I know my blog is about positivity and all that; however, life is not always a bucket of love filled with beautiful flowers. Sometimes life is trashy and makes one feel so low, like a real loser. It happens and that is okay. We pick ourselves up, often with the love and kicking support of a best friend, or more than one as at times it takes a village to get us back up on our feet and seeing rays of sunshine. Hard times make us tougher and teach us how to activate that protective shell, which can be a detriment when we need to feel and love fully.
I am working through Zen as F*ck – A Journal for Practicing the Mindful art of Not Giving a Sh*t by Monica Sweeney. It would offend the more sensitive folks but it has become my backup journal to my regular blank pages of random, or not so random, recordation of my thoughts. Anyway, the pages I fell upon this morning involved on one side to write down “What is something someone said about you or to you that made you feel like the contents of a dumpster?” This one was easy, even after so many years…why…because it hurt so badly that so far, only one other shocking life event has ranked right up there with the one from 1996…yes…1996. I was serving on Active Duty in the US Army, nearly halfway through my twenty year career, and had completed my training to become a Warrant Officer, a technical expert in my field. Here is what I wrote: 1996 – Divorce Trial Judge, Manhattan, KS…He told me I had done an admirable job in taking care of my family but due to my career I was unfit to be a mother and primary care giver, custodial parent, for my young daughter. Therein I lost custody of my dearest little one, my Alexandra. My best friend with whom I grew up…Care Bear…saved me from myself and giving up on my career I loved by resigning my new commission and quitting, which was my dumpster trash thought after being shredded to a pulp of anger and savage pain in court. On to the light.
On the next page my assignment was to then write down “What’s one thing someone said about you or to you that made you feel incredible?” Two circumstances actually popped into my head so I wrote them down. Both had to do with my work in academia, with my two Master Degree programs – MS in 2001 and MA in 2020. In September 2001 my US Army senior advisor gave me a glowing rating and recommended me for PhD work in Russian Studies. The latter did not happen for several reasons, among them our prevailing focus in the Middle East…that is OKAY. In October 2020, my amazing thesis professor loved my Literature Review and complimented my overall work, as she had during the other two courses I took with her. The connection here is not lost on me. These are the thoughts that prevailed above many others because they are TANGIBLE achievements, ones that I can hold onto FOREVER and that NO ONE can take from me…period. I WON and cannot lose these awards and rewards for my diligent work. The third step of this drill was to “Scribble out the first one with abandon. Circle the second one [two in my case], say it out loud, and take in all its goodness.” I scrawled over the entry from 1996 with my pencil at random and circled my 2001 and 2021 entries in blue, of course as blue/teal are my favorite colors…okay I also really like purple/lavender.
The author summed this up as “cherry-picking” one’s feelings. She is on to something in terms everyone can appreciate, even those who may be offended by her frank and raw approach, which good/bad/indifferent, it suits me. Cherry-picking one’s feelings is easier said than done; however, if we try it, we can achieve progress. It is about one’s perspective, adapting and overcoming the ilk in life. Growing up I loved Erma Bombeck and her approach to life. I still love Erma and as books tend to move around over the years, I bought a volume with four of her “best-loved” works at my favorite used bookstore out here, Wonderbooks in Frederick, MD.
– The Grass Is Always Greener over the Septic Tank;
– If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries – What Am I Doing in the Pits?;
– Aunt Erma’s Cope Book – How to Get from Monday to Friday…in 12 Days; and
– Motherhood: The Second Oldest Profession.
So, this post really is about the positivity in one’s ability to at least try and let go, adapt and overcome adversity. I try to remember that too many people have been through worse events. I have my adult daughter and grandson, although they live halfway across the country, in my life and inner circle of love and friendship that keeps me spinning in a glow of warm yellow light and blue sky. Namaste.