Updated: May 26
Have you experienced the Kraken’ yet?
Ya know…when you’re convinced that you’re on solid ground during this stage of the pandemic…but then a sneaky tentacle slithers its way up and takes hold. Grabbing you tight and squeezing you til there’s barely a flicker of life left.
You know the feeling, right? Those days when your heart and soul feel so conflicted and torn and constricted– it’s hard to breathe. But that was just one tentacle, warning you of the awakening.
Now I am not referring to the little assassins in your mind that tell you to eat another Oreo or look at social media for another… 5 hours. Not the pesky negative self-talk or the other gremlins that can sometimes overtake your mind space.
No. I am referring to something far darker and more aggressive– the sinister beast that lurks within.
It can be a big (or small) event that can stir the Kraken. But coupled with the collective fears of the current state of the world, the vast scope of ferocious opinions, theories, rules and rule-breakers and unpredictable future plans…and your personal path navigating this noisy chaos– it can be a bit overwhelming. But we can’t always gauge how we are really being internally impacted, and what might be stirring deep within.
The walls holding the creature in its lair have crumbled due to all the mental and emotional disruption in the world…and…IT…has awoken:
If you are not familiar with the Kraken let me set the scene where this phrase gained its fame. Clash of the Titans (2010), Ralph Fiennes, who is Hades, declares, “The mortals must pay!” to which a shining silver-clad Liam Neeson (aka Zeus) then announces...
“Release the Kraken!” And once Liam Neeson is involved you know you're F-k'd
I have a warning system for the Kraken that I will happily share with you.
(Tip: it doesn’t always work so don’t rely on it)
I like to refer to my moods as:
Green Light: in the flow, synchronized, and lit on life.
Yellow Light: edgy, rushing, snarky, and impatient. A warning sign that red is on the horizon so take action to shift out of yellow immediately. Sometimes my body or my heart alerts me, “careful little grasshopper– the Kraken is coming.”
Red Light– The “oh shit” light. The rage, the unrecognizable self, blinded with anger, eyes zing, heart races, words and behaviors completely incongruent with the standard self.
THE KRAKEN HAS ARRIVED AND TAKEN OVER.
Personally, this Red Light state of mind is rare but has occurred more since I have become a mother. Prior to getting sober in 2005 I lived in Yellow Light and visited Red quit often. Green seemed like a distant fantasy.
Red Light didn't happen once in 2019. It was such a winning Green Light year that I thought I deserved a trophy with a bronzed me on top holding up a defeated Kraken squid in fisted victory.
(Tip: Never mock the Kraken.)
But in 2020...I can confirm– The Kraken is not defeated.
It’s been waiting…sensing my restlessness.
Here's how it unfolded.
Friday of this past week, 7:30 am I sat on the sofa with daughter by my side click-clacking away on my beloved Mac Book Pro (a recent birthday gift) as I added grocery items to my online list. When suddenly out of nowhere my son jumps from couch to couch like a kangaroo/monkey and (cue slow motion monster sound) he came flying to the couch where we sat, teeth barred like batboy...and took a fricking bite out of my computer screen.
A bite. Yes. Like it was a damn graham cracker. Rainbow rays shot across the screen and tiny fractals spread out like spider webs.
And then it happened...
“The mortals must pay!”
RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
Oh shit. There was no pause button. No yellow light. Just the Kraken– ME.
I shouted in his face over and over, “Why'd you do that?!” in every tone and pitch and emphasis on each syllable until he cried and ran to his room. My daughter cried at my Mama Bear ferocity. I punched the sofa. I cried. I paced the hallway. I roared from the depths. I balled my fists up, I gritted my teeth I sobbed and howled.
Then I messaged my husband with the SOS emergency code.
Red Light! He knew exactly what this meant. He put on his project manager hat and declared, "don't worry I will find a solution." And I knew he would, but that still didn't help me shift out of how I felt right in that moment.
You see the laptop is my sanity.
My creative source. I have been building, growing, expanding, and designing on it nonstop during this entire pandemic. I can bring it with me to do coaching calls, I can work on it in the living room while the kids play with Legos, because heavens knows if I go in my office to use the desktop computer they will know within 30 seconds and come looking for me like it's damn hide-n-seek. My Mac Book is my saving grace and what is keeping me inspired, productive, and purposeful.
And then...a few hours later I felt like a total ass because “it’s just a computer” right? With all that's going on in the world and the tremendous loss others are experiencing? Shouldn't I be more grateful for what I do have?
But then I had to step back and honor that this was a deep loss for me.
It was what helped me show up for my family and be the CEO of our household.
It’s how I provide for our family.
It’s how I create.
It’s how I stay connected to my people.
It was a devastating blow and I allowed myself to grieve that.
I put on my life coaching hat and gently let myself know that she had permission to be mad and sad and just melt all day if necessary. And that I did. I cried a lot. I cried for more than just my laptop of that I am sure. My eyes were raw and I felt emotionally hungover.
I still had to show up as Mom the rest of the day, and it was not easy. My son was hurt by how I had yelled at him in my fury and repeatedly told me I was the worst Mom ever and he was kicking me out of the family. (harsh!)
I took responsibility for how I responded to him, and my Mama Bear roar, and had an honest chat with 5-year-old Batboy about being impulsive and how that impacts others.
Even Liam Neeson wished me well on that brave attempt.
Later that day my little man climbed on my lap hugged me and said sweetly, “You have trapped my heart.” Then paused and asked, “Mama, what does trapped my heart mean?”
My laugh was so deep and hearty that the Kraken had no choice but to retreat.
Even though I had recovered it still felt like I had been run over by a semi and there were still 11 hours until bedtime. I messaged a friend letting her know I was struggling and needed some support. She stopped by later and brought me a bouquet of lilacs from her yard, a beautiful scarf/mask and a coffee gift card. (feeling better already!)
I was gentle with myself all day. I ordered all our meals for delivery and when the husband got home he took the reins and let me know it'd be a week and would cost about $600.
I took a hot bath and listened to guided meditations and something opened up in me– and I saw the bigger picture. Maybe I spend too much time on my laptop and that was his way of telling me? I softened. I shifted and recognized I had some great new data for a blog. So I took a bath photo of my broken self and then watched Little Women, cried some more, and finally went to bed.
So here I lay before you my Kraken. There is no shame. These are tough times. It is part of me that might awaken from time to time. But I have tools and support and I can put words to it so it’s not a shameful, embarrassing secret that I tell no one. We all have a Kraken. Sometimes they are loud, some have no yet emerged. Some of us have incredible control and never let it rise. However you choose to tame your demons– I respect and honor your process. And so I downshift back into yellow, with a touch of green.
Now that was one very expensive bite.
This is me.
Kraken and all.