Right off the bat, I'll admit that Crispy is hard to describe. First, the origins of Crispy: I was in my mid-twenties, struggling along in a dead-end corporate job, depressed, and without a purpose in life, but I had amazing, grounded friends at this job. We would laugh and go out and talk about real shit. I would joke with them that I was jealous of the kind of person that could get up at 7am on a Saturday and meet their friends with decaf coffee or even worse, just water, in hand. That kind of person would walk around the lake--that's right, they exercise--at a well-coordinated social event in tight yoga pants! What the hell guys?! I was so far from being that kind of person. I hated my job, I slept through hangovers, and I had no direction in life or motivation like those "Crispy" people did. That day with my friends, the word just jumped out of my mouth, like it's fresh, free of hangovers, healthy behavior, Crispy crunchy. Oh and Crunchy is a whole other story that we'll save for another day. Btw, Urban Dictionary caught wind of my idea and added it's own definition of Crispy, but I tell myself that I am the original creator.
So I continued to point out these Crispy people in a light-hearted but snide manner, to make others laugh and at the time to excuse myself from being perfect somehow. Maybe this was the start of my self-love journey?
Examples Of Crispy
1. Getting up before work to workout!! That's even more work.
2. Helping your in-laws open their cabin for the season. Whaaa?
3. Just having 1 alcoholic beverage at a social gathering because you have an early meeting with your editor.
4. Meal prepping (unfathomable).
5. MARATHON RUNNING?! I stay awake seething at night thinking about these Super Crispies and their completely insane hobby of running of any sort, let alone 23 fucking miles!
6. Taking an improv class...with your friends (because you planned ahead).
7. Having a baby or planning someone else's baby shower (omg).
8. Backpacking through... you guessed it, EUROPE (obvious one).
9. Keeping in touch with your high school, college, work friends, AND your partner's friends.
10. Remembering people's birthdays... and also getting them a present.
Believe me the list goes on, but I want to hear from you. (Post your ideas about the concept of Crispy and tag the podcast!) As you may have noticed, my list came with a tinge of jealousy and flat out confusion. If you do any of those things, you are a fantastic person, and congratulations, you have energy. For people like me, with a brain disorder, everything is harder: planning things, making money, keeping in touch with people, and most of all getting out of bed to exercise! How in the hell... I'll never get it.
The concept of "Crispy" I am describing came from a 25 year old just doing her best, but her definition was incomplete. A new woman, now in her mid-thirties, a bit weathered from life but more introspective than ever, discovered the other side of this Crispy Concept. It's not just these behaviors listed above that count as Crispy. I now realize, that Crispy goes deeper than this.
Let's explore: How do you describe these Crispy people?
1. They look happy
2. They have energy
3. They seem to love life
4. They are in the moment
5. Maybe they have a spiritual core or believe in the Greater Universe or Mother Nature
6. They seem to be easy on themselves and don't indulge in negative thinking
7. Their brains may be working well, or they take medicine that works for them
8. They have passions and hobbies
9. They seek connection from others
10. They have faith of some sort, that good will come to them
Two words are screaming relentlessly: "BUT How!?" How are these Crispy human beings operating at such high functioning levels? What is the core of their being that fuels the outer happy existence? I am not satisfied with my own list. You and I are unpacking this together as we go. Okay, so the second list still reflects outside layers of the human being. What if we go deeper, yes, let's peel back just a couple more layers.
I have a theory.
These Crispy people are out there, loving life, enjoying each moment, moving gracefully through hardships, and love on others because...here is comes...
THEY LOVE THEMSELVES! At the very least, they think they are good enough. They are worthy. They have a place at the table of life... Good for them...
How do I know this? Because for much of my late teens, twenties, and some of my thirties, and still in the recent past... I hated myself!! I mean loathed myself at times: I hated my body and its every flaw, my brain, my age, my job. And so I lived a miserable existence of flying thought demons, spindling anxiety, and 60 lb depressions with occasional reprieves. Medication has helped my brain work so much better and has truly saved my life, but I suffered more than I had to even when it wasn't necessarily because of my biology, it was because my core beliefs were that I was unworthy, incapable, not good enough, and just an outright bad person. A tormenting voice told me that I was sad frumpy human being who will never become anyone, who was flawed, unlovable, and eternally damned to a small insignificant existence of internal torture until her last day, which I had hoped would come sooner than later... WHOA, I just got pretty dark... which is okay.
