for tomorrow or Monday or next year. Stop crying about what happened and take control of what happens next. Get up, right now. Rise up from where you’ve been, scrub away the tears and the pain of yesterday, and start again…Girl, wash your face!” (Hollis 213).
A lot of this resonated with me such as to “stop putting it off for tomorrow or Monday or next year.” I have been putting off writing my memoirs for a couple years now afraid I will fail. I am afraid I cannot sit down and be motivated enough to write it out in the first place and then there is the fear that nobody will be interested or read it.
When Hollis says “Stop medicating, stop hiding out, stop being afraid…stop saying you can’t do it” it really struck a chord with me. If I am being honest with myself I have been self-medicating for awhile now with drugs and alcohol. I realized too that I have been in fact hiding out – hiding out at my parent’s house not moving forward and too scared to make moves to do so. I never fully recovered from losing my dream of finishing my Bachelor’s degree. Sure, I licked the wounds but I never really healed from them. I have carried that failure with me for what seems like a lifetime and have allowed it to affect every decision I make – whether it be not returning to school for fear “I am not smart enough” or not taking that job because I feel I will not be good enough and inevitably be fired.
Enough is enough. I need to as Hollis says “…scrub away the tears and the pain of yesterday, and start again…” and I need to do it sooner than later. Yes, I did not finish my degree due to the onset of bipolar disorder but this does not need to be the end of my story. I can not take “no” for an answer which Hollis addresses in her book. She states that “No is the Final Answer” is a lie and that we need to fight for what we want. She writes: “When it comes to your dreams, no is not an answer. The word no is not a reason to stop. Instead, think of it as a detour or a yield sign” (Hollis 58).
So I have decided the big nope that is/was my bipolar disorder should actually be viewed as a detour. A detour that led to a better understanding of life and that led to the experiences I have which make me a qualified mental health blogger and writer. Maybe I needed this detour to gain the experience needed to write that ever allusive book. Maybe my bipolar disorder was a detour in my education but will ultimately lead to me continuing it like perhaps studying psychology the second time around instead of focusing on Art History. I refuse to take no for an answer when it comes to my education or let my bipolar disorder get the final word. I have faith I will return to school one day and finish a diploma or degree program. In what? Well only time will tell.
This brings me to the final lie Hollis mentions in her book that really stuck out to me and that is that “I Should Be Further Along by Now.” I think we all fall trap to this lie in what shape or another. We constantly focus on what we want to become rather than enjoying who we are and the process of getting there.
Hollis writes “I can’t count the number of times in my life when I’ve beaten myself up because I thought my goals had expiration dates…” (Hollis 104). This more than anything stood out to me as a problem. I do the same thing. I always thought I’d have my degree by 22, a master’s by 26 and a PhD by 30. The truth is there is no expiration date on your goals and they will always be there if you continue to put in the work and effort. If you finish your degree in four years or six what does it really matter? The goal is still the same. I think I needed to be reminded of this cause I’ve been beating myself up for not finishing my degree for years. But I can now re-frame this goal and decide to accept it may not happen right now but maybe some day. If something is important to you, do not let time limits define it and decide for you when it is appropriate or not to chase it.
Overall, Girl, Wash Your Face was a treat to read and I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for some insight. It changed my perspective and the way I relate to my goals. It reminded me that I am more than capable in achieving my goals and to not let anyone or anything get in the way.
Girl, Wash Your Face!