Shovel The Shit

Alternate Titles Include:

The world is blowing itself up and idk what the fuck to do about it

I spent a week in Colorado and all I got was this stupid nervous breakdown

If #FeelingTheBern has taught me anything, it’s the need for transparency. We all want total transparency in all aspect of our lives – from the politicians we elect, the hard earned money we use to buy what we need to survive, fake advertisements (DOCTORS *HATE* HER – local Mom reveals anti-aging secret), the safety of what we consume… etc.

But we don’t get transparency until we get dirty. Until we clear out all the shit.

That’s what we’re doing right now as a collective whole.

We are shoveling shit.

For the past three weeks or so, I’ve been plagued with flies. They’re literally everywhere I inhabit. I have a running tally on my whiteboard at the office where I tick off each fruit fly I kill. So far, I’m averaging about 10 a day. When I get home from the office, I deal with house flies. My evenings are spent running around our 900 square foot house with hair spray in one hand and Febreeze in the other, as I try and catch the little bastards and either freeze their wings with the hairspray or drown them in the scent of fresh linen (this is the superior fly catching method, btw.)

I hadn’t put much thought into it, other than “this is fucking annoying and AM I MADE OF LITERAL GARBAGE BECAUSE THIS IS TAKING A SERIOUS TOLL ON MY SENSE OF CLEANLINESS AND PERSONAL HYGIENE,” until last night as I was falling asleep.

A few times a week for the past six months or so, I fall asleep listening to binaural beats which are designed to put your brain in different states. They’re are binaural beats for increased focus, meditating, creativity, sleeping, chakra healing, etc. If that interests you, you can learn more HERE – and my personal favorite binaural beats producer is here.

Because the beats (not by Dre) put your brain into different states, there can be some interesting side effects. I’ve had hallucinatory experiences – one time I felt like I fell into a Kandinsky painting. My entire field of vision was taken up with fractal geometric shapes in a litany of colors.


Pictured: Emily tripping balls sans drugs OR Composition X by Vassily Kandinsky, 1939

Other times, I’ll feel like I’m leaving my body and floating off into the universe. Once I “looked” up (this is all happening with my eyes closed) and saw I was surrounded by “people” who were made of blue iridescent light.

Anyway – it’s a fucking trip. We can debate the spirituality vs. science aspect later – I’m just into it because it’s a fun experience and opens my mind to other ways of thinking. I don’t really care if it’s coming from *out there* or *in here*.

But I digress.

Last night as I was falling asleep, I kept “hearing” (it’s not an auditory hearing, but rather the voice you hear when you read quietly in your head – like a loud thought that interrupts all your other thoughts) “Shovel the shit. shovel the shit. Shovel the shit.” Over and over. “Shovel the shit. You are shoveling shit. Shovel the shit.”

Wonderful. A disembodied voice telling me to shovel shit. What was that about being on the other side of a nervous breakdown?

A few weeks ago, I went to Colorado for five days with my very best friend in the world. It was the most one-on-one time I’ve ever spent with someone who is not my husband or my parent, and I’d be lying if I said we didn’t run into a few snags.

First, the traffic in Denver is a fucking nightmare and I never want to experience that again (except for the fact I am literally scheming on how to move there – c’est la vie). Then our air mattress (I know – its a hard life) was too big for our tent and I had a legit panic attack and slept in my car the first night.

While we were in Colorado – camping in the wilderness – I was in the throws of one of the worst eczema outbreaks I’ve had in a minute. My back was covered in itchy, oozing, red and inflamed skin (dinner anyone? Oh sorry, did I kill your¬†appetite?), my face was a mess- it had even spread down to my legs. I felt fat, bloated, ugly and gross the entire time. What I had built up in my head to be a beautiful vacation for two soul-mates filled with philosophical-soul-level-break-throughs and unstopping laughter turned into an internal battle with my self-esteem, anxiety and OCD.


