I Am, I Know

I Just Don’t Know How To Be Any Different

In The Thick Of It Blog Comment

Cheryl left this comment on my last blog, asking how I go about self-care when it comes to wearing my, let’s call it, ‘cape of no fear’.

I’m not really sure how to answer or where to even start.

I realise that’s incredibly unhelpful, so I’m going to try and break it down.

I’m a really positive person. And when I say really, I mean r – e – a – l – l – y. Like, there’s almost something wrong with me really.

I believe it’s one of my greatest assets, but also one of my biggest downfalls.

It’s where a lot of my strength comes from, but it also makes me blind as hell.

And it’s a double-edged sword.

When shit hits the fan, when things go wrong, when nothing feels right, when people screw me over, my ability to see the positive is ridiculous. My knack of finding a shining light in everything and – to a certain extent – everyone, is outrageous. But it’s all I know. Why I am like that – why I think like that – is beyond me. I just don’t know how to be any different.

The problem with that is sometimes I’m a little out of reality. I don’t think ahead too much, and I don’t plan enough, and I get kicked in the guts more often than I’d like because…because…because in my head, it’s different.

I’m not stupid.

I’m not out of touch.

I’m not in la la land.

I’m quite reasonable.

I’m pretty intuitive.

It’s just that I always always come out the other end of every hiccup, every challenge… happy.

I told you. There’s almost something wrong with me.

I still go through the motions.

I feel it.

I feel everything.

Some days I just want to pack it all in. Other days you can’t tear me away from my computer. Some days I want to move to a tropical island and live off coconuts. Other days I have five coffees and six meetings and I swear sparks fly out of my shoes when I’m sashaying down the street. Some days I wake up and wish I could go back to sleep for 72 hours. Other days I’m up at 5am buzzing. Some days it takes the best part of twenty hours for me to tick two things off my to-do list. Other days my to-do list literally cannot keep up with me. Some days things hurt. Other days things don’t.

Sometimes I can feel myself starting to harden. When I’ve been burnt or disappointed. And then I remember that while it’s hard feeling so much, it’s better than feeling nothing at all. And while on the inside everything feels like it’s crumbling, it’s really not. And when all I want to do is curl up on the couch and get lost in something, it’s better to get dressed and show up.

For me, anyway.

I realised, actually, I decided, years ago, that I didn’t want to be the kind of person that let the bad things in life determine the kind of person they would be.

People often confuse my positivity with an assumption that the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced is a broken fingernail. It’s so ignorant of them. I don’t subscribe to the idea that if you’ve had a tough life – challenges, hurdles, obstacles – you need to be bitter about it.

What I know is that what’s happened has happened, and, for me, that means one of two things: let all the bad, all the hard, all the really messed up stuff hold me back or let it set me free. Let it bring me down or let it make me soar. Let it make me despondent or let it make me grow.

I always choose the second option.

I don’t know why.

I just don’t know how to be any different.

So, Cheryl, for you, or anyone else out there that feels the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows, know this:

It has to be that way. As long as you have some of both, and some days that fall smack bang in the middle, you’re doing it right.

I need to feel low-spirited at times, because it makes the times when I’m towering over everything feel so much better. I need to feel angry and enraged and saddened at times, because it makes me feel. It makes me a better person. A better writer. And it makes the times I’m elated so much more valuable.

Some days you’ll want to Netflix your life away. You should. Some days you’ll want to be alone. So be alone. Some days you’ll just want to stare out a window for a while. So do exactly that.

We’ve got to stop permeating the idea that every day needs to be perfect and well-balanced.

It’s rubbish.

The truth is some days are good and some days are bad. Some days are easy and some days are hard. Some days make you and some days destroy you.

They’re just days. It’s just life.

And all I know is the difference between the people that are happy and the people that aren’t is the way they choose to be.

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6 thoughts on “I Just Don’t Know How To Be Any Different

  1. Great response, Sandi, to a question that perhaps wasn’t very clear in the first place!

    I agree with you – that without darkness in our lives/day/work it would be harder to appreciate or see the light.

    What I was trying to get to in terms of the “shortcoming of this caped life” is dealing with emotional or physical limits – I’ve seen some people simply physically burn out. It wasn’t a lack of enthusiasm, passion or optimism – they wanted to do all the things but their bodies or minds got broken in the process…
    I was asking whether you’d experienced this or come across it?

    • I can’t say I have experienced that, Cheryl. Or at least not to any permanent degree. I know what you mean…but I don’t know the answer.

      I’ve definitely had times where the passion and optimism has disintegrated and I’ve wanted to throw in the towel…but then I wake up the next day and something – and I don’t know what – pushes me to keep going. I suppose there might come a day where physically or emotionally it doesn’t. I can’t imagine that, though.

      I do sometimes find it hard to ‘do all of the things’ and sometimes I don’t want to, but I know that when I do, when I push myself, even when I don’t feel like it, I’m always glad I did. I get energy from it. And I think that’s what keeps me going. Knowing how much I get back.

      I do believe there needs to be some balance – I can’t be on the edge all the time, because I’d likely fall well over it. Sometimes I need to be cocooned. I think that delicate mix is important.

  2. This is SO on point Sandi. I was dealing with yet another client delaying payment and my dad made a comment about how it always seems to happen to me because I’m too nice to people. And perhaps he’s right. But I’d much rather be too nice and assume the best of people than become someone who is suspicious of others and screws people around.

    On Chez’s point – I’ve experienced burnout, and I think in a lot of ways what actually burnt me out is having to force myself to level my enthusiasm in favour of prioritising things that don’t give me energy – money, politics, playing the game for long term benefit.

    I’ve learned that these things are important even if they’re not what feeds me, so I’m practicing getting enough that I still have the freedom to chase the real energy – happiness, inspiration, fun, creative satisfaction. It is all a balance really (which mostly I’m terrible at) and it takes practice.

    • Thanks, Lara.

      Couldn’t agree more.

      You’ve nailed it. When you do things you love, when you get away from the stuff that drags you down, it’s satisfying.

      Doesn’t mean it’s easy. But it’s worth it.

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