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Updated: May 2, 2020

Why marketing perfection during the pandemic has backfired.

From bloggers to podcasters to your well-meaning bestie (whom you are zooming with now on a regular basis)-we are consuming the collective anecdote to this paralyzing pandemic. The anecdote is the re-packaging of Covid 19 and presenting it as a gift. It is a gift that will allow you to do everything you wanted to do, but had no time. The Covid Gift has promised you access to the keys that will evolve you into the person you always wanted to be.


Thus, The Pandemic Perfection Effect (PPE) was born. And boy--the Pandemic Perfection Effect gave us a sense of control in a not-so-controllable time.



PANDEMIC PERFECTION EFFECT- (*definition and creation by yours truly).

This effect is the monetizing a time of global terror and redefining it as a specific marketing attempt to sell life-altering products, courses and ideas to perfect the lives of the quarantined masses in the hopes to prey upon their insecurities while simultaneously creating this demographic to feel inadequate. The effect of this intentional assault of creating perfection during the pandemic is resulting on increased depressive states, financial burden and escalating confusion.

---(comments welcome).



While, agreed, the gift of time is a wonderful and unexpected bi-product of a global tragedy- it seems to not be a reality. I don't know about you, but I feel that I was not a beneficiary of this gift. In fact, I have markedly seen my available minutes disappearing with newly found roles as homeschool teacher, internal crisis prevention manager and zoom meeting scheduler. Not to mention that my housekeeping duties have multiplied by 2587%.


I am not quite sure what marketing team collaborated on the international campaign --but I am not drinking their Kool-Aid.


My Truth


I would love to tell you that I have devoured 10 self-help books, that I now have 6 pack abs and my kids have advanced two grades under my tutelage. The truth is that I have made it half way though one audible book, my abs are only a 1 pack and I am failing my children as their adjunct teacher. It's getting messy. And when the sky is grey--and it is cold outside it is hard to rally my troops and encourage them when I feel a sense of malaise.


So How Did this Happen?


What WEEK ONE LOOKED LIKE
  • CONFUSION- Why is everyone talking about beer? As the cadence of reports heightened I began to realize this was more than an amusing meme It was leaking slowly from the far reaching bowels of Asia. How could it be here in the US? Should I be scared?

  • REJECTION- Why should I stay in the house? This will not affect me. Life will be normal.

  • UNSETTLED ASPIRATIONS- If I must work remotely, I am going to do this in style. I will schedule 10 ZOOM calls a day. I will connect with old friends. I will get projects done. I will read books. I will take long walks . I will binge Netflix. I will learn new recipes. I will enjoy my children. I will learn a new skill. I will take a course online. I will stick to my routine and enjoy this gift.


WEEK 7 IS REFLECTING our Grief

The strongest of people I connect with daily, the ones who radiate optimism have looked somewhat different as they hit Week 7. I observed this, not in oneperson- but in a majority of my conversations. Their spirits are weary and it is hard for them to articulate why. They are still "blessed", they are fed, they have not lost their jobs, their families are remaining healthy. So why this malaise?


The malaise of Week 7 is proving to be in direct correlation to the loss of structure, the loss of interpersonal connections and the loss of control over their environment. And this feeling of "the blahs" is compounded by the fact that indeed, the elusive "PANDEMIC PERFECTION EFFECT" has made them feel inadequate. We are wearily complying to minimum standards. We are wearily complying to our sense of normality.



Unperfect Perfection in Week 7
  • yoga pant rotation is real

  • Zoom calls not as "exciting"

  • spaghetti variations nightly

  • schedule is off

  • virtual happy hours not as novel

  • Pandemic numbers rising and the uncertainty lingers- feeling a loss of control

  • self-help books unfinished

  • academic aspirations are minimized

  • crafts are relegated to the corner

  • days melting into each other



I connect with and have in-depth conversations with people daily. I chat with them and have really been able to observe their patterns during this quarantine. While optimism reigned ever- present in week-one , there is a demarcation now and the overwhelming collective enthusiasm. Week 7 is now presenting diminished spirits. The truth is --when we feel out of control we try to control our environment.






SOLUTION- How to combat Pandemic Perfection Effect


The one thing I know, and I know to be real is that it is ok with being --well, just ok. This too shall pass. When we immerge from this epidemiological catastrophe and things won't look the same. The fabric of our lives with be re-woven into something that feels so different. And we will have to be ok with this.


My biggest defense against this effect is to be allow myself some slack-- and try to enjoy what is now. Let yourself relish the uncomfortable days of not feeling productive.


Postlogue-


It is very important to keep a routine in tact. This is the cornerstone of establishing a foundation in your day.

