I’ve known her for as long as I can remember, and she’s a lady in every sense. Always has a smile, always polite, composed and coiffed. She even has a flower for her name. I’ve visited at her home, I’ve bumped into her on the street, I’ve seen her on a dusty Sunday drive with my parents when I was much younger...and she always wears earrings. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her without them. She once remarked that they make her feel put-together.
Have you ever had one of those days? A day that is quite crappy, actually. Maybe it didn’t start out that way and perhaps it didn’t end in the gutter...but the in between parts were a little bit awful. You’d like to have a do-over but you’re afraid it would just repeat itself, so you try to wash it from your mind. That was my Monday. (of course it would be a Monday, wouldn’t it.) What made it so crappy wasn’t any one thing in particular but a short series of events and encounters that left me feeling un-appreciated, un-prepared and un-grateful. Just very un.
It also happened to be a day where I couldn’t simply crawl into bed and make the world go away. There was an event. An annual event that is not to be missed...the school’s year-end band concert and awards night. It would have been very easy to just walk out my back door, still wearing the clothes, the frustration and the sadness from my awful day. But I decided that wasn’t how I wanted to show up for my kids, and for myself. I decided instead of falling apart, I would be put-together. I would take a page from the book of the lady with the flower name. I put on a dress, a smile and a pair of earrings. It really did make a difference and I returned from that event feeling very happy, very proud and very grateful. Not at all un.
I am not a believer in the “fake it till you make it” philosophy. I once read an article about toxic positivity and I do think it’s a thing. In our effort to walk on the sunny side of the street, we can reach a point where fake optimism actually prevents us from seeing important messages and learning valuable lessons from the negative events in our lives. It’s impossible to have the rainbow without the rain, so denying the rain isn’t very productive. Sometimes our feelings are uncomfortable and inconvenient but I think it’s important to acknowledge them. The trick is not allowing them to take root. Give them a nod, then press on. Feel the frustrations and surrender to them in that moment, then move forward. Shed a few tears if you must, over the inherent unfairness of it all...but then get up. Put on a smile, put on a dress and most definitely, put on the earrings.