Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Do not stand in the shadow; Come into the light
"The great challenge is to refuse to let the bad things that happen to us do bad things to us. That is the crucial difference between adversity and tragedy."
For some time now, I have felt that there is a difference between me and most other people. Not everyone, I have found people that I feel are like me in this way and I do gravitate to them. But for the longest time I couldn't figure out exactly what this thing was that was making me feel set apart from the general crowd. Today at work my boss was talking about how stressed out she has been at work and at home. I made the casual comment that my home was a drama free zone. And she, along with some other co-workers, asked how I managed that. Er...um...I don't know exactly. I think it helps that I live with and am married to a like minded person. He and I are both in agreement when it comes to stupid drama, there really is no need for it. So, it sort of stays on the outside of this home even if it might be going on in our family.
Besides the daily drama that other people allow to rule their lives, I think about the bigger things. The 'tragedies' that happen to people, the sad spots, the mis-steps, the let downs, the unfortunate events in peoples lives that change us forever. People allow these events to define them and their lives. They hold on, so very tightly, to the bad things that have happened to them. Sometimes to the point that they cannot take a step beyond that event. I'm not going to sit here and tell y'all that I have never hung on to a bad thing that has happened to me. Oh, I hung on alright. I held a grudge to the point of being bitter. But, I don't think that it affected me so badly that someone on the outside stepped back and thought, 'what is WRONG with her?'. You know what I mean? You can pick those people out, the ones that have let some awful event in their lives hold them back. Some of those people have been my good friends, and I wanted to shake them until their brains rattled out of their heads.
My Dad is an alcholic. My Mom is a workaholic (born of necessity, I understand). My parents were divorced when I was 10. My Dad was pretty much absent from my life from that point on, if not physically then emotionally. When I was 11, I was inappropriately touched by my Dad's room mate. I won't go so far as to way I was molested, thank goodness, but it was enough to make me ashamed of nearly all sexual contact I had until I was with my husband. I now work in the same center with that same man, I see him about every other day, I have never spoken to him, I probably never will. I was having sex way too young, way..way too young. I must have been looking for something, it certainly wasn't the pleasure that I kept doing it for..at least in the beginning. We were poor growing up. My Mom, my sister, and I have lived with other people since my parents have been divorced, except for a time or two. Once when we did have our own apartment the ceiling caved in on our bedroom. Thank goodness no one was sleeping in it at the time. I believe that I might have had a slight eating disorder when I was in the 10th grade. I never ate. My Mom would give me lunch money and I remember I had saved up $60 from not eating lunch. Please understand, I don't remember being depressed or anything like that but looking back now I can see that there was something wrong with they way I was feeling about myself. My husband and I have nearly drowned ourselves in debt, to the point of seeking out a bankruptcy advisor. We have dealt with lost jobs and unemployment. I can't get pregnant, I've had one tubal pregnancy and have lost my right fallopian tube.
I'm not laying this all for pity, or for a pat on the back. I feel like a normal person, just like you. We all have our tragadies, all of us. But, even though those things up there have shaped me in some fashion, they still do not define who I am. When I think to describe myself those events do not first jump to mind. They are accents of my life, not main events..no matter how life-altering they seem.
There are more events that I haven't listed, I'm sure. And I know there will be more, probably lots. But, I see my life by the highlights, not the shadows. I challenge you to do the same. Do not stand in the shadows..no, you must always...always...step back into the light.