Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Negative Flux

The thing about negativity is that it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Once upon a time I wrote about Black Cloud People, and I still believe they exist.  I see them all the time.  The hard part is making sure I don't become one of them.  And sometimes that's actually a little harder than it seems.

But, really, this is not about me.  It's sort of a commentary about a whole lot of people I've been exposed to lately, but how I could easily fall into that category.  But to illustrate, I'll tell you briefly about me and my week last week.  What I did notice about myself in particular was that once I had a rocky start to last week, it just kept rolling in that direction.  By Friday, when I had someone so mad at me he was tearing through everyone in the company to find someone who would listen to how awful and useless I was, I was beginning to wonder why I even bothered existing.  I tallied up my personal tale of woe:  beginning with Kelsey's birthday on Monday, the fact that a wild summer storm violently passed through the area on Tuesday, causing my sunroom to leak from not only the skylight, but the side windows, and the garage flooded up to our ankles.  (The garage is where my bed frame and mattress are since they wouldn't fit up the stairs...)  Of course, the only reason the garage flooded was because I had left the door slightly lifted to allow the cat to get in and out, so it was my fault, a fact that was not lost on my husband as he had to haul everything out, sweep out the water and assess the damage.  Lovely.  And while Friday was the worst day at work, the rest of the week was no bed of roses.  Man, by the weekend, I felt battered and bruised and looked forward to a little down time from all that stress.  What happened instead is that I lost my debit card at the Three Rivers Arts Festival!  So after that, I thought to myself, "Okay, that's all over.  Begin the week with a positive attitude and everything will be fine."  Nice try.  Everything was not fine.  Hardly as bad as Friday, yesterday was still not what I would call a good day.  So, here I am on Tuesday - having gotten sick on top of everything else - feeling wholly sorry for myself and wondering how I break the cycle.

Well, the cycle will break somehow, and probably when I'm paying the least amount of attention to it.  And if I really stop to think about it, things could have been oh, so much worse.  For one thing, I had contractors here when the storm hit and they saw the water coming in the sunroom right away, so we were able to contain it before it really damaged things.  Then one of them educated me about weep holes in the windows, which had gotten clogged, which is why water was seeping in around the window frames.  Who knew?  We didn't have weep holes in Texas - it hardly ever rained!  They came back the next day and repaired the flashing around the sunroom too, which was nice of them.  When Greg cleaned out the garage, he found some things that I had been missing from the move and thought was lost, so that was fantastic!  We discovered my debit card before much time had past, so I got it canceled before any harm was done - I'm just without a debit card and have no money for 4-7 days, but, hey, it could have been so, so much worse.  And, in the middle of all the chaos of the week, I had a lovely lunch with my cousin.  It's a little harder to find the silver lining for the man I angered so thoroughly.  Life lesson learned, I guess - not sure; that situation upset me terribly.  But, for the moment, he has not gotten his wish, I am still employed, his problem is on its way to being taken care of.  Maybe even that is not fatal.  But, when you're in the middle of a bad cycle, it's so hard to see the lighter side of situations.  I had to stop and force myself to take stock of everything to realize the things I just rattled off.  My natural instinct was just to bemoan everything and look for ways to rationalize how some of it couldn't possibly be my own fault.  Well, bottom line is:  some of it wasn't, it was just circumstances, but some of it, including Mr. Angry Man, totally were a product of my own actions.  So, deal with it, Self.  You're hardly perfect!

I know people who have been caught in that sort of negative flux though for years, some stretching into decades.  Everything is awful and a crisis, but they can't break the cycle because to their mind none of it is their fault or responsibility.  My observation with some of these individuals is that yes, life has handed them some tough breaks, but the only way to break free is to take enough personal responsibility to say (and mean it) that enough is enough and you are going to do the work to change your own circumstances.  Whatever that work entails.  I think part of the process is to stop laying blame elsewhere and just accept where you are and then figure out what to do to get out of it.  It's easier to roll around in the muck and mire of despair.  That I can tell you.  But the easy path robs you of the joys you might find if you take the harder road.

During the course of the Really Rough Week, we received word that the father of a young friend of ours had passed away.  Our young friend had lost his older brother about a year and a half before Marissa lost Kelsey.  Now he's mourning his dad, and he and his mom are facing the reality of how fragile life really is.  Yesterday I got the news that the baby gorilla from the Pittsburgh zoo had died after a frantic effort to save him.  I had only Sunday been looking at a picture of him kissing his mother - I almost bought it.  As you might recall, I have strong feelings for the gorilla family at the zoo.  I know they mourn because I know they love, and it was clear in the announcement that the zoo staff felt the loss very strongly too.  In the light of those two losses, I think I can pick myself up, dust myself off and carry on because nothing I went through last week compared to that.  So, what about anyone out there with a similar black cloud hanging over us?  Time to break the cycle, folks!  Here's to a better week.

From blog.pittsburghzoo.org

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