People act like tragedy is a mountain. You climb up, and up, and up, then you peak, and catch a train down, because the hard part is over. And many times, the very peak of the peak actually feels that way. Every little thing makes you cry tears of joy because you’ve longed for so long to be out of a world consumed by hard times. You’ve longed for so long to be right here.
The thing is, a hardship isn’t a mountain. That’s actually a terrible and inaccurate metaphor… Stop telling me about that mountain I just climbed. I don’t even like nature that much. A hardship is just a thing, a wave, a chapter. And just because you survive one chapter, one hard story, it doesn’t mean every story after that has to be beautiful, easy, perfect, or what dreams are made of. It doesn’t mean that you’ll wake up every morning and breathe in the refreshing air of delicious post hardship life.
I’ve spent the past four months feeling guilty every time I felt sad, lonely, or overwhelmed. I kept hearing a voice in my head saying, “you spent a whole year longing for this, now enjoy it, dang it.” I was convinced that post-hardship life would be without hardship, and thats incredibly untrue. Post hard-ship life has it’s own hardships. They just come in moments rather than months, and they don’t stare straight at your being quite as intensely. But that doesn’t make them irrelevant, nor does it make you unappreciative. They’re real, and you’re allowed to feel them.
I’m planning a wedding. I spent so many days in last year’s hardship planning on planning a wedding, and while I’m so happy to be here, there are days when planning a wedding SUCKS. gathering everyone and their mother’s address sucks. Seeing the shell shock look on your parent’s face when they see how expensive things have become since they planned their own wedding 37 years ago sucks. Looking at venue after venue only to find out that some 16-year-old who probably isn’t even dating anyone booked your dream wedding day just in case prince charming quarterback pulls a cinderella story and kisses her in the rain leading to her happily ever after in MY venue on MY dream wedding day…. sucks.
But I’m planning a future with my favorite human in the world, and I’m eating free food, and I’m pinning incredibly impractical pins in pintrest, and this is so wonderful. These items are my longed for sun at at the end of the storm, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be pop up showers along the way, and it’s okay for these to irritate me at times.
I have a cat. And he’s the best. And I love him so much, despite the fact he merely tolerates me for no other reason than the fact that I am his servant. But sometimes having a cat is hard. I am literally watching him pull over my tiny Christmas tree right now, and the 50 for $3 ornaments are going everywhere, but I’m too content in this chair with this laptop to get up and do anything to stop him.
And I’ll let you in on a little secret, sometimes his litter box smells so awful. Really awful, like walk into my tiny apartment and get smacked in the face with it kind of awful. And I’m already so tired from above stated venue searching, shell shocked parents, and address stalking, that the slight bend over the clean his litter box seems such a chore when all I want is for my home to smell livable again.
But he’s ornery, and playful, and snuggly (at times), and he is exactly the kind of pal my introverted soul has sought for so long. I find so much joy when he sits on my chest and purrs while I read a book, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t days when he is quite a hardship on his own.
I have a job, like a real one. I’m talking a forty hour a week one with benefits and Christmas parties where they provide booz because we are all freaken grown ups, kind of job. And it’s awesome. Some days I’m really killing it, and my bosses pat me on the head, and tell me my future looks grand. But somedays it’s hard, and I fail, and I feel guilty that on these days for being angry, and discontent, and tired, because I’ve longed to be here in this job, making real money, and being the proud owner of a savings account with an actual coma in it for so long.
I’ve longed for so long to be here, out of tragedy, in a real world with bills to pay and money to pay them. But five seconds ago, while writing that sentence, I felt a knot tie in my chest realizing that my electricity bill was due 2 days ago, and despite having the funds, I have yet to pay it. I forgot. Every chapter has new freedoms and experiences and skills to acquire, but they also have responsibilities, and stresses and expectations to acquire said skills. And these last three aspects can put you in a slump some days, and the last thing you need in the middle of this slump is the guilt when the voice in your head pipes up again reminding you, “This is what you longed for, enjoy it!”
The point isn’t to not be thankful. I’m so thankful for my man, my cat, my job, and this chapter as a whole. After all, if you’re 23 and not sleep deprived and with a constant feel of slight frustration are you even doing it right?
The point isn’t to not enjoy every single beautiful thing that enters your life post hardship. Because, hardship or not, we all deserve beautiful things in this beautiful life.
The point is to not feel guilty on the days that you’re not particularly happy. Don’t feel guilty when you’re grumpy because some grown man named Gerald (screw you Gerald) who works for your company’s partner’s end client, bullied you through extremely aggressive emails in front of 10 people you don’t even know but who were still cc’d on said emails. You’re allowed to be annoyed when you spill coffee on your favorite white blouse and feel the need to wear your winter jacket all day despite the fact that it’s the first day they FINALLY turned the heat on in the building.
Enjoy the sunshine after a storm, Lord knows the sun has probably never felt so good, but don’t punish yourself for recognizing the pop-up showers. Post-storm life isn’t perfect, and neither was pre-storm life if you remember. Cry when you must, climb a mountain if your into that voodoo, and just flow in life after hardship, pop-up showers and all.