Dealing With Tough Sh!t
for Talk Tuesday
to you all last week. It was raw and honest and scary for me. But I have come to realize that dealing with the tough stuff is what defines you. It not totally who you are, but it forms such a huge part of you and tells a lot about you.
Most people deal with tough stuff in one of five ways:
1. Ignore or run from it.
2. Fall apart.
3. Scream and throw a tantrum.
4. Repress it.
5. Accept it and move forward.
I have dealt with some pretty tough sh!t in my days. From a father who went to prison, the step-dad from HE double hockey sticks, not valuing myself as a teen and young adult, body image issues, divorce and post partum depression; I have run the gamut of emotional baggage. I have tried every coping mechanism and reacted in every way possible.
As a child I just repressed it or ignored it. I knew there were issues in our family, but I just felt helpless. There wasn't much I could do so I just didn't deal with it. It worked for a while, but eventually it caught up to me. That led to me not being able to deal with tough stuff or stuff at all.
I moved into the fall apart stage. I was so overwhelmed and tired of dealing with things that I just couldn't. Anything that happened became a big thing and I just stopped functioning. It was lonely and dark and destructive. It came during junior year of high school when I hit the lowest of lows. I think it was at this point that I truly began to just stop caring about myself. I went through the motions, but internally I was a scared, angry teenager.
From the outside looking in, I made straight A's, was a cheerleader, class president, had a part-time job, popular, AP student. I hate a super sweet boyfriend who adored me. At home, I fought constantly with my mother. I mean knock down drag out fights where I threatened to cut my hair out from her hand and practically ran her over with the car in order to leave home.
My college years tended to be the same. I just ignored feeling when things were tough. But that slowly turned into tears and screams and tantrums.
In my early 20s and during my first marriage, I screamed a lot. I would throw stuff, break things, be physically aggressive. It was like I needed to release all those years of pent up emotions. But it came for little stuff. I would let things build and fester until the smallest thing would set me off.
I recall slapping my law school boyfriend across the face when he received the board position I wanted. I was mortified and didn't care all at the same time. I was supposed to be an adult, yet I had no clue how to deal with life.
My divorce brought it all to a head. I acted calm and cool about it during the 60 days, but then it was final and all I wanted to do was literally kill someone. I went through all five coping ways and hated myself. It was but for the grace of God and some amazing friends that I was able to see the light through the forest.
Acceptance is so hard. I think for me, and other strong women like me, we see acceptance as a sign of weakness. But the truth is, acceptance and moving forward is the true sign of strength. Sh!t happens. Your heart will get broken, people will let you down, someone will lie to you, cheat you, talk about you behind your back. Someone will get promoted before you, you will get fired, you will screw something up at work, in life with your kids.... Its life. But its how you deal with it that shows your strength as a woman, mom, wife and friend. The ability to see that the word will not end and life does go on is the beauty.
Yes, I still have my moments (we all do). I have screamed and cried, I have held it in, ignored it, etc... But then I put on my confident pants and say OK life, what next?
Be strong. Be brave. Be YOU. But know when life doesn't go as planned, maybe its because its not how its to be written.