My parents always taught me that when you start to feel really bad about yourself--when you're sad or lonely or mad or ungrateful...that's the best time to go and do something for someone else. Because as bad as you think you've got it, there is always going to be someone out there who is going through something even harder than whatever it is you think is so wrong in your life. And they are right.
That said, if you ever want to host a pity party for yourself, call me. Seriously. I may be the world's expert on feeling sorry for yourself at this point and can give you the hook up; I'll let you in on all the tricks of the trade. I've been having one for myself for the past year or so now, I'm I've gotten really, really good at it.
That's the truth, people.
I moved out one year ago this month and since that time I've done more crying and wallowing and reminiscing and obsessing and pitying than I care to admit. And yeah, its probably normal and part of the healing process...blah blah blah--I get that and I'm thankful that I had supportive family and friends who put up with it...but frankly, I'm also getting really sick of it. I'm sick of myself, and I'm sick of feeling sad and lonely and lost most of the time. Because for the past year that's what I've spent the majority of my time feeling and you know what? It's not really any fun at all and furthermore, what purpose is it serving? It's not. I think it was for awhile because its normal and healthy to grieve. But there also comes a point where you just have to look at yourself and say, "Self, yeah that was bad but you lived through it and its time to put your big girl pants on and move forward."
When I moved to the Republic of Texas I looked at it as a bit of a second chance. A fresh start and a clean slate. New job, new house, new city, new car, new people, new relationships, etc. I made myself a couple of promises too. Not New Year's resoluations per se, but just things that I really wanted to make happen in my life, because I thought they they were good things and they were important to me. One of the main ones was that I really want to do more for other people. I want to spend my time and my money in ways that will benefit someone else, or will help promote some good, somewhere. For the past year I've spent all of my time and money very selfishly; I spent it on things that made me feel good right then. I used my resources like drugs. I needed a quick fix--new shoes, getting my nails done, going out to dinner for no reason--every time I started to feel the least little bit down, because those things gave me a momentary high and kept me from having to think too much about or feel too much of the hard stuff. Because, you know, God forbid I experience even a moment of discomfort. I mean, yeah I'm devastated about the divorce and then the following breakups, I hate my job and I'm really, really lonely...but have you seen my new shoes?
So yes, in the past couple months I've been trying really dilligently to not continue living that way.
This morning I got up (which is, in and of itself a blessing because how many people did not wake up this morning at all?), got out of my queen-sized cherry-wood sleigh bed with a pillow-top mattress and used my own personal bathroom with running water and indoor plumbing. I went to the kitchen where I had a pantry full of cereal options, then came to check my e-mail on my fancy-smanzy laptop. I did a l oad of laundry in my own washer and dryer then got dressed and went out to my plush brand new Jeep complete with leather interior and heated seats.
Then I drove downtown to the Beacon Outreach Center, where I helped served lunch to approximately 700 homeless people.
After that, you know what I did? I got back in my fancy ride and drove back over to the "nice" part of town, to my ridiculously over-priced apartment. I grabbed Lucy Sparkle and took her to be"groomed," because I am fortunate enough to be able to aford to spend more on getting my dog's hair cut than some people will make in a week.
I'm not telling you this to brag about what I have, I promise. I am so fortunate and have been so blessed in so many areas of my life I have no right to ever complain or be ungrateful. I tell you this because I've started to realize that perhaps my biggest failure in the past year is not that I shed more tears than I wanted to, or let myself get caught up in self-pity, or repeated bad relationship habits over and over again; I think those things are all normal and to some extent were to be expected. But the one thing I am very guilty of and feel most disgusted with myself about is the fact that I've spent the past year focusing on the one or two things in my life that I didn't have, instead of being thankful for the thousands upon thousands of blessings that are staring my in the face every single day.
I've been serving meals for the past few weekends and every time I go, I am reminded again just how amazing my life really is. I've spent the past six months beating myself up and bemoaning the fact that one stupid boy (in a world of six billion people) doesn't worship the ground I walk on when there are people out there dealing with real problems. I feel like I need someone to hit me in the face and say, "You think you've got it so rough? At least you have both legs and both arms. At least you have a place to come home to each night. You have a job and a house and a bed to sleep in. You have a family who loves you and the best friends anyone could ask for."
So there you have it. The truth is that instead of being thankful I have been selfish and depressed and whiny. Shame on me.