Yes, You Can Do Hard Things... But they Don't always Need to be Hard.
"I like hard things"
Is something I actually said, out loud, to my coach as we were discussing my upcoming IVF treatment. The third cycle I would have to do this year.
"Wait," she said immediately, "Rewind.. What did you just say?"
"I like hard things." I said matter of fact, "I know people don't usually say that, but I really like the feeling of doing something hard."
She looked at me and smirked.
"It sounds to me that if something is easy you feel like you don't deserve it. Is this true?"
My heart did a flip flop.
"Well.. No, I'm not saying that.." And then I paused I started to connect with what she was saying, "Oh God, that may be true."
I laid back onto the couch, my brain now mush.
"Soo," she slowly pushed "what if your pregnancy was easy.. would you deserve it less?"
I thought about that. And to be honest, I didn't know. I spent so much time thinking how hard it was going to be. Going through IVF, finding a sperm donor, being a single mom...
I never thought about how it could be easy.
...And more surprisingly? Whether I even wanted it to be.
I've always been a storyteller. When I walk into a gathering, family or friends, people always ask me to tell them a story.
And like always, I understood the assignment. Telling tales of my dating misadventures, travel mishaps, and everything in between.
Was I trying to make a story out of this?
I mean, now in the middle of this chaos, I didn't want it to be.
I wanted to go through my IVF. I wanted good news from my nurse after every checkup. I wanted to get my eggs retrieved and implanted with no issues. I wanted to getthis motherhood journey started.
But did I want it to be hard?
Oh god, I realized. I think I did.
For the next week, this conversation spun around in my head. I decided I needed to turn things around. I needed to want things to be easy.
I deserve easy things.
I would tell myself this at least 1000 times a day.
I deserve easy things: the fabulous house, the kickass husband, the cute little babies.
I deserve easy things.
But it made me backtrack a little.. how did I get here?
Life in a Startup
I started my career in tech.
I was in marketing because it fulfilled my childhood fantasy. Joining a marketing team. Being up for a promotion but only if I complete a project due on Christmas Eve. Ultimately leading me a small ski town in Vancouver where I meet the man of my dreams.
Hallmark movies are powerful motivators.
The thing about startups, is that they look great from the outside..
but it's so hard to be in one.
Things are chaotic and disorganized. New people are starting almost every week, and before you learn their name, are being let go every month. All the while, a new unattainable goal is being handed to you every quarter.
But, wait, it's super fun too! I was surrounded by people my age who would remain my friends to this day. And, we enjoyed the work we were doing.
But it came at a cost.
I was working 80 hours a week, I wasn't eat well, and I barely slept afraid I would miss a "marketing emergency". ( PS: There never was one.)
And most of all I ALWAYS worried I would lose my job.
Everything seemed hard all. the. time.
And because I was loving my life, I made the association:
If this is hard, but I'm having fun. I must like hard things.
"But what if they were easy?"
I started to think about whether I would have liked my startup experience if it were easier. If the work was fun, and the goals were more attainable. If I were able to sleep soundly every night, if I wasn't afraid of my job.
There's a part of me that thinks I wouldn't be where I am if it were easy, but I'm not sure that's true either.
Then I remembered this example my friend told me:
You're dying to make this delicious family recipe. You check the cupboards and realize you're missing some essential ingredients. You don't have a vehicle, so you start to walk the two miles to the grocery store to pick them up.
Let's say it's raining, and the walk isn't enjoyable at all. But, out of the blue, a friend drives by asking you if you need a ride.
What do you say to her?
Do you say no because you believe that to enjoy the recipe you must walk 2 miles to and from the grocery store?
That by making the experience harder - it will make the experience that much better?
Of course not, silly. You'll take your soaking ass into the car, thank her and the universe, and give your mama's recipe the joy and love and attention it deserves.
How we make hard things.. harder.
For anyone who's undergone IVF treatments it is a masters degree in mind fuckery.
All the hormones. The waiting between appointments. The nurse check-ins that make you feel dizzy with euphoria, or nauseous with grief.
This experience is not for the weak. It's hard.
I fight to stay resilient while people around me try to give me their best advice. "Don't keep your hopes up" or "expect the worst" so that I will somehow bypass the all consuming grief if it doesn't work out.
And I've taken that advice, I've gone into my appointment with a closed mind and a closed heart. Trying not let the words affect my mood. Trying to stay positive while having low expectations.
And you know what? I felt like a zombie - going in and out of appointments feeling like my soul had left my body, hating every second of the experience.
I made it harder.
As I embark on my fourth IVF cycle, I've made a decision. This time I'll do it my way. Like I do everything else -- heart first.
That is the easy way. To expect it to just happen.
And telling myself over and over again.
Everything is easy for me. Everything works out for me.
And this time, to allow myself to feel every moment. To not check out. To not make it harder for myself.
To feel excitement about fulfilling my life long dream of being a mom because I'm SO close.
And sure, there may be heartache in the process - but that's future Tiff's problem.
I will meditate daily to keep myself from letting my storyteller mind create a "hard" story.
And finally, I will remind myself everyday:
Things can be easy. The house, the baby, the husband.
Sure, I can do hard things but I deserve easy things.
And, reader? So do you.
Cheers to easy things,
Tiffany DaSilva is the founder of flowjo.co and lover of all things self care, chihuahuas and cross stitch. You can read her posts about how she handles the day to day using mindfulness and self care here on Pitter Patter! Flowjo's lifestyle blog.