I’m a sliver linings kind of girl. As much as I want to say that “everything is awful” sometimes, that simply isn’t true. A couple weeks ago, we covered a tough topic that affects far too many people. To put it simply, writing about sexual assault took it’s toll on me and I wasn’t sure I would have anything decent to say this week.
To put it all out there, my life for the past few years has had its fair share of rough runs and frustrating situations. I’m not here to air my dirty laundry, and am a firm believer that dirty laundry is something you should put in the washer on Wednesdays. Despite all of the difficult things I have encountered and experienced, my life isn’t bad.
Lately, I’ve had an astounding number of messages asking for advice in various difficult situations. I am here to tell you, that you are not alone and things will get better. Being a generally positive person, I have found that there is always light in dark situations, we just have to seek it out.
Let’s talk tough. Two years ago, this April, I made one of the hardest decisions I have ever been faced with and left Idaho to return to Oregon with my family. As I drove away from the home I owned, I began a positive (but difficult) journey. The journey to no longer be the frustrated, miserable person I had become, and return to the happy-go-lucky lady I had always been. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine (it still isn’t). Good change isn’t always easy. You can ask my best friend who followed me all the way home with a pickup full to the brim with the things that filled what I thought was my new “home”. That trip was the longest 7 hours of my life, but it brought me back to who I am and showed me that there is a light at the end of the dark tunnel.
Coming home. Like I said, it wasn’t all sparkles and rainbows. Returning home was not as easy as I thought it would be. It was all too easy to fall back and become the frustrated person I was while living in Idaho. Within weeks of returning home, my computer died, my dog was seriously injured, my Jeep was broken, my credit card had been stolen, and my mom’s cancer diagnosis was confirmed. It seemed like things would never get better and in my despair, I began making myself a home at (what I thought was) rock bottom. I felt like I had lost what little traction I gained as the reality set in that I no longer owned a home or had a career. I had left many of my friends behind and lost several others during my move. I spent more time in my room than I ever had during that first month home.
Wake up call. There comes a point in life when a harsh reality slaps you across the face. For me, it was my mom. Despite my better nature, I was focusing on all of the things I had “lost” along the way on my journey home. I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was no longer a homeowner and feeling like I had gone backwards in life. My mother stood in my doorway one morning and told me precisely what I did not want to hear, that I was “wallowing”. She was absolutely correct. Garbage situations aside, I knew I was better than that and that it was up to me to do something about it. All of the negativity I had accumulated finally fueled me to do something about it and change myself and my situation.
What goes down must come up. After applying to dozens of jobs and pestering my current manager at Wilco, I found a job. This was the beginning of the upward trend that has led me here. I no longer felt useless, and made myself a home here in the Wilco Central Office. I spent time surrounding myself with positive peers and left my cave of a bedroom. This wasn’t always easy, as Netflix is such a tempting way to pass time. I actively reminded myself that it was a good idea to leave the house and pushed myself to seek the sunshine behind the clouds that seemed to loom ominously over my life.
Words are hard. Writing isn’t always easy, especially when I tell my own story. As I said in my first return blog, for a long time, I didn’t think I had anything important to say. I value consistency and integrity. When I started writing again, I promised myself that I would continue to write one post each week, without fail. I will always own my mistakes and admit that I have missed a post or two in this journey, but above all, this blog has become a conduit for my thoughts and an excellent place to connect with others. In it’s own way, this blog has been a surprising silver lining. Although many of my topics are uncomfortable to write about, it forces me to “grow a pair” and climb out of the same box I so often find myself inside.
A little help from my friends. People can be silver linings too, and I promise that not all of them are “garbage humans”. No great hero, including Harry Potter, did everything on their own. Everyone needs someone they can count on. I have been fortunate enough to have an excellent support system for most of my life. My family is loving (and hilarious) and my friends (as all of you know too well) are absolutely fantastic, many ranking among the “family” category. I cannot express the importance of this topic enough, find your tribe and love them hard. Friendship is a two-way street and you truly get what you give. Be there for your people and give them somewhere to lean when they need it, you have no idea what this means to some people.
Look for the little things. Do you ever sit down and count your blessings? I’ll be the first to admit that it’s so easy to complain and focus on the negative in your life, eager to eradicate it. But how often do you truly sit down and think about all of the things you are truly thankful for? Today, I sat at my desk and glanced up to look out the window. Two things immediately caught my eye: the first was the picture of my boyfriend and I on my windowsill, and the second was a beautiful rainbow that had not been there two minutes before when I had glanced up earlier. I was completely blown away by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for that moment and for the man who stood next to me in that picture. Sitting there on my own, I was reminded how much I have to be thankful for.
This week has been a struggle. I was out twice this week from work and was by far, the sickest I have been in a long time. I felt like I was losing traction at work and by association, in life. I hate feeling behind in any regard, and felt inclined to work despite being sick because I simply could not sit still anymore. I had this nagging feeling that by being sick, I was somehow letting everyone in my life down. Despite my better, more logical nature, I let myself believe this and worked absurdly hard to feel “caught up” and “less disappointing” despite multiple reminders from my friends to “take it easy” and “slow down”. Despite being sick for two days, I managed to add 207 pairs of jeans to Wilco’s online catalog and (somehow) miraculously recover from my small plague. This week was full of frustrations (I despise being ill), but there were victories as well.
Become a seeker of silver linings. This week I needed that small reminder that even when it pours, there is a rainbow after the rain. It seems that too often, we focus on the dark parts and forget to look for the silver linings hidden in the storm of it all. You’ve just read a piece of my story, and I can tell you for a fact that my life is far from bad. We all have our rough parts, but those parts do not define us. Chase the things that bring you joy and take the time to seek out the silver linings. I will absolutely admit that this takes constant practice to build the habit, but it will make you happier in the end. I’m here to tell you that regardless of your situation, it’s not permanent and you are not alone. Lean on your friends/family on the days where the storm feels rough and never forget how important you truly are.
Stay excellent, friends.