Just Laugh

I know what it feels like to be frustrated. I know what it feels like to have everything around you go wrong and fall apart in front of you. I know what it feels like to have things fall apart time and time again no matter how hard you try…and I’m here to say it sucks.

There are times when we can try our very hardest to see the light and the good, yet only see darkness. I like to believe that there are silver linings in almost every situation, but I also believe in despair. There are times when life is not fair, cruel, and unrelenting. These are also times when it feels like things are bad and can’t get worse, yet somehow they find a way to. People say that there’s a light at the end of every tunnel and that every rainstorm has a rainbow at the end; well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but that’s simply not true.

There are things in life that suck. I try to find the goodness and silver linings in every situation but I’ve come to realize that certain things are just terrible. There is no silver lining, no consolation prize, no go back to start and collect $200; some situations are there to make us upset, to test us. These are the situations that help make us stronger.

Right now I’m supposed to be in Wisconsin with my dad and my brother. We’re supposed to be at our dad’s college bar getting ready for the big football game, to which we have front row tickets. But we’re not. Instead, I’m sitting alone on my couch in my apartment with a bottle of Jameson. Why? Well, because life isn’t fair. Our flight was canceled and we couldn’t rebook it in time to see the game. Once they announced that our flight was canceled (15 minutes before we were supposed to board) we stood on line to see if there was any glimmer of hope that we could somehow get to the Midwest. I’ve had a very frustrating and upsetting month so I thought that maybe this would be my glimmer of hope…I was mistaken. Every flight was shut down for the next two days and our trip was cancelled. It may not seem like missing a football game was a big deal, but after they month I’ve had I really needed this trip. As the fact that our trip wasn’t going to happen settled in, we stopped in the airport so my dad could call my step-mom and tell her we would be home much sooner than expected. Once my dad reached my step-mom, my brother and I simultaneously noticed that a pigeon had gotten into the airport. Before I could finish saying “Go home pigeon, you’re drunk,” the pigeon took a huge dump on the airport floor. Without the blink of an eye we both started hysterically laughing, like uncontrollably laughing. It was something so small and insignificant, but to us it was regenerating.

I’m sure that sounds over dramatic, but we are both in a rut and needed a laugh after the bad news about our flight. This trip was supposed to be a nice break from reality (bad job/unemployment) and it was unexpectedly taken away from us. But the fact that something so small and stupid like a pigeon pooping in an airport terminal could make us laugh so full heartedly makes me smile.

Life is so unpredictable and is so unfair sometimes. Missing a football game is not a huge deal by any means, but after all the frustration and disappointment I’ve dealt with over the past month missing this football game was the icing on a cake of despair. However, dealing with life’s ups and downs (mainly downs) has taught me to enjoy the little things. Life seems to be bullying me at the moment, but I still try to find ways to laugh. I’ve had situations where I can’t find a reason or a silver lining, but I’ve found a laugh. Even on the car ride back from the airport when my dad, brother, and I were completely defeated, we saw an exact replica of the Bat Mobile driving next to us and we all lost it. It sucks that we didn’t get that weekend away that we all needed, but we still found a way to laugh. When life won’t stop beating you down beyond reason, stop trying to figure out what the ‘greater plan’ is and just laugh. Life has taught me that not everything happens for a reason (although the vast majority does) and those are the times you need to find a way to smile. Some situations are unfortunate, but if you can find something to make you smile, it really softens the blow. I feel like that comes easier to certain people (i.e. people used to life dumping on them, *cough* me *cough*), but I strongly recommend it the next time you find yourself thinking “why would this happen to me?” There’s not always an answer, but there’s almost always a laugh or at the very least a smile.

