anniversaries and easter candy.
Anniversaries matter. And that, my friends, is why a bag of almond M&M's has me crying in the Target parking lot. Let me explain: About one year ago, I made my last indoor visit to Target (aka my happy place). I wish I could say I didn't know it would be my last visit, but the frightened eyes, the empty shelves, and the smell of bleach made it very clear that something was very different. I knew I wouldn't be back for some time. That fateful visit happened to coincide what what I consider to be one of the happiest times of the year: The arrival of Easter candy. Specifically, those beautiful pastel colored almond M&M's. Glorious! I'm obesssed. So, recognizing the cultural shift and being the indulgent human being that I am, I bought several bags. Several. Throughout that that first month or two, pastel almond M&M's were my life line. I joked that my quarantine was being sponsored by the Mars Corporation. And then summer came, and those beautiful pastel bags were gone. I briefly switched to regular colored peanut M&M's but it wasn't the same. Like many I hopped on the baking trends. I went through healthy and unhealthy periods, I indulged in many different ways and I forgot about my pastel friends. Until today. I wandered back inside Target because I needed something specific, and I needed it now. And then I saw them - those beautiful pink bags with the the pastel eggs - calling to me from the end cap. I bought bags for every one. I bought a secret bag for my home office. I got to my car and I remembered those early quarantine bags. And I cried. You see, in the stress and the strain of the past year there have just been so many losses. Big losses - lives, jobs, securities, touch - and the small, everyday losses that continue to compound. It all hit me in that moment and I had no choice but to allow it all to flow through. I turned toward the sadness and allowed myself to feel the reality that the return of the Easter candy signifies: One year marked by loss, grief, and fear. Eventually my tears subsided, I felt calmer. And do you know what I did next? I took myself to a favorite park, sat in the sunshine, and ate that whole damn bag of M&M's. Because anniversaries matter.
Please, in whatever way is meaningful to you, take a moment an recognize and reflect on what the past year has meant to you. Allow yourself to feel the feelings that this last year has fostered within you - the good and the bad. Turn towards your experience with kindness and curiosity. Breathe and feel. The next chapter awaits...
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Rebecca Ray, LCSW