A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend of mine about people in our respective worlds. I’m not sure how we got on the topic, which is often the case when we get together and our words flow like the stream created from melting snow… moving through the world without any sense of direction except forward. I
not so secretly love those times… no rules… free to just be… but I digress…
We were talking about people who we care about but can’t be in our lives much any longer and the running theme was about negativity…
I can’t speak for you, or anyone else for that matter, as I only have my own past and experiences from which to draw… but for me, having lived in the agonizing isolation of the blackest of blacks, I’m personally terrified to return… I make every effort to keep myself no darker than the “grey”… I’m terrified that if I slip down that slippery slope I won’t be able to find my way home again.
I feed off of the energy and emotions of those around me. Good, bad or ugly. Like the dogs. When there is an influx of excitement, I’m swept up in it and become a different person than the one you might normally know. Doubt that? Go to a high school football game with me.
When in a situation that warrants it, the mama bear in me stands stoic, senses heightened, ready to pounce at the slightest movement in the grass. Mess with my kids and you will see a side of me that few are privy to.
When in “work mode” I can be all business when needed and fun and light hearted when that’s the environment.
When I’m “home,” whether physically in my house or elsewhere, that’s where my true self can be. Home is anywhere I feel safe.
I’m a chameleon… blending into the environments I find myself in. I respond to all the energies and feelings and emotions around me… to a fault…
So it stands to reason that when in the presence of someone who chooses to live in the most negative of spaces – where they constantly profess to be a victim and never change the circumstances that cause the feelings of despair, I have to leave. Permanently. I can’t be around it for fear that it will consume me. Negativity around me causes physical discomfort too. One that I can’t ignore.
In my conversation with my friend, a statement was made along the lines of “Well, if you knew half of the crap she had been through, you might understand why she is so negative…” and while I can appreciate that we can’t judge people without walking their path, I can’t help but believe that to allow a shady past to color your present and future… is a choice.
I know many of you will likely disagree with that statement. I’m sure someone is out there right now saying – “Well, if you had to deal with ________ you might not feel that way.” And I say to you that shit happens. We are not always in control of the cards we are dealt… but how we play the hand is always up to us.
Years ago, like mid 90’s, one of my favorite movies was Dangerous Minds. (You know, Michelle Pfeiffer is a kick ass teacher who impacts the lives of her students…) There’s a scene in it where She’s trying to tell her students that they have choices. They are in control of their life.
Predictably so, a student calls her on it and accuses her of not knowing the world they live in when she reminds them that they have a choice – it may not be a choice you like but you always have a choice…
That scene has stuck with me since I saw it. It’s powerful isn’t it? To have choices?
We all have our stories. Our pasts may be dark and scary. We may be in the midst of a shitstorm that even I can’t imagine… but we’re all still writing the story of our life and that means we can change how it goes from here.
If you are in a relationship that doesn’t honor you, you can leave. Yes, it may be hard but it is possible. Or, you can choose to stay. That’s your choice.
If you have an illness that is consuming you, you may not be able to chose to NOT be sick, but you have a choice on whether or not you will let that color your outlook on life.
**side note – want proof of this? Check out the Team Gunner Facebook Page. This little dude seriously is a bright spot in my world. He was diagnosed with Leukemia and is such a fighter. Through all the illness and needles and the way this disease has turned his life upside down, he AND HIS FAMILY maintain a positive outlook and an upbeat disposition. That’s powerful. That robs the cancer of it’s power to destroy his spirit and I believe gives him and his family the will to keep fighting. He’s truly my hero and I’m honored to call him and his family friends.***
I’m really fortunate to have similar like-minded people in my world. People who join me in finding silver linings and go all Susie sunshine on me when I’m not. People who remind me daily that our circumstances do NOT define us, but how we respond to them does.