Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dark Days…

Some days you wish you had just curled up beneath the bed covers and disappeared for the next twenty-four hours. I don’t have many bad days, but today was kind of unsettling. I don’t know if the lady in the elevator, who has completely clueless about the concept of personal space, set my annoyance in motion, or if being referred to as “Glat’s assistant” by a VP, who damn well knows my name (he’s known me for two years), sparked my ire. Both occurrences happened this morning. It seems almost inevitable that if the day begins badly, it continues on that trajectory. Do other unpleasant or frustrating events keep manifesting because of the negative attitude one keeps holding onto once these feelings arise?

Oftentimes I feel guilty for being testy, impatient, or angry. I had cancer, I’ve dealt with very serious life and death issues, and so I should be able to effortlessly rise above petty annoyances, impatience-inducing situations, and all the dreadful news stories. For instance, daily, I read the news, I listen to it, I watch it; I am freaking inundated with news and therefore, all the tragedy, unkindness, injustice, and corruption in the world overwhelm my compassionate and docile nature.

We live in a world where onlookers stand by and watch a seventeen-year-old girl being stoned to death by four men—they make no attempt to save her life, but they sure as hell can record the incident on their cell phones. We live in a world where people get some perverted pleasure watching dogs fight to the death, ripping viciously at each others’ flesh. We reside in a world where parents will put a baby in a microwave, and where holier-than-thou-do-gooders want rape and incest victims to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, living with the reminder of their attacker’s brutality for nine months. These are all stories I’ve been reading about over the past week. I cannot comprehend this callous disregard for life, and yes, I’m referring to life already existing on this planet.

Helplessness and sadness blankets me, smothering all positive feelings I may possess when I read about or hear of these stories. So, after the above incidents happened and then reading these news articles, I decided to leave for my audition, thinking that the sunshine and a warm breeze would transform my mood.

I stepped out of 280 Park and headed toward the subway. A gentle breeze caressed my skin, my hair blew softly, and the warmth penetrated my white jacket. I love the brightness, clear skies, and warmth of a spring day. Yet once I arrived at the subway, the V train was pulling away. I waited for two E trains to pass before another V train arrived. It took me an hour to get to 21st Street from 53rd. Then once at the audition, there were twenty-five plus people ahead of me, and the auditors were conducting five-minute interviews. At this rate, I’d be there for two more hours. I just didn’t have the patience to wait that long for a $350 job. So, I scratched my name off the list and left. Of course, on the way back to the office, at the subway, I had to wait for two F trains before a V arrived. See? It was one of those days when even the little things—like catching a subway train—don’t go your way.

I really try to maintain a positive attitude, but the constant effort gets exhausting. I think we need to allow ourselves to experience our frustration, anger, or sadness. I believe that sometimes the positive-attitude mantra is crap, and all I long to do is wallow in my misery and anger because that anger empowers me. However, that being said, I don’t stay in this disgruntled state too long because, by nature, I am a positive, optimistic person who believes that our thoughts create our reality.

Yet it is unrealistic to be positive all the time, and anyone who claims to be is a liar. I don’t enjoy calling people liars, but sometimes these purveyors of positive thinking can make us feel lacking in conviction or inadequate when we have lapses in this positive frame of mind. Positive-thinking fatigue sets in and then what I really want to do is throw myself on the floor, fists pounding it, and scream.

Boy, it feels really good to write this. I am actually smiling right now. I think my day just turned around. A little bit of negativity can be good if it is used as a learning tool. By grappling with these feelings and trying to understand them, I have cleared my mind and released muscle tension. I can begin anew. It is 3:28 in the afternoon and I can start afresh—no need to wait until tomorrow. I breathe in and out, calm my thoughts, and let my fingers move leisurely over this keyboard on which I’m typing. I feel centered.

So my friends, embrace your anger, experience it, and then let it go so that you can once again work on the positive aspects of your life. And don’t judge yourself too harshly; I’m not. Just because I survived cancer and learned many lessons, doesn’t mean I’ve overcome all the imperfections that make me human; I still battle them and will continue to do so. The key is to know when to experience negative emotions and when to send them on their way. This knowledge keeps me on track to receive all the good in my life and, regardless of all the tragedy and injustice inherent in it, the world too.

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