I truly believe that sometimes the best teachers don’t come from books and the classroom but from family. In my case this is my dad’s cousin, who my sister and I affectionately call Aunt Margaret. When we were talking recently, she said something that finally cleared up a stumbling block in my perspective. We were talking about inspiration and having a positive perspective. She pointed out that while she has sayings to remind her that there are no bad days, there’s a difference between that and hard days. This perspective is something I have struggled with for months.
That is, it really is OK to see the good in everything. I really don’t have to feel guilty. For example, my reaction to my advocacy being shut down at the school. Do I still get emotional about it? Yes. Do I find myself requiring some mental health assistance lately because of things like this affecting self-esteem in a couple areas of my life? Yes. Do I feel shame about my emotions? Yes. But perhaps maybe it’s not shame as much as it is feeling self-conscious. Self-conscious that I actually want to go “This hurts but, yes! I make them uncomfortable. That means I’m doing something right in the realm of advocacy and social change. Score! :-)”
And when it comes to the emotions, even the ones that make me feel really uncomfortable, like anger and depression, I find myself celebrating, “Thank goodness I’m experiencing life and I am not desensitized or so angry that I can’t see other people ‘s struggles.”
Okay, to be honest, the last one is still more subconscious then the be brave narrative. However, the point is I am getting there. I’m getting to a point where if someone said to me “You can make everyone rally behind you in a positive way and you can change the world tomorrow. And have no spasms. You would never run into another naysayer,” it would be tempting to be honest, especially about the naysayer bit.
But I hope my response would be “No I like my teacher.” Meaning of course the teacher of challenge. Spasms hurt. But they pass. Skepticism hurts, but it only motivates me to show the strength of what works for me. Discrimination hurts. And it must end. But, until then, it gives me purpose.
Sometimes, I don’t have this perspective. But I am trying to because I know it’s the most effective treatment I have ever had. I’m not ignorant of structural problems. I’m saying it’s still good to be me.
So, look up. You might find silver.
Elisa writes infrequently, so I was quite happy when this article, from issue 3140 near the end of October was nominated because I agree that it’s one of her best–balancing hopefulness with reality, all wrapped in a solid read with a kicker ending line.