Not pictured: crippling self-doubt and anxiety

Basically, I spent a week in the woods with one of my top five favorite people, and instead of spending most of my time looking around and appreciating the unspoiled beauty in front of me (don’t get me wrong – I did do this as well) I spent my time in my own head – both thinking horrible thoughts about myself and then beating myself up for thinking such horrible things, because COME ON EMILY HAVEN’T WE MOVED PAST THIS – FOR FUCKS SAKE YOU ARE ALMOST 30 AND FEEL ALMOST COMFORTABLE SAYING THE WORDS “I AM HOT SHIT IN ALL ASPECTS OF MY BEING” SEMI-SERIOUSLY.

It. Was. A. Trip.

It was such a trip, it’s taken me three weeks (and counting) to unpack (ba-dum-tiss) The Colorado Camping Experience of 2016 (coincidentally that is also the name of my new trip-hop band, coming soon to a venue near you.)

Then, last night, as I kept hearing the broken record “shovel shit shovel shit shovel shit shovel shit”, I finally put two and two together.

As a human-collective, we are shoveling our shit.

We are looking at the world we have allowed to exist – with all of its flaws, injustices, political corruption, etc. and we are shoveling it the fuck outta here. It’s messy, it smells, and it sucks, but we. Are. In. IT.

As individuals – at least in my experience – the exact same thing is going on. A lot of shit I thought I moved past came up on our Colorado trip.


Pictured: writers interpretation of what her anxiety looks like

The good news is: once it’s in your face, it forces you to really look at it. The bad news is: it’s in your face and you gotta deal with it.

The only thing we can do to help this world and the people in it is take a long hard look in the metaphorical mirror and decide how bad we want to clean our own shit out.

“BUT EMILY,” you might say. “The world is so beyond fucked at this point – I have no idea how to even BEGIN shoveling this shit on a global level.”

And to you I might say “oh damn – you’re right. Oh well, let’s go colonize Mars and start over.”

Juuuuuuuust kidding.

Honestly – I think the “global shit” will take care of itself, as long as we are all shoveling and clearing out our personal shit. The ONLY thing in this world we can control is our relation to it (lemonade outta lemons, cash money¬†outta elevator throw downs, etc.) and as long as we’re invested and want to make ourselves better, our physical environment, cultural environment et. al. will follow suit.

And what do flies like? SHIT. FLIES LIKE SHIT

I’ve got real-life flies surrounding me while I deal with my metaphorical shit. YES UNIVERSE, I AM LISTENING. I GET IT. OKAY? CAN WE STOP WITH THE FLIES NOW?

So – how does one effectively shovel ones shit?

1. Feel your emotions sans judgement.

This happened to me yesterday. I came home from the grocery store and was immediately greeted by my 10,000 fly friends. I proceeded to flip out and angry clean the house. I allowed myself to be annoyed – I didn’t chastise myself for my inability to rise above it.

2. Observe your behavior sans judgement

Again – I took a third party approach and observed how I angry cleaned the house and took out my emotions on my husband. It’s not always pretty to look into the mirror, but you have to in order to see what you’re dealing with.

3. Look around

So I felt my emotions, observed my behavior and looked my environment – emotional environment, physical environment, spiritual environment, etc. Flies? Check. Dirty dishes? Check. Luna fur everywhere? Check. Carrying heavy groceries? Check. Seeing-red-level-of-annoyance? Check. Total collapse of life as we know it? Check.

4. Cross reference your emotions, behavior, and environment with each other

We’re human. We’re flawed. Every day, we’re infinitely influenced by everything we see- consciously or not. It’s okay. It’s human to get angry. It’s human to be annoyed. It’s human to not have a picture perfect house at all times. If I observe the correlation between emotion, environment and behavior, it becomes a lot easier to become aware of how that trifecta affects how I see the world.

5. Be steadfast (but gentle with yourself)

You’re not gonna wake up one day sans all your shit. It is not an overnight process.

Show up each day, put your head down, stay in your lane, and shovel. That’s all we can do.

Yours in shit shoveling,

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