Unlucky and Stubborn: My Key Traits for Success

I’m one of those people who has zero luck.  When I drive a car I’m the person who will hit every single red light, especially if I’m in a rush.  If I play a card game, or any game, that requires just a little bit of luck I will lose and I will lose hard.  I’ve learned to deal with it but once in a while I feel a sting of jealousy towards those whom life seems to shines upon; lucky people.  I can’t even count how many times things have fallen apart in front me and how many times I’ve had to regroup while I watch everyone around me flourish.  Sometimes I feel like a have a cloud following me and whenever it starts to rain, it pours.  It is incredibly frustrating and exhausting but for whatever reason it pushes me to try even harder.  Of course there are times when I want to say “ok life you win, I give up” but (un)fortunately I am far too stubborn to give up.
Being stubborn is one of my greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses.  I have made life incredibly harder at times because I get stuck in my own ways, even if they’re not working, and refuse to ask for help or advice.  I have also pissed people off to no end by refusing their advice only to come back later with my tail between my legs and a weak “you were right”.  However, being stubborn is also what has got me through some of the hardest times in my life.  The words persistent and resilient are probably more appropriate, but for the sake of consistency I’ll stick with stubborn.
Things don’t fall into my lap.  Life doesn’t ‘do me a solid’ from time to time.  In fact, life seems to work against me most of the time.  I’ve always loved being in the sun and have always worn sunscreen; life gave me a basal cell on my scalp (the one place I never put sunscreen).  I’ve always been very active and loved running and playing sports; life gave me permanent nerve damage in my back and a doctor saying “you will never run again”.  But again, I’m too stubborn to let life take things away from me so I found ways to work around these misfortunes.  After I had the surgery to remove the basal cell, I started wearing hats (and fun scarves) and wearing 50+ sunscreen because I refuse not to go outside.  After my back injury, I have spent the past 10 years working to strengthen my back and the rest of my body and now I can run 7+ miles and even race (take that medical science).  Those were two extremely unlucky events in my life, but who needs luck?
There’s a line in Titanic that goes, “A real man makes his own luck,” and that’s what I’ve had to do.  Do I get frustrated when I see things coming together time and time again for some people while I have to fight tooth and nail to just put one piece together?  Of course, but I try to use it as motivation to try harder.  Not everyone is lucky, in fact some of us are incredibly unlucky.  The trick is to realize that making your own luck can make you a stronger person in the long run.  When life takes things away from you or throws you a curve ball, don’t dwell on “this would only happen to me”.  I think that a lot, but then I think to myself “and that’s why I’m stronger than a lot of people…I can handle this.”  When something goes wrong in my life, it usually means that two or three more things will go wrong at the same time (when it rains it pours).  Unlucky?  Perhaps.  Frustrating?  Big time.  But I’m far too stubborn to let my downfalls get the best of me so I keep trying.  I’ve wanted to give up more times than I can count, but I’m too stubborn to give in and that’s why I believe that stubbornness can be a great strength.  It is incredibly frustrating to try and try again and have nothing work out.  It is especially frustrating to try and have even more things go wrong, but for whatever reason I refuse to let that stop me.  Right now I am having zero luck with finding a job and sometimes I get to the point where I want to give up on finding a great job and settle for a mediocre one.  But my stubborness won’t let me, so I will keep trying no matter how frustrated I get.  Luck has never been my thing so I guess I’ll just keeping trying to make my own, like a real (wo)man.

If you can’t say something nice, put it on the Internet

Over the past few months I’ve had several of my articles published on a popular website. Seeing my name and my work on a website I visited daily felt great, but seeing how many people were reading, sharing, and commenting on it felt amazing. My most recent article published on the site was also featured on their Facebook page and had almost 2,000 comments when I saw it online for the first time. I was ecstatic to see so many comments about something that I wrote until I came across one comment in particular. This person ripped my work (and me) apart, and basically said I was “whiney” and needed “to toughen up”. My instant reaction was to type “GO **** YOURSELF” as a response to their comment, but that wouldn’t be professional now would it. So I tried to ignore it and read through the other comments, which were amazing. People were sharing it and actually thanked me for writing it because they found it so helpful. There were a few other negative comments, like someone told me I needed to travel more, but the overall reaction to my article was overwhelmingly positive. Even though it felt so good to see this kind of response, I couldn’t help but feel the sting of that one unnecessarily mean (and poorly written) comment.

One of the reasons I publish work that is very personal to me is because I want it to help other people. I love writing things that are entertaining and make people laugh (like “If You Do This I Hate You”…I actually laughed aloud while writing that one), but I get a different satisfaction from writing about a struggle or other life lesson I think other people will relate to. So when I share this work and someone says I need to “toughen up” it makes me want to find them and punch them in the face. When I read that all I could think about was yelling “I wrote this for YOU. I wrote this to HELP people. This is not some stupid article about the Kardashian family or some stupid YouTube video. This is REAL. HOW DARE YOU!” But I couldn’t let that comment get to me (after my outburst) because as a writer I open myself up to this kind of ridicule, especially when my work is published online.

It’s amazing how brave people are behind the screen of their laptops/smartphone/whatever. People seem to have no problem (and even enjoy) writing the meanest and sickest verbal torment online…but why? Why do people need to be such a**holes online? Do they think that because someone is reading this hatred and not hearing it that it doesn’t hurt? One of the other thoughts I had after I read the comment of my work was “how much time do you have that you can go around insulting people’s work?” If they had left a constructive comment or pointed out a grammar faux pas that would have been different…but no, I’m “whiney”. I’ve read a lot of really terrible pieces of ‘writing’ thanks to social media. I’ve left comments that an idea should be further elaborated or the writing style needs to be tightened up, but I’ve never written that the writer was a moron and should give up now (I’ve actually read comments like that). That’s an inside thought, it’s not helpful and it’s unnecessarily cruel.

For whatever reason, people think it’s ok to spew their inner demons online for all to see no matter whom it hurts. Whenever you feel threatened by something, it’s usually because it’s hitting a nerve you’re not aware of. Perhaps my article hit a little close to home for that jerk. Whatever the case, I didn’t respond to that comment. I realize there are a lot of online bullies out there so the best thing to do is ignore them, and hope that their computer gets a virus or they drop their smartphone in a toilet.