*I’m not sure why I wrote this or what really prompted this stream of consciousness. The delete button seemed really appealing, but then I remembered that I didn’t think anyone would find many of my blog posts very interesting. I have been surprised many times over what touches people. Thus the reason I decided to post today anyway.
I used to write a lot – when things seemed very depressing and dramatic. I had a lot to say then. Inspiration overwhelmed me and pages dissolved day after day full of pathetic self-pity. But isn’t that common? Inspiration from pain? However, on my walk yesterday, while listening to the pounding beats of Fall Out Boy, I was stunned by the surge of contentment echoing through my body. With each footstep hitting the pavement, I was in awe of my life.
I started to think that people really only fit into two categories:
It is no joke when people have truly been victimized, I am not making light of that at all. But, I do think that there is a personal perspective that separates these two categories. I think that we can decide which category that we want to live our lives.
There were a lot of years I acted like a victim. I didn’t take control of my life; I let life take control of me instead. My perception was that I was helpless to make my life different from what it was – I simply had to take the cards dealt to me and suffer through as best I could. Ironically, though, if I were being truly honest, most of these “cards” were ones that I drew myself. I created the messes that kept me oppressed. They were poor choices that I kept making over and over again. Sometimes I wonder at what point I decided living in all the drama was better than living without it – unless you have been in a similar darkness, it is hard to understand why some of us don’t just “snap out of it”. There is a comfort in living with fear and unhappiness because it is a known factor. Change is scary and might end up being worse.
Or at least that is what kept me tied to such a foolish lifestyle.
I heard a speaker once say something like this:
Most people won’t help themselves until the fear of staying the same becomes greater than the fear of change.
It was shortly after hearing those words that I started to take real stock of my life. There are turning points you can’t forget, and sometimes they happen more than once, but they are clear opportunities that lead us in another direction either physically, mentally or both. For me, it was both. I am disappointed to say that with personal recovery my writing slowed down. I could blame it on being busier, for being more present in my life, but the truth is that writing about contentment seems dull and uninteresting. Children and marriage don’t seem funny to me, just normal now.
Today I had a friend over for lunch. We were sharing how we both finally feel like we are at the point in our lives where we are supposed to be. There is very little drama. Not that there aren’t days of frustration or disappointment, but it doesn’t cripple us anymore. We take things in stride and come up with a plan of attack almost immediately rather than disengage and fall victim to our fears. I am so thankful that DW took the time to get to know me before making a judgement about me. If someone had handed him my life’s resume at that time, I would never have gotten an interview. I was a 28 year-old single mom living with my parents who had just graduated from college and was in-between jobs. Sounds promising, right? Can you imagine the conversation with his mom? I certainly can’t. Although my life was in transition, my spirit wasn’t, it was finally behaving like the victor. What I saw was an independent woman who figured out a way to finish school while raising her daughter. I saw a woman who hit the pavement hard to find a job with good health benefits, who was finally able to buy her first car and was about to put the deposit down on her first apartment all on her own. I’ve been seeing myself through those eyes ever since.
It is something that I think a lot of writers face – figuring out what to say. No doubt it is easier to write about pain than about possibility. I understand that writers should be sharing some of our dirtier stories so that others can learn and benefit from our mistakes. I understand that it is sometimes a cleansing process and helps us see things more clearly. It also allows us to say, “Yes – that really happened and I really overcame”. But it can’t be all that defines us. We are the sum of all our parts – the good ones too.
And if you aren’t a writer, this still applies to you. You do not have to live with a victim mentality. Choose to be the victor in your life and embrace happiness. Let your actions be your words. Is there something in your life you should change? What are you afraid to change?
Here’s what I am going to change: I am going to use this summer as my writing workshop. My goal is to start submitting more work, really seek out more writing “jobs” and see where it takes me. It has been wonderful to get positive feedback. I feel encouraged to share more and more everyday. But it is hard to not want to just write about my sob stories and dredge up depressing dities about my past. One of my newest projects was being accepted as a contributing writer for Blissfully Domestic in their humor section once a month. I’m not going to lie, I’m terrified that I will have nothing to say. I’ve never really considered myself very funny! This will certainly require me to be more aware and be a better note taker.
But I am ready – I will not be victim to my fear of not being liked or funny. I will be the victor here, and believe enough in myself to produce.