* Keep your alarm set for 7am.

* Keep your exercise regimen in place.

* Get fresh air daily. Celebrate your small wins.

* And stop comparing yourself to all the pandemic success stories you see on social media.


Being you is all that is needed right now. Give yourself some grace.



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Updated: Sep 30, 2020

I am re-posting a blog entry.


I was called to re-think this blog entry because I have been witness to a collective cry from friends, colleagues and clients alike who struggle with comparison and self-flagellation. So therefore, I will remove the veil of my not-so -perfect (very often ugly) life to allow the judgers to relish and the supporters to applaud.


If I touch one life--it is worth me exposing my dirty laundry.

Women, in particular, have been growing in numbers as they greet me with a cloak of shame and unease while professing modest transgressions. They have been ruminating in a place of unworthiness for large chunks of their lives because they feel they do not deserve goodness. This message is substantiated by the consistent regularity of their social media news feeds enforcing that their neighbors are doing good and living well. This nuanced dance of feeling shame-- coupled with the profundity of imaginary lives on Facebook or Instagram creates a chasm of isolation that is rising to epidemic proportions.


So as I let you into me raw, not so perfect life- I hope you too -do not feel alone.

Please refer to the prologue below. If you can relate ---please let me know.


If you feel called-- let the world know of your beautiful imperfections that allow you to feel this human experience. Judge me or Join Me. Just don't ignore this call to action.



REPOST-2018 Entry


I keep telling myself that I am real. I thought I was a real girl that all relate with....and then I got a reality check.


Yep- this is what I thought until this morning. Before this morning, 5am on April 16th, 2019-I thought I had my realness down pat. I have good girlfriends--a kaleidoscope of different ladies who enlighten, energize and make me just so proud. I felt I knew their struggles-mom struggles, body image struggles, work and relationship obstacles. And then I woke up.


Today is the day I start being authentic.

Julie you are real. #realgirl. Yep- this is what I thought until this morning. Before this morning, 5am on April 16th, 2019-I thought I had my realness down pat. I have good girlfriends--a kaleidoscope of different ladies who enlighten, energize and make me just so proud. I felt I knew their struggles-mom struggles, body image struggles, work and relationship obstacles. And then I woke up.


I am not real. I am fake.



So here you go.

I will try to paint the picture so you can imagine my puffy eyed, uninspired body curled up in my bed while combatting an inner monologue. This monologue began with, "This sucks, I am tired, I am defeated, I have no drive today". Again, my alarm rings. I think to myself, if I am real, why am I so guarded about myself? Why don't I shout it to the world that I always think about the pudge around my tummy? Why don't I post on Facebook that I obsess about getting to my next exercise class- and explain that working out is a chore now and no longer shifts my spirit? Why do I feel so defeated when my , normally cheerful 14 year old passes me in the hall and does not acknowledge me? And why do I further an illusion by posting on social media the cutest picture of us together? Why am I not the best wife I can be- I mean does anyone know I struggle? Does anyone else worry about this? #wifefail. Why do I fear people seeing me without my make-up mask? Why do I live and die by online shopping (okay--I think this is an acceptable flaw). I mean- this list is countless. My flaws are too many to even enumerate in this tiny, miniscule blog. But--why if I am so flawed-do I insist on filtering these human experiences and twisting them into something beautiful? Social media is a fairy godmother.


Me. Circa 1984


Social media, grants me, with her magic wand the ability to hide behind fantastical posts. And maybe--this makes a mockery out of the real life that I am living. So if you look back into your childhood, look at real pictures. Look at the one from 1984. Look at , a Kodak imprinted snapshot of your mom. Maybe your mom is wearing round, owl like, tinted glasses. She doesn't seem to fuss with untucked shirts, her frosted hair, messy house, messy kids or messy times. 1984 was not filtered or photoshopped. 1984 was as real as it gets. And in today's world it is hard to harness truth in pictures. Now we have become experts on building our very own --personalized brands. #perfectbody This personalized branding ensures we are always happy. Branding gives us the divine ability to birth perfect, perfect little children who are perfectly dressed and perfectly posed. And if perfection is not produced there is a simple remedy--DELETE it. #perfectionisnotforme

We are all on a journey. And we should, as sisters and brothers, embrace our struggles. Let us use our Social Media fairy godmother for good. Post a real pic of you on #julielokuncoaching or my Facebook page-Julie Lokun Coaching. Let us start a revolution. Let us get real. It starts now. Not so bad getting real. Feels pretty good. #getrealcampaign

PRLOGUE

I am a divorcee


As a coach, I do not offer up personal information in our conversations because coaching is a sacred space for my clients. However, many of my clients talk about the pain of their divorces. It is the ambient beat of women and men facing the disintegration of the dream they had, probably since childhood, of their "happily ever after".

