“You don’t have the right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding.” – Cheryl Strayed
Everyone has inmate days. The ones you feel like you are wearing an oversized tangerine colored jumpsuit while getting your ass kicked by everyone you come in contact with. The days you feel the clichéd dark cloud drenching your freshly done hair and soaking your socks through your brand new rainboots. Yet, have you ever thought about the fact that what you are bitching about is what someone else may be yearning for? Though doubtful anyone is going to wish for freshly done hair to be saturated or flooded out rainboots. What someone might be wishing for is the feeling of walking out of the salon with freshly done hair. The extra strut to your step a new cut and color gives as you tackle your day. Or the means to get brand new rain boots to walk their kid to school or to work without looking like they missed their ride on Noah’s Ark. Your chaotic schedule of work and chasing children only to pass out without a shower in your bed at 11:30pm is actually someone else’s goal. Granted this is difficult to see in the midst of your own body odor but being grateful takes practice. This is not a guilt post, but a gratitude post (promise).
One day surrounded by women I admire and respect, I was voicing my frustrations about about my lot in life and my current complaints with the black cloud I couldn’t seem to escape. My disgruntled grumbles were met with validating head nods and “Umm Humm,” “I get it,” “I hear you!”
Which only ignited my flame of discontent. Until a lady I will call Jane hit me with the toughest of love.
“You have a roof over your head right?”
There was an awkward silence. She waited for me to respond as did the rest of the ladies who had joined my bitching battle cry.
I finally responded “well, yes.”
Without hesitation she moved on, “and are your lights on at home?”
I didn’t wait nearly as long to respond quietly, “yes.”
“And do you have food in your fridge to feed your babies? And gas in your car to get to your job which pays you on time?”
“Yes. Yes. Yes.”
Jane told me she understood my troubles seemed big, but the attitude of gratitude can change my perspective. This was not rocket science. This was something I had heard before. However, in that moment, it hit me like the proverbial palm to the face. Be grateful first and the troubles shrink.
This does not minimize the struggles life throws at you. Your struggles are real, and life can be painful. However, every day you wake up and have breath in your lungs is something to be grateful for. There are people who depend on you. People you may not even realize. You are a meaningful part of this world and you have an entire day in front of you to do something powerful with.
It is easier to be angry. There is much to be angry about and we have a constant connection with our hand-held-information-super-highways. Those little devices tell us what to be angry about. They give us unlimited opportunities to compare ourselves to each other. We all have a front seat to the unrealistic expectations of living a #BLESSED life and then not only hating ourselves for not living up to the unattainable goal, but also having disdain for other women who look like they have it all.
Here’s a news flash…wait for it…NO ONE HAS IT ALL! (Boom!)
Every. Single. One of us has done their time in the tangerine jumpsuit getting their ass kicked. Your beatdown may look different than mine. You may be able to hide your scars better than me. However, the truth of the matter is, we all have scars and we all have a record. You may have the resources to have yours sealed up a little tighter than mine, but in no way does that make you better than me.
What would social media look like if our posts showed our worst days? It doesn’t have to be so drastic…let’s start with our not-best-days. What if your aimless scrolls gave you a sense of camaraderie not hostility? What if we related to each other instead of judged? What if we celebrate each other instead of competing for likes? I am certain that somewhere there is a woman who is crossing her fingers, praying to something and wishing on a star for the stress that comes along with the privilege of being you. Find some gratitude for your current beatdown. Someone else is hoping for it.
There are so many triggers for anger that we can take our pick what to cling to for that moment and let it rip through our day wreaking havoc on everything we touch. When we are living our best life, is that because we have somehow managed to sidestep the beatdown? Are we #BLESSED because we listened to the weather forecast and avoided the black-cloud storm that was bellowing our way? Or are we succeeding not in spite of our failures but because of them? Are we learning each day from the punches we endure, the rain showers we dry out from and taking off the tangerine jumpsuit to step out in our crowns and shades?
We are multidimensional. Not all good or all bad. Not winning or losing. Not #BLESSED or #FML. #KILLINIT. All of it. Loving because we know loss. Pride despite knowing shame. Peace in the midst of chaos. Grace while knowing pain.
Start your day with gratitude to protect against the black cloud storm.
Wear your scars from your bad day battles with pride.
Be grateful for your unsealed record and brighten up your feed with reality, not resentments.
Everyday we are all #KILLINIT. So let’s celebrate that!