The Deep Friar is one of the delights of the blogosphere. He and Brett Legree hijack blogs, filling the comment sections with bananas, inflatable gorillas and other delightful (but surprisingly relevant) silliness. Friar also draws, producing great cartoons for 6weeks.ca and Write from Home. I wanted to find out what else there is to the Friar and here’s what he told me.
Who: The Deep Friar
Friar is an Advanced Level III Procrastinator who uses his creativity and sense of humor to try to make life as happy and as much fun as possible for himself, and hopefully for his friends and family as well.
Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
Awww. To be honest, I don’t really like the term “pity party”. It sounds so negative, like we’ve somehow screwed up and we’re wallowing in our own misery. I prefer to re-phrase it as times in my life where I’ve felt sorrier for myself than usual.
One of those times was on a ski vacation out in BC, back in 2001 when I was visiting my parents. I had a major wipe-out on the first day. Ended up tearing the ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in my knee.
Now…if any of you have ever torn your ACL before……you’ll know this really really SUCKS!
And the thing is…this was the third time I’d torn an ACL over a 12 year period.
So I knew exactly what I was in for. A very long wait for surgery. Painful recuperation. Months of physio. Limping for 18-24 months. And not being able to ski for at least 2 years. This wasn’t being negative…these were facts.
I remember thinking: “COME ON…you have GOT to be shitting me! I mean…NOBODY rips their ACL THREE times!”
As an added bonus…a few months later, I was laid off from work. Which didn’t exactly help.
Even our worst behaviors fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
I knew feeling sorry for myself wouldn’t fix my knee or bump me up on the waiting list to see the specialist. But I needed some time to feel bad and get it out of my system.
I think anytime we suffer a loss (whether it’s a fender-bender, not getting that job interview, or a death in the family) there’s a period of grieving involved. We need to mourn our loss, and deal with it before we move on. Depending on the loss, the mourning period might take minutes. Or years. That’s what I needed… a bit of time to grieve.
Tell us what you did to break up the pity part. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
Yeah, I know theoretically we’re “supposed to” not worry about things of which we have no control. To count our blessings, there are people much worse off than we, are, yadda yadda yadda.
But I wasn’t Gandhi or Superman. I needed some time to get used to the idea of once again having constant pain, dealing with surgery waiting lists, and that I wouldn’t be doing any active jumping/running sports for a long time.
Did someone help buoy my spirits? Hah! (Sorry, I have to laugh!).
Not exactly. One family member got very angry at me. Another family member told me a week later to “get over it” (as I was walking with a still-swollen knee, with burning pain in every step). I remember thinking that was pretty harsh. Pretty easy to judge someone, if you don’t know what they’re going through.
What’s ironic is if they hadn’t said ANYTHING, I would have probably felt better. They actually made things worse.
As for friends, acquaintances… no, not really any help. The reality is… most people are too involved with their own lives and don’t want to hear about it. It’s nothing personal. That’s just the way Life is.
Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
From that moment on, I decided to not talk about it. This was more out of self-preservation. And it worked: It made things easier, and nobody judged me or scolded me for feeling bad. .
And like I said… I just needed time to adjust my thought process. I got back on my feet pretty quickly (literally). Instead of looking at what I lost… I looked at what I COULD do. Downhill skiing was out… so within two weeks, I was back doing cross-country (I just took the skis off and walked down the big hills). During the summer, I did lots of hiking. Sure the knee glitched all the time and bugged me. But oh well, I just got used to it.
By the way I ended up having surgery a YEAR later (and yes, I DID find another job, obviously). But that’s another story for another time….
Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I guess my version of the Syndrome is that “I’ll Get Around to it Someday”.
What I want to do is publish a children’s book. If I do just that one thing, I’ll be very happy for the next several years.
But my longer term goals are to eventually publish more and more books, to the point that I can quit my present (@#%) job and live off my royalties, only working if (or when) I feel like it.
And where I’d love to spend a big chunk of my retirement is skiing out in BC. (Right back where I wrecked my knee years ago!). Hahah. Talk about the Circle of Life. (*insert Lion King music here*)
Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
I find the resolving it isn’t something you necessarily come up with at all at once. Especially if it’s a grey area.
For example, I’ve been listless and unhappy with my present career for the past 2 years. I’m not miserable, but I haven’t reached that Zen-like state of self-actualization either.
But in the mean time I’ve been earning a pretty decent paycheck, so I can afford to coast in neutral. It’s only within the last 8-12 months that I’ve finally figured out what I really want to do and how I’m going to get there.
But once I latched onto my kids’ book plan, I’ve done LOTS of work. I’ve started a blog for one thing, which has helped me hone my writing skills. I’ve tested my storybook idea on my readers. Not to mention I’ve generated countless OTHER stories and ideas which can go in other books. Plus I’m networking with lots of professional writers and consultants.
Plus I’ve been sketching, practicing my drawings, testing different papers and pens, playing with Photoshop, researching kids’ books…there’s always something going on. So even though my present career is still boring and unsatisfying, whenever I work on my book project, even for an hour, it’s always step in the right direction. And that’s what sustains me.
Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
Whenever you’re in a “Pity Party”, just show yourself some compassion. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t bounce back instantly. Just remember that “This too, shall pass”.
And I know it sounds corny, but whenever Life deals you with crap, there’s a positive side to it… it makes you stronger.
Now, if someone had told me that 5 years ago, I’d laugh and say “Yeahhh…right!” But it’s true.
Take my knee injury. It was a major set-back, it was wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened. That came a few years later when my Dad suddenly passed away. But by then, I had already gained some experience in dealing with Life’s curve balls. So in a way, I think my knee injury indirectly helped me deal a little better with Dad’s death.
And now that I’ve dealt with my Dad’s death…well, now I know there’s NOTHING I can’t handle! (Come on, Life!….Bring it onnnnn)
If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
Hopefully if I read enough inspirational blogs, I’m sure to find the right advice or quotation to follow, that will fix everything and make it ALLLLL better!
But more seriously. I find it one thing that helps if I’m accountable to a third-party, who has an objective point of view. If I’m in a slump, to maybe have someone to knock ideas around with, and help me get motivated again.
And actually, I’m doing that right now, in two different ways.
First, I have a friend who’s training for a Life Coach. She practices her techniques on me…in exchange, I get free coaching. It’s a great symbiotic relationship. We’re in touch on a regular basis and she’s been wonderful. She doesn’t tell me WHAT to do…she just presents ideas and options to me…which I might not have thought of on my own. I’ve made huge progress with her, compared to where I was a year ago.
Second, I hang out with my buddy Brett, who (ahem!) some of you may know. Every Thursday, we meet and have our Beer Therapy Support Session. (Cheaper than going to a psychiatrist, I tell you!) We bitch about work for a while to get it out of our system. After that, we have our think-fest and brainstorm about ideas for books and blog projects. We have a few ideas up our sleeve we’re working on. It’s great synergy. You’ll just have to wait and see what we come up with.