I’d like to start off with this quote: “When you were born you were dealt a deck of cards, but it is up to you to learn how to play that deck of cards.” My pal, Henri, posted this online and I’m not sure where it was derived from but it spoke loudly to me when I read the words. The more I thought about it, I realized that if we don’t constantly keep evolving, overcoming, and taking responsibility for the way that we really are, then we will never truly be happy and fulfilled. Every day, especially when we talk to others, we write our story - we chose how we define ourselves and what goes into our pages.
Take a second to think about how you describe yourself to others. Be honest and think about all the things you fucking complain about. I complain about being away from home all the time. It’s to the point where I think I’ve started to define myself as a “home-sick person”, and how sad is that? Instead, I could flip it and say that I’m lucky enough to have traveled the world and moved to New York City, one of the greatest cities in the world, to spend my life doing what I love. This is just an example of what I’m talking about when I talk about what your “story” is.
Today has been a hard day. The whole week was busy and exhausting and I knew that when I finally had some time to myself that I would probably feel deflated and unable to give anymore. But that’s okay, because sometimes we just need to take a couple hours, or a day, to let go and feel human, whatever that entails. I found my thoughts being extremely negative. I felt angry at people. I felt annoyed that I wasn’t getting replies to texts or emails and I found myself thinking “they just don’t care about me, I’m not important enough.” I found myself annoyed at the security officer at this hotel who snapped at me because he was having a bad day. I let it ruin my breakfast as it stayed on my mind - “who is he to judge me and treat me like dirt? Especially today when I’m having a terrible time in my head.” The reality is that I was feeling like a victim and a little bit sorry for myself. I felt that because I had a heaviness in my heart, that I could have a chip on my shoulder. So I guess in writing this, it’s sort of a way to remind myself to be braver than that. You do it to yourself. You make yourself happy or you make yourself sad.
External forces that are out of our control constantly shift our mood, our inspiration, and our creativity. There are some people who let every tiny thing dim the light they naturally hold within themselves to create and feel energized. Then there are those who are like rocks and always put on a brave face, no matter what is thrown their way. If you’re a performer, you learn the ultimate tricks in putting on a brave face when you go out onto a stage for all to see. You let the music win and the bad things lose, even if it’s just for an hour. As I grow older and have more and more demands and responsibilities, it seems to become more and more important how I manage my emotions.
If there’s anything I can try to get across in this blog post, it will be this. You can skip through everything else and just read this paragraph if you’re pressed for time or bored of me by now. People choose to stick to their stories. I hear these stories almost every day - the person who was cheated on and so they can’t trust another lover, the person who is always late and acts as if the world should cut them some slack because they’re just a “late person”, the person who is mean to those around them because they’re constantly fighting with their spouse. We all find reasons to drop the ball or to not let others in or choose to hide because of a painful story. And isn’t it interesting that we usually define ourselves by the worst that has happened to us as opposed to the best? The thing is that everyone has a bad story. It just comes down to how you choose to overcome it. Some have terrible stories. Some people are born with much less than most, or with no family, or no love in their lives. I often get the “ugh, don’t talk to me about starving children in Africa” response when I debate hardship and perseverance with people. But it’s becoming harder and harder not to point out the spectrum of loss when I come from a place that faces many hardships that a lot of us, including myself, will never have to encounter or even be forced to think about.
Maybe instead of being the girl who was cheated on, you are the girl who has never cheated because you were cheated on, because you know how much it hurts. Maybe instead of just being a “late person”, you faced the challenge of being on time head-one, and you inspired your friends to make healthy changes in their lives as well. Instead of dragging those around you down when you are in a fight with someone, go out with them to have a good time, and maybe even forget about the bad for a little while. It’s too easy to perpetuate the cycle when you feel like a victim in your head.
I know that sadness and anger and disappointment are all inevitable in life. But don’t let them define you or be your story. Be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for your able body and those that love you. Count your blessings instead of your demons. You’ll surprise yourself when you realize just how resilient you can be with just a little more effort. Humans are born adaptable and strong, but a lot of us got soft and jaded somewhere along the way. Just remember - you write your story and not anyone else.