Wednesday, August 29, 2012

bending with the breeze

This year, with its one blow after another nature, may be the single most transformative year of my life. All that tragedy can't help but change a person, at least a little bit. It's not the sort of change and transformation that you can anticipate, like graduating from university or planning to get married or buy your first home. The situations just wake up and say "Hi, it's the 17th of the month, and life's about to change again".

Life changes don't let you plan, they just happen and take you along for the ride. It's a bit like running around in a giant hampster ball, trying desperately to keep up and never completely in control of your direction. The changes this year have been the sort of changes that you can't figure out a way to undo, the best you can do is adapt and learn to live within the new parameters of your life.

Adapt I have done. I've had to try to learn how to be my best self even in my worst circumstances. I've had to figure out a way to stand up with some grace and dignity when the world is falling apart around me. I've had to suck it up and pull myself together for job interviews and for work. I've had to look for silver linings, because even when life is one hard blow after another you can't let yourself be unhappy forever. You can't simply wallow in the misery; getting up in the morning, getting dressed and going through the motions isn't enough because there aren't enough days left in anyone's life and we have to live each one as best as we can.

Sometimes that means crawling back to bed to cry. More often than that, it means finding something in the day to look forward to, acknowledging and accepting the sorrow while refusing to let it define you.

I've surprised myself a little bit with how I've handled everything. Seeing myself somehow able to maintain some semblance of professionalism and competence at work in the last month while I was completely preoccupied by the train wreck that was July's suckage was a shock to me. I've always been very affected by the difficult moments in life and I haven't historically had an easy time containing that while at work. I've noticed some of my worst qualities taking on softer edges; curbing my temper when I want to lash out at anything and instead admitting "So, that thing that happened a few weeks back? It's making me feel like XYZ right now, and I really need for you to do a little WXY to help me out with this". Doing that instead of just directing my anger at Bunny for no apparent reason is a huge deal for me.

All this upheaval and sorrow has, somehow, led me to a sense of peace that didn't exist before. Truly encountering a terrible situation that I couldn't change, that nobody could change and recognizing that fighting was futile has given me some serenity. I can control myself, my actions and how I handle my emotions but I can't control too much else. This is a fundamental truth of life, but I hadn't really embraced it before. I don't think I had the experience necessary to embrace it. Maybe some of it is to do with the fact that I had never truly been affected by a death in my adult life, and maybe some of it is to do with the fact that the difficult situations I faced as a child where human ones, caused by human monsters and I felt like I should have had more control than I did. I never learned to respect the limits of my own influence.

I don't freak out as much as I used to. Crying because I lost some jewellery seems pretty ridiculous after the year I've had (unless the jewellery is really just the straw that broke the camel's back). I'm more willing to put myself out there, and I'm learning how to speak up for myself a little bit. I spend more time being sad than I used to, and I'm a little withdrawn lately but that's situational and I push myself to break out of the cage a little bit.

And that's just scratching the surface. It's affected how I relate to other people, both those in my life and strangers. It's affected how I relate to the universe and my relationship with the grand Whoever up there. It's changed a lot of things. The only thing that I'm sure of is that there's more change coming.

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