I often want to interject--I KNOW! I KNOW! That was me! This pain is real and it will be ok--I promise. I have felt the shame of failure. I have looked gripping despair dead in the eyes. And I made it to the other side.


15 years ago I went thru the hardest time in my life. It was a grueling half decade of self flagellation, doubt and drama. I inflicted untold scars upon my children. And after remarrying my second husband, I struggled too. Who am I? Am I good enough? This path of embracing my past and releasing it has become a critical source of healing.


I have ADHD


For years, I felt stupid. I clearly remember before entering law school, the Dean of Students required an in person meeting prior to my acceptance. I trudged downtown, 7 months pregnant in the sweltering mid-summer Chicago heat to be met by Dean Johnston. Johnston was a stern older gentleman with icy blue eyes and a soft, hypnotizing cadence.


He sat me down and began a gentle interrogation--

"Ms. Drost- do you have a learning disability?".
I scoffed. What is he talking about? Apparently my test taking skills were sub-standard and my admittance would be conditional. I left the austere walls of academia in a sweat soaked, mascara stained mess. How dare he insult me? I am an intelligent and focused woman.

Fast forward 16 years--I am sitting in a beige 10 x 10 office taking a battery of tests my personal physician recommended. I am face to face with a psychologist as I awkwardly attempt 8 hours of testing, I surmise that this intellectually advanced woman (doctor) at the other side of the table must be frustrated with her remedial patient. Dumb I am!


What appears, at first, to be child-like exercises in memorization quickly presented itself as one of the biggest mental challenges I have ever encountered.

Results- I have a working memory in 10th percentile which makes it an incredible challenge to recall a phone number that has just been given to me. I am equally as challenged with details of a colorful picture I just looked at 10 seconds prior. What this feels like is I have a fog looming in my brain when I am tested to recall fairly simple facts. I am now faced with the reality that I ha severe learning disability.


However, my communication and expressive skillset ranked in the 99th percentile. I suppose I have always compensated for this memory deficit. I believe, now, that looking back at this fact--if I had known of my struggle when I was younger I would have used it as a crutch. And perhaps, I would have talked myself out of college, law school, jobs and even starting my coaching collective.


And now, I watch all 4 of my sons struggle with this same challenge. And I do not allow them to use this as a crutch or an excuse. And many days as I watch them struggle I have to remind myself that this is what will make them valuable contributors on this earth.




I FEAR the dentist

This is perhaps a fear that stems from the first time I had oral surgery. My mom could hear my wails from the waiting room. I was having a tooth pulled and the anesthesia wore off mid- procedure. The dentist kept telling me to shut up. My mother heard this all. Today I am endeavoring in a long and grueling procedure of getting tooth implants. This fear may look insignificant to most- but it grips me in a way I cannot even explain. I work on it everyday. And I just wanted to let you know--your fears are not trivial. Your fears are part of the tapestry of your life. It is what you chose to do with your fears that change your life.


By spreading this message and embracing the failures of our humanness we can change the world. YOU GOT THIS GIRL.


prologue to my prologue: And this is a side note--for some reason, perhaps it has been a gift from the Universe, I never ever worried how strangers perceived me. I really think this is a gift I never asked for or wanted, but is greatly needed.

As long as I knew in my heart that I purposefully was doing the best that I could for the best people in my life I was content. I knew if my actions aligned with my core purpose things would be ok.


And this is the truth. So be it.

xoxo-love your, divorced, hot mess of a parent, legitimately impaired coach.


p.s. wait til y'all hear about my struggle with IVF and body dysmorphia!





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If you are human chances are that you have stumbled across a frightfully painful experience. Was it a partner who did you wrong? Or was it a dagger inflicted by a friend who pulled a fast one? The context of your pain really doesn't matter. What matters is that it hurts. This DNA attacking wound often festers at the surface of your emotional reservoirs then can unexpectedly resurface when triggered.




Now let me ask, has this pain strangled your joy? Unfortunately, pain like this has the power to halt you in your footsteps and handcuff you to the past. It can be quite foreboding to release this pain. And in some instances this pain becomes so powerful that it will alter your identity. Thus your identity morphs into your very own personal brand of a victim.


This pain, when not processed and released create collateral soul-searing damage which prevents you from moving forward in your life. It too, can alienate you from those around you who bear witness to your ruminations and self-flagellation.



So what can you do? I often suggest to clients who have been subject to this sort of anguish to create a sacred space of release. In this process, you reclaim a sense of power and symbolically untether past aggressions. I caution you to respect your journey-and do not attempt before you are ready.


