It’s complicated. I don’t want to discuss it. I’d rather everyone didn’t know. It’s not something I like to bring up. Just don’t talk about it.
Life is a complex bowl of muesli. It’s got some good bits, the bits you like and are happy to eat. Then it’s also got the unpleasant bits, the bits that get stuck in your teeth, the bits you’d rather spit out. But it’s impolite to spit out your food, so we swallow it, good and bad, because you don’t always control what goes into the big ol’ cereal bowl of life.
And sometimes, just like muesli, life can be six different kinds of f****d up.
So what do you do? That’s the big question isn’t it? That’s the question for which, if we knew the answer, we’d be rolling in puppies (or money, your choice).
In my experience of the ‘six different kinds…’ the getting through it is all a variation on the theme ‘suck it up, princess’. Sounds harsh, I know. And some of the stuff that we go through, to suck it up and soldier on is not the easy answer some people seem to think it is.
It might be ‘suck it up, going to the shrink is not going to kill you’, or ‘suck it up, someone has to feed and clothe these kids’, or even ‘suck it up, go to the authorities’.
Sounds simple? It really isn’t. Anyone who has dealt with mental illness, divorce, widowhood, the death of a child, family violence, terminal illness or any other traumatic experience is changed by it. And the change can be fundamental, not only in the way we view the world, but in the way we view ourselves.
It’s an old adage, but it’s true, you don’t know how strong you are until you have no other choice. I know because I’ve been through some ‘six different kinds…’ moments that completely changed how I interact with the world around me.
I’ve become more sensitive to mental illness because I’ve suffered from post natal depression.
I’ve become more accepting of difference because I love a kid who lives on the spectrum.
I’ve become more solid because I am the stable place my children need to feel safe.
I’ve become more open because I refuse to be closed off by anyone again.
I’ve become more giving because I’ve had so much taken from me.
I’ve become stronger from having had to walk through fire to do what’s right.
So when some ignorant tool belt tells you to ‘get over it’ or someone who just doesn’t understand tells you ‘at least you’ve got your health’, you can tell them to get lost (even if only in your head).
But when someone tells you to ‘suck it up, princess’, you can choose to take it in a manner they probably didn’t intend. Choose to overcome, choose to ask for help (or beg if you have to), choose to be open about your losses, choose to be the bigger person, choose to do what’s right. Sometimes there’s really no choice at all. Life throws, and sometimes you’re catching the shit end of the stick.
But sometimes something that starts out ‘six different kinds of f****d up’ can eventually be something that helps to create something beautiful.