As a kid, I often heard old people, while giving precautionary advice say, “Child, you gonna give somebody a stroke!” Of course, I didn’t know what a stroke was. When I was a young woman, my optimism used to irritate a lot of people. My brother and teen husband asked me often, “What you so damn happy about?” Like it was the ultimate sin. Yes, we were born into a damaged family system, but so what is new? Everyone in our neighborhood, kids and grownups, wished to be like the imaginary perfect family we watched on TV. Most had labor jobs, cleaned wealthy people’s homes or were active participants in illegal activities. Most were do gooders – law abiding citizens minding their own business while others studied the laws of how to get over. My Grandmother was a housekeeper. She always brought home hand-me-down expensive clothes. My favorite pastime was browsing through the Spiegel and Sears catalogs. “When I grow up, I’m going to have…” The hand-me-down clothes gave me a taste for fine wear and the catalogs illustrated the difference from substitute quality and luxurious comfort. It never occurred to me that these things were out of my reach.
Nevertheless, my neighborhood, was always packed with a lot of what Mama called “Who shot John” drama. These calamity-pack pastimes produced colorful lying, cheating, and stealing opportunities that normalized distrust and hopelessness. Hopefulness was for the naïve; those who lived in “LaLa Land.” a place, unbeknownst to those “hard knocks” practitioners.
The hard knocker know-it-alls, however, didn’t know their practices were life killing enhancers disguised as self-preservation. It didn’t reduce negative thoughts and hopeless expectations nor distant despair. It didn’t enable them to let go of things they had little or no control over, like other people’s motives for doing or saying things judged as offensive or insensitive and even intended to hurt, harm or wound the heart.
I challenge you to screen out negative and alternative reactions that impact your mental, physical, emotional well-being. Enjoy the fact you can be agile enough to rise above doubt, fear and calamities’ while strengthening your optimism muscles and attracting overcoming tools when challenges knocks at your door.
Even when Mr. Aneurysm came to visit me in 2011 trying to wrestle me down death’s throat. I won with a story to tell. I’m still happy and able to continue an adventurous journey.
I give God the credit, yes, but it would have been a different story without my participation to water down my ego and right to be outraged, annoyed and ANGRY.