This Thoughtful Thursday I want to look at the opposite end of the spectrum from last week’s Thankful Thursday: feeling sorry for yourself. Don’t get me wrong…we all do it. If we are human anyway.
There is nothing wrong with that…in the short run. What I want to talk about is that friend…you know the one, the one that complains every f’ing time you talk…about the same old shit, but never does anything to change it. The ‘poor little me’ syndrome (that is what pobrecita means in Spanish).
I have never hidden the fact that six years ago I suffered a nervous breakdown, major depressive episode, whatever is the new vogue word of the month for it. I had lost three jobs in two years, all through no fault of my own. I was in a foreign country. My husband had cheated me. My daughter was having seizures almost every night and I could not get the doctors to listen to me. And then…I lost a baby. It was all just too much.
But even through all of that…including walking down the street crying, shaking and barely able to breathe with some people staring at me and others making a point to look away…never once did I give up.
Oh, sure, there were more than one morning when I wanted to just lay in bed and cry. Pull the duvet up and just not move at all…maybe life would pass me by and then the pain would be a bit more bearable.
I did not. I got up. I got PanKwake dressed and took her to nursery. Some mornings I stayed and had coffee, talked to the manager there and even did a bit of volunteer work. Some days I went back home and wrote my dirty stories. I even managed to finish second that year in Literotica’s Survivor Contest.
I did grief therapy. I found a job re-training program for people with mental health issues and I turned something that I loved…cooking…into another career. (Yeah, that part of Jill’s back story in The Arrangement is all me.) My first day in the kitchen with that cooking class…I was so nervous that the glands in my neck swelled up and I could not move it for three days afterwards.
But I stuck it out and I changed my life. Like I said, I became a cook in another day center for those with mental health issues. I loved cooking for them because I knew for many this was the only nutritious, hot meal they would have that day. I left my husband. PanKwake and I moved into a place all our own. I began to pick up the pieces and put the jig saw puzzle of my life back together.
Is it perfect? Hell, no! There is still more month than there is money. I am still stuck in a country and culture that I will never be a part of…wanting to go home so damned bad that at moments like this it actually hurts. It is still hard to make the kind of close friends that I find back home. But even this is a hell of a long way from where I was back then.
What makes me different than other people? Why did I have the courage to keep going when others might have given up…as I was tempted to do? How did I keep plodding through? How do I still?
Simple…the only difference between winners and losers in this boxing match called life is not the number of times you get knocked down…or even out. But the number of times you get your sorry ass up off that mat and back into the match. You see in life, despite what society would have you believe, there is no ‘winner by decision.’ As long as you keep fighting…you are already a winner.
I try to surround myself with people like that too. People that no matter the odds against them just keep getting back up. People not afraid of doing the hard work that it takes to change their lives. Of course, as with everyone, there are always a few friends…those ‘poor little me’ types. Usually I try my Mary Sunshine number on them…pulling them forward, even if it is two steps forward and one step back.
The thing is…you cannot allow those types to pull you down to their level. Even if you pass them in the dust. Hold out a hand. Offer a long stiff drink of the refreshing water of the truth. Volunteer to help them along this bumpy road of life. But if they don’t want your help, if they are determined to just lie in the gutter, you keep right on trucking. Maybe one day they will be inspired enough by all you have overcome to pull their sorry ass up and give it another go.
And maybe they will just lay there complaining and trying their damnedest to pull everyone else around them down too. All the while complaining about how tough they have it, how unfair life is, and how your success just is not right.
That is none of your concern either…just keep on going. Because…