A few months ago I realised I’ve been living my life like I’m a victim of it, rather than grabbing it by the balls. I become quite good at seeing the challenges I face now as opportunities for growth rather than problems or dramas, but somehow hadn’t been able to embrace that attitude towards the things that were in my distant past.
I’ve been challenged to list the things I used to see as horrible, life altering problems and find the silver linings. This isn’t an exhaustive list – they are the moments I thought defined me, turns out they don’t.
|The thing||On the surface||Silver lining|
|Born prem, very sick.||See how well I’ve performed despite this shaky start?||Couldn’t wait to bust out and get stuck into the world. Head start, yo.|
|My father tells 5 year old me that I’m a dunce, stupid, sit in the corner facing the wall and think about what a dunce you are.||This moment completely fucked me up. It is your fault I am the way I am.||This moment has shown me how to be a loving, compassionate and caring parent. This moment ensures my child will never hear words like this from his parents.|
|My parents are divorced.||This is so unfair, why did this happen? This has destroyed my family.||My poor Dad would never had been able to cope with a teenaged Ms Optimism. She was way too much woman for him.|
|By the time I left highschool (early), I’d changed schools 14 times.||This robbed me of the opportunity to meet and have lifelong friends.||I have had the opportunity to meet so many people. Everywhere I go I (no really, everywhere), I see people I knew in another life. I make new friends easily.|
|My family moved right at the moment my social life and band were experiencing success||This prevented me from having success with my band.||My life is as wonderful as it is because of this choice. I would not have been able to resist the temptation of drugs. I don’t know where I would have ended up. This was the best path for me, even if I didn’t know it at the time.|
|At the age of 18 I felt so overwhelmed by my financial and self esteem problems I saw entering prostitution as my only way out.||See how bad things were? Please feel sorry for me.||I’ve lived a full and interesting life with many experiences most people only read about. This has provided me with a great sense of perspective about things that happen now.|
|Relentlessly bullied through early high school.||So unfair, everyone hates me. I’m horrible.||I have a great capacity for empathy, and understand that those that bully have a lower self esteem than they would have you believe.|
|GP warns 19 year old Ms Optimism not to marry CF sufferer Mr Optimism due to life expectancy concerns.||How dare you he this? Maybe he is right, he is a doctor. He knows what he is talking about.||I can listen to my intuition and make my own decisions. Listening to learned authority is not always right.|
|My husband has a chronic illness.||This is so unfair. Why can’t he be normal? Why can’t our family be normal?||I am grateful that we always have a reminder to treat each other with love and respect. This challenge helps us maintain perspective.|
|Depression||Why must I experience this, why can’t I be normal?||Through my illness and recovery I have learned so much. Through my illness and recovery I am whole. Through my illness and recovery I contribute to the lives of others.|