There’s a Bob’s Burgers episode where Tina, Gene, and Louise* find a chunk of ambergris (apparently a by-product of whale poop and used in expensive perfumes, so worth a lot of money.) It had washed onto the beach.
"It smells disgusting! *sniff* "No! Wait! It smells amazing!"
They smell it and yell “Gross!” and smell again and say “Great!” This continues.
Louise says, "I can't stop smelling this enigma of Gross/Great!"
I totally get that. Life is full of that knee- jerk “gross!” thing, followed by “wait, let me get some more of that.”
I hate to feel certain emotions but I keep coming back to the thoughts that bring up those feelings, like when I spend my evening complaining and venting about a co-worker who I’m not getting along with.
I hate having grown-up conversations with people about tough subjects to foster communication and clear some air that’s been tense and stale for months, but I also feel great relief for having had the courage to do so.
I hate writing this blog sometimes, when I feel insecure or lacking in skill or interesting topics, or just like I’d rather be doing something else. But it’s great when I’m done and I honored my commitment to myself (and to you) once again.
I often hate going to AA meetings. (talk about feeling like I have better things to do) But I go because they are working for me, and almost every time something great comes of it.
I don’t always want to do my dishes or take out the trash or go to work, but the rewards of taking care of my home and honoring my responsibilities feel great.
I know I’ll feel gross if I eat 3 scoops of ice cream when I’m sad or stressed. And yet I sometimes find myself doing exactly that with a defiant, chocolate smeared scowl, insisting it’s really great.
Sit-ups are gross. Feeling strong and healthy is great.
Having seven dollars in my bank account feels gross. Deciding to trust that I’ll be cared for anyway? Mmmm, gross/great.
I’m just appreciating the both/and today. I realize how often the things we hate or resist lead us towards the things we really want and love. Discerning when to take another sniff of what seems gross at first is a skill I’ll always be practicing, just like noticing if I’m pretending something is great when I really need to chuck that grossness back into the sea. For now, enjoy that enigma, and check out this clip😊
*If you aren’t familiar with the cartoon Bob’s Burgers, please do yourself a favor and go watch it. It’s wonderful.