Monday, 25 October 2010

Taking (back) control

OK, I confess up front. I've been having an off few days just recently. Life as a single gal has been getting me down a bit. Quite a bit. Well, a lot really. I've been really down for some time and the last couple of weeks have been tough.

Not that many people would necessarily know. One of my traits is to 'put on a good face' in public and keep up the 'life and soul' character I tend to adopt in my everyday dealings. In part, this is about not wanting to inflict my unhappiness on other people, and in part it's pure self preservation - I can't talk about it without getting upset and the last thing I want is for people to see me too upset. Of course, there are friends that I have been a bit more open with - and some of my online buddies will be thinking, what's she talking about? She's pretty candid with us about being miserable! - but on the whole I tend to keep stuff to myself until it gets too much and I ex/implode.

But the point at which I feel I have to speak to someone about it is usually a pretty good sign that I need to get a grip. Being tearful for no reason in public is not something I enjoy, and 18 months after becoming (voluntarily) single again, it's not something that gets - or deserves, to be fair - a lot of sympathy. I am, however, blessed by amazing friends who, once they know, really go out of their way to cheer me up - and for that I am truly grateful. I only hope I'm half as good a friend to them as they are to me when/if the time ever comes.

But to get to the point of the post - I have been feeling sorry for myself recently. Struggling with being entirely on my own - left to deal with all the mishaps and daily tribulations of modern life. It's hard when you come home from a crap day at work and there's no-one there to share your pain, give you a hug and be utterly and completely on your side. It's hard waking up morning after morning on your own, when the only physical contact you get is at your dance class or the beauty salon. It's hard rocking up to events on your own and launching yourself into other people's conversations rather than stand around the edge feeling like a spare part among all the couples around you. It's hard when you feel like you're imposing on other people's lives, when you need to rely on friends for social company when you know they have so many other calls on their times. In short, it's hard being one in a world made for two.

Today at work I was researching something online* and I stumbled across a couple of quotes - the first made me think about how I come to the issues I face in my life and the degree to which I let them control me, rather than me take charge of them. It chimed with 2 conversations I've had recently with well-meaning friends but whose advice I wasn't ready to take at the time - both of them, in their separate ways, said what I need is a plan, an active approach to sorting myself out, a concerted effort on my part to fix my problems rather than waiting for the world to do it for me.

The second quote reminded me that we only get one shot at all of this, and it's far preferable to have a good time than a bad one.

Now I know it's not that easy. Just thinking doesn't actually make it so. But it can help. And being positive, thinking happy thoughts and finding joy in my every day life will all make me feel better. And if I feel better, it's much more likely that it will be better. My life, all in all, isn't really that bad - it's difficult at times but I have my health, I can afford to live, I have family and friends who love me and I am safe. When you look at it that way, I'm pretty lucky really!

So, now (if you're still awake) you're wondering what the quotes were? Number one was

"for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so"

Good old Willie Shakespeare with his tragic hero and deep thinker, Hamlet (although in retrospect, perhaps not such a good role model for throwing off melancholy and tragedy!)

And number two was

"You live longer once you realise that any time spent being unhappy is wasted"

As for the photograph, I have been wallowing a bit over recent weeks!!

*If you're interested, I was researching for a discussion on deprivation and poverty that's coming up next month. I was looking for a quote that had been used at a seminar I was at the other week - which I found on a brilliant quotes website and which I've now got bookmarked at work and at home. 

But I also found a couple of other pithy comments, my favourite of which is probably

The poor we have always with us, and the purpose
of the Lord in providing the poor is to enable us
of the better classes to amuse ourselves by
investigating them and uplifting them and at dinners
telling how charitable we are. The poor don't like
it much. They have no gratitude. ...But if they are
taken firmly in hand they can be kept reasonably
dependent and interesting for years.
--Sinclair Lewis (1885—1951)
closely followed by
Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity
over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the
criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the
well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.
--Herman Melville (1819—1891)

but there were lots more too, including some challenging ones that I'll probably use. 

And the one I was looking for?

I used to think I was poor. Then they told me I was not poor, I was
needy. Then they said it was self-defeating to think I was needy;
instead, I was deprived. Then they said deprived had a bad image;
I was really underpriviledged. The they said underprivileged
was overused, I was disadvantaged. 
I still do not have a dime but I have a great vocabulary.
--Jules Feiffer

1 comment:

ebbandflo said...

bravo! you're heading in the right direction. it's horrible when you;re in the woods and cannot see it for the trees (or whatever) but when you're in it, in the thick then nothing seems to make sense and everything seems down and everyone else seems more blessed/advantaged/coupled up and so on.

i still spit at the idea of positive thinking but it does help. i would rather wade thru shark-infested waters than practice gratitude but keeping a positive thoughts journal for a couple of weeks seemed to turn my mind around. it was very focused (heck, i wasn't going to grateful for every sodding thing) but it did help me take some more control of a certain area of my life by starting to think more clearly ....

.... at this stage you're probably cancelling your ticket so i shall stop (and save for 'in person' mwa ha ha)