I had a friend in highschool who was constantly chiding me for being a pessimist. “You’re so negative,” he’d tell me. “Why are you such a pessimist?”
“I am not a pessimist,” I’d answer. “I’m a realist. There’s a difference.”
He eventually became my boyfriend for one tragic, drama-filled month of teenaged angst, before he dumped me on Valentine’s Day. Because I’m a saver, I’m pretty sure I still have a lunch bag full of notes he wrote me (folded in that super-awesome neat little triangle style that was so popular in the 80′s and early 90′s) in a box in a closet, alongside yearbooks, pictures, certificates, notes from friends, and other useless memorabilia.
I’ve also stored away that “pessimist” label, never to be thought of again. I’ve learned to think positively, I’ve learned to find beauty in all things, I’ve learned to have faith, and I’ve learned to trust. I actually have a hard time dealing with constant negativity in other people now. I’ve hidden more than one friend on Facebook when I’ve discovered that their statuses were an inveritable stream of “My life is so terrible. Why me? What else can go wrong??” Focusing on the negative certainly never helped anyone, and allowing that kind of thing into your life only serves to bring both parties further down that ladder.
Still, I’m a little freaked out by people who are too positive… the ones who are all hyper spiritual, woo woo, life is all rainbows and sunshine and unicorns. No matter how positive you claim to be, life is messy sometimes. Life is hard sometimes. Life is tiring sometimes. Life is a run-you-over, punch-you-in-the-stomach while kicking-you-in-the-teeth assault sometimes.
All of that to say that the past couple of weeks have been a little…
They’ve kind of been….
They haven’t really…
Well, they blew. And because I’m neither the 16 year old pessimist nor the woo woo rose-colored-glasses-wearer, I’m both acknowledging the fact of their suckiness, and acknowledging the good that has (or will eventually) come from them. There are reasons to be thankful, even on the bad days:
1. My shoulder issues reached a head, I finally admitted to my physical therapist that the therapy just wasn’t working, and a whole new ball started rolling. In the span of just over a week, I had an MRI – along with a painful arthrography - another visit to the sports doctor, and finally a consultation with a surgeon. Surgery is planned and scheduled for three weeks from yesterday. It’ll mean an obvious break from yoga, rehabilitation, and a full recovery that is going to take anywhere from two to three months.
But I’m thankful that the problem is “fixable”; that there’s every reason to believe I’ll eventually be pain-free; and that the technology exists to do so in an outpatient, 40 minute arthroscopic surgery, rather than something more invasive.
2. Several weeks ago, I applied to a brand-new bible-based natural health school. I’m always excited to add on to my education in that area, and I thought, “Cool! A school that combines both my faith and my belief in natural health.” I was really looking forward to it, and to getting an official answer at the beginning of October. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t be accepted. But instead of an acceptance letter, what I got was a stark reminder that I’m no longer really part of that world. (A much longer blog post on the subject is forth-coming) They had issues with my yoga, and my essay on the subject had not convinced them that I was not in fact a part of “the occult.” I could either further try to justify my position and my choices with an additional 1000 word essay, answering a host of questions that were quite honestly a little insulting – both as a yoga teacher AND as a Christian – or I could withdraw my application. I chose the latter. So, no new school for me right now.
But I’m thankful that when given an opportunity to bend to fit and conform to someone else’s ideas of what I should and should not be, I stayed true to myself. I know that I’m following the path that God has for me, and I don’t feel any compulsion to justify that position to someone else just because they have the power to keep me out of their school. There are other schools. And a chance to take another giant step into authenticity is always a good thing, even if it comes in the form of a rejection letter.
3. And finally, Everett (8 years old at the time of this writing) is going through a personal struggle unlike any I’ve experienced with any of the other three kids. And while it is his struggle, like any mother would tell you… seeing your children hurting is in many ways worse than feeling that hurt yourself. I’m walking some new territory as a mom here, and “new” sometimes means terrifying.
But I’m thankful that resources exist to help, and for the knowledge that we’ll both grow stronger through the struggle. Just like a caterpillar, sometimes growth necessitates struggle. And though we’ll have moments of fear and discomfort and even pain, we’ll eventually make our way out of the cocoon into freedom… beautiful, and able to fly.
(Photo by frontendeveloper)