Today’s blog post is entirely different than anything I’ve ever shared before (or plan on sharing again). It’s completely out of my comfort zone but I feel like we’re are all out of comfort zones right now, so what better time to write this post?
First, let me thank you all for the encouragement I’ve gotten over the past week as I’ve tried to keep the blog and Instagram operating as normal as possible. It’s been so nice hearing how the interior inspiration helps distract from this uncertain and frightening time in our lives. However, each post has left a larger pit in my stomach because let’s face it, that’s all it is- a distraction and I feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least briefly address the elephant in the room: COVID-19.
I’ve never discussed it on the blog before, but I’ve battled anxiety my entire life. It’s thankfully gotten very manageable in adulthood but when I was younger, especially in my early twenties, I still had no way to label what I felt and it clouded all of my decisions. I would worry about small, insignificant things, imaging the worst case scenario to the point that I’d get myself in a panic. One day I exasperated someone I had once highly regarded to the point that it caused them to say with a tinge of disgust “How are you ever going to be able to function in real life?” It may not sound like a big deal but it’s funny the things that brand themselves in our minds. Clearly these were cruel and untrue words, but I ended up carrying them on my heart and they became part of my inner dialogue for years. Every major road block, every extremely anxious moment, I would hear that phrase of doubt and disgust repeat in my head until I actually started to believe it. How am I going to get through this? What if I can’t function? What’s wrong with me?
It wasn’t until nearly a year ago after our two year struggle to have a third child that my anxiety reared it’s ugly head again, full force. I was silently grieving multiple early miscarriages, taking countless fertility drugs, blogging full time while also being a full time stay at home mom to two young kids, and feeling an overwhelming amount of guilt for not being more emotionally present with my family. Finally, I sheepishly told Mr. Soph-isticated about those negative little words that were creeping into my mind again that I had never told him about, despite having been together nearly a decade. “What if it’s true?” I said. “Look at me, how am I going to be able to function and get through the rest of my life like this?” He looked surprised at first but then simply smiled, shook his head and said “because you have me. We’re going to get through it together.” And then his next words as only he could say them, suddenly vanquished my old fears in one fell swoop. “Soph,” he said, “You won’t just function, you will succeed because you’re the strongest person I know. You won’t let it win.” And you know what? He was right. You know what else? This anecdote applies to all of us today. This is an incredibly scary time, but we are going to get through it because we are stronger than we think and more supported than we know by the people that love us. We aren’t consciously aware of it on a daily basis but they are our foundation, our mirror and the hands that hold our heart.
Anxiety is a tricky enemy because it’s not reality, it’s a feeling- that’s it. It’s sneaky and can make you believe that those feelings and your fear are valid and trick you into believing a fraudlent reality. This is even truer right now and although we’re in the middle of a very frightening time, we need to step back and break it down rationally, being sure to focus on the true reality of the situation. All the science says if we listen to the experts, stay home, wash our hands and self quaratine to protect the elderly and those who have underlying health issues, we will be okay and THEY will be okay. We may suffer financially, educationally and feel as if we’re in a state of emotional whiplash, but we will be okay. As human beings we don’t do well with gray area but at the end of the day, the gray area comprises the best parts of our lives. We need to not let the fear become a reality that takes hold of our minds and in the meantime, let’s put all of our focus on our loved ones who are our support system because chances are that we are theirs as well. Make phone calls, FaceTime, write a letter!
Amongst all of the chaos, it’s led me to a fun idea. Many of you know I’ve been trying to support small business right now, so what if we combine trying to safely bring joy to our friends and families while supporting small business? I was already planning on ordering a few small surprise gifts from SMALL BUSINESSES for a few special people in my life without telling them and when writing this post I thought why not ask if you all would like to do join me? Who wouldn’t get joy from a surprise package and feel connected even though so many of are apart from friends and extended family right now? Plus we’d be helping support out economy in the process- taking a little control with all that “gray space ” that unnerves us so much.
If you’d like to join me (which I hope you do!) just send a surprise package to someone you love from a small business and share it on Instagram. You could take a screen shot of what you ordered and tag the business or share a picture your loved one sends upon receiving it…it’s up to you! I am going to create a small business section on my blog this weekend and starting Monday I’d love to include images of items you’ve ordered. Tag me @soph_isticatedstyle and the hashtag #SHOPSMALLWITHSOPHIE and I will be do the same in my stories. I can’t wait to spread some surprise joy during these anxious times.
Remember, God has a plan and he loves us more than we can ever imagine. Perhaps this is all meant to bring us closer to family and friends and remind us what really matters in these precious years we have on earth. I may be an anxious person, but I truly feel relatively calm right now and I hope you can to… because you are stronger that you know, braver than you believe and this too shall pass.