The first week of November has skipped right on by me. So much for that “Do Not Disturb”, plan. There are forces at work that just won’t let me be great and by be great I mean, do nothing but lay up in bed and read my book.
For all that is going on, nothing is going on. I’m caught up in the routine of womanhood and all that it entails on my little piece of real estate. It’s meal prep, working out, household maintenance, marriage maintenance, child-rearing, personal growth and development — all of the ingredients I need for my little slice of life. Truth be told, aside from a being a little sleepy (darn this fall rainstorm), I’m feeling pretty good. I’m in a good place.
It’s not that it’s difficult for me to admit that. I was, however, hesitant to say so because very often, women are expected to recite a litany of things that are going wrong, about to go wrong, and went wrong. If one among us talks about challenges she is facing, we are compelled to offer up our on set of challenges in a show of solidarity. It’s practically Pavlovian.
Case in point: A few weeks ago, I participated in a meeting where the ice breaker involved revealing something significant that had happened to you in a particular point in your life. Each person had been given a playing card: Ace, King, Queen and Jack. The Ace represented you now, the King was you as a young woman, the Queen was you as a teen and the Jack was you as a child. Once the explanations had been shared, there was a bit of murmuring as people flipped though their mental rolodexes to find an appropriate response. I had gotten an Ace: me now. Immediately, I tried to think of a challenge that I had faced and successfully overcome. It struck me that my first thought of “something significant” was to look for a hardship as opposed to a triumph. I decided I wasn’t going to go that route. When my turn came, I was going to go for something positive.
Several members volunteered to share their very personal stories. They were emotional tellings of illness, martial challenges and so on. Sadly, we ran out of time before I was able to go, but I made a note that if I found myself in a similar situation where I would have to share a significant event, I was going to reach for the positive.
Not long after that meeting, I caught up with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a while. As with most conversations, I asked after her husband and her son. She pressed her lips into a thin line as she blew a stream of air out of her nose. “Girl, don’t even get me started. . .” she began before sharing some very real and very challenging hardships that she was facing. My heart went out to her. Truly, she’s going through some thing. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel for some, but not so much for others. As she came to the end of her story, she looked unburdened; I’m glad that if nothing else, I was an ear she could bend back. Then she apologized for monopolizing the conversation and sat back, looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to see and raise her on the struggles of womanhood.
What I said, though, surprised us both.
“I’m good. I’m in a really good place right now. Everyone is healthy, busy with work and school. You know, there are peaks and valleys and right now we’re at a peak.”
She looked at me and blinked. I looked at her and blinked back. I almost wanted to apologize for not having anything negative to say. I wasn’t trying to brag. I said, “I know that seems unusual, but it’s the truth.” Do I insert #sorrynotsorry here? Kidding.
When I walked away from that conversation, I felt much better for having shared honestly. I believe that I was a better friend for listening to her fully — not offering solutions, not trying to commiserate or one up with my own punch list of problems. Just like I’ve tried to be more accepting of compliments instead of explaining them away, I’m going to try to speak more positively about what’s going on in my life. There will be times when I’m ready to just throw up the peace sign at everything and put everyone on blast for irritating me to death. There will also be times where everything is wrapped in Pegasus wings and everyone is spitting nickels and farting rainbows. Like I said, peaks and valleys.
Have you recently hit a peak? Tell me about it in the comments!