Okay, so what does my tumultuous journey through despair have to do with my redefining what Crispy really is? Well... when you live the opposite of Crispy (as defined above), you have no good feelings AT ALL, you have total disconnect from everyone and everything, and you are disabled in almost every way, incapable of getting out of bed, of making plans with friends, or enjoying anything...
And then you are given a new life...
...A life reminiscent of the good parts of your happier childhood, but better, a whole new existence, a glimpse of joy and freedom, of what life is really about, you experience clarity beyond explanation... and you finally see exactly what happiness is. You can see all of its parts and how it creates a blossoming soul and person...
But I have bipolar disorder, according to my psychiatrist.
And then this glimpse of this profound discovery that has finally presented itself for you gets RIPPED away...
...only have it given back to you...
And then torn from your fragile grip once again... and again and again for years.
Until you realize, out of pure survival instinct, that there must be meaning behind this, a reason for this violent and unrelenting storm, that at the same time, subsides and allows the clouds to part and the peace of the warm and friendly sun to seep into your whole body. Holy shit. I know. Trust me. I know.
A very wise friend listened one night at a sports bar in Bloomington, Minnesota, and they told me:
"You're going through your transformation."
"What?!" I asked her.
"Yes, you need to look at all this through a spiritual lens, not just a mental health lens."
And that changed everything for me. I held tight to this new concept of transformation and I believed it with all my heart because it gave my life meaning, like there was a plan, like maybe I designed my own journey in a past life! Wow!
My new mission in life, over everything else, was to learn the lessons that I needed to learn in order to transform, in order to free myself from my demons, compulsions, and depression where medication could not help me.
And I already knew the one BIG lesson that was waiting for me:
I couldn't move another INCH in my life if I did not, firstly, ACCEPT myself, then secondly, LOVE myself. From my appearance to letting things be imperfect to showing up to life as a person who is worthy. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done, I literally reshaped my brain to be what I want. I am still vigilantly rewiring my brain these days too.
I saw some results. I accepted, then I faked it until I made it, pretended to be the self-loving Avery I wanted to be. The antidote to my anxiety was always to accept and let go. Pretty simple.
And now I am spending more time on the "Other Side" in my happy realm. I still drift into the abyss occasionally, but I don't get sucked in so deep or far away from safety, and then the current always takes me back to land and sunshine. But it's still a battle and I live my life the way I want to. Being up on land more, I am dabbling in doing those Crispy things, not the same as the really Crispies but I don't mind. I've got my podcast, my music, my dog, and my plants... oh, and my sense of humor!
And now we arrive here. What a journey. At this new, but always evolving definition of Crispy. So what is Crispy, really? Are you ready? Here is it, Crispy is...
Whatever you want it to be!
Surprised by that? Hehe! I know, I know, you may have wanted a more concrete answer, but there can't be. Crispy is you, living your life, on your terms, doing the things you love to do, but not basing your worth on whether you do them or not, and no matter what you do, Crispy is always coming from a place of self-love. These outer crispy results you see in your life are connected to your inner Journey, your Crispy Soul Journey, which we'll talk more about in future posts, of course!
So this is the beginning of the Crispy Soul Movement. It's about your personal/spiritual/mental transformation too. We're doing it now! I hope you enjoyed my very first article. Go easy on me in the comments, okay? But you should post your reactions and what is Crispy to you. Thank you for going on this journey and I look forward to more Crispy adventures and challenges! We can do it.
*Make sure to come back and read more Crispy Blog Posts and also tune in to The Crispy Soul Podcast, a monthly podcast covering matters of the soul and all things Crispy. And please like our Facebook Page, follow us on Instagram, and listen to that Podcast!