Release & Reset

*PERSONAL RELEASING CEREMONY


A releasing ceremony is a spiritual release (not specifically connected with any religion) . This healing ritual is just one tool that has been helpful to many people, who are working to release anger, pain and other difficult emotions that can hinder growth and progress. **However, it is not meant to replace any needed psychological counseling or mental health help that might be needed. If you have mental or emotional imbalances that are affecting your ability to function normally, please see a qualified counselor of your choosing to help.

Releasing anger and rage over events in your past: One of the most valuable healing release exercises I've ever tried involves processing past hurts through the ceremonial ritual of release. It may be that you, like me, have used such spiritual tools before. Yet, I would encourage you to explore the particular scripting used in this ceremony of release. I found that the three-part process I'll be sharing made a difference. AND keep in mind—tailor your ceremony to be personal to you. Do what you are comfortable with and omit things that are not of interest.

This spiritual ceremony involves writing a letter to each person who, you feel, has brought negativity to you, whether verbally, mentally, emotionally, physically or spiritually. The degree of abuse doesn't matter. If you felt violated, then it abused your essence. If you harbor any feelings of bitterness, resentment, hurt, anger or fear as a result, then it can eventually damage your Spirit and your body.

And when I use the words "spiritual ceremony" or "healing ritual" I do so deliberately, to denote that there should be an attitude of spiritual attention and intention when you decide to facilitate this release for yourself. Dedicate time, pray or meditate to get yourself centered, calm, and focused. Give adequate intent and attention to the process and acknowledge it as important enough to command time set aside specifically for the ceremony.

In this letter of healing and release, you are not nice. You let it fly. You don't hold anything back because it is the thing we hold back that gets trapped in our cellular make-up and causes manifestations like weight gain and chronic fatigue, depression, etc. This is meant to handle our most ugly, angry and hateful feelings, and to help us heal them thru safe expression without guilt.

Please note that the purpose of this full out expression is NOT retaliation or revenge or any type of negative projection. It is for you and you alone. It is an allowing of your feelings, however out of balance they might be at the time, in Sacred Space, so that you can know yourself, express yourself and move thru unresolved emotional residue.


So, how do you avoid guilt in this situation? What's important is to set your intent beforehand that you want to let go of whatever unexpressed feelings you might still be unconsciously carrying. And that you are not projecting them toward the person in any kind of vindictive way but giving them up to the universe, in an honest confession of your true feelings.


Finish these three statements in each letter:
1. This is what you did: 2. This is how what I felt, in response to what you did: 3. This is how I have allowed what you did to affect my life:

When you have finished the letter(s), get a fireproof container, at a time when you can be alone and create a Sacred Space by smudging, prayers, etc. and burn each letter, releasing a lantern and send it all back to the universe. Use your voice with this ceremony, as a powerful self-affirmation of your intent. You may use the words I've provided below, or words of your own choosing, to set your spiritual intent to heal the past, at the time that you burn the letters:

"I now release all agreements I may have made, to hold suffering and to receive abuse. I now choose healthy relationships and release all behaviors, emotions and beliefs around any idea that I deserve or caused abuse. I release all negative behaviors that have resulted from this abuse. I embrace my life and intend into my life, joy, peace, love and respect. I love and respect myself and choose to live my life as loved and respected. I draw to me those who will support this decision to heal, and to experience more joy, love, peace and respect in my life. I allow the natural course of feelings to express to the point of forgiveness and healing, at my soul's best speed of healing. I am gentle with myself as I learn how to live in a space of love and self-respect. It is complete. I accept my healing into every cell of my body. I AM. I AM Healed."



It will be important to focus on what feelings and adjustments you want to bring into your life, to fill the empty space left by releasing what was there before so take some time to image-in what you want to fill those newly lightened and healed spaces within you.


It's also important to realize that, even though you have indeed healed yourself, it will take time for the new behaviors and ways of living to establish themselves so don't be dismayed if it appears you still feel wounded for a time. That is normal. Spend time in meditation and prayer and get healing or body work as often as you can. Make yourself and your healing a priority.


And finally, remember that each person who has hurt you is a flawed human and made choices out of alignment with what is true and good. There can be a release of blame and you can begin to see that their choices were about them and not you. Too often, when we are hurt or betrayed or rejected by someone else, we consciously or unconsciously believe that the hurt, betrayal rejection or other painful action is somehow indicative of our true worth as a being. It isn't about you. It's about the other person and their issues and struggles.


* If you have a friend or family member who languishes in pain and is challenged by moving forward-send them this article. Deliver it with compassion. Do your part to foster an uplifting human experience.

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