“I bought a gift for my girlfriend’s bachelorette party and they didn’t even have a box for me to put it in” I said sobbing into the phone to my friend.
I was walking out of the crazy busy mall in 88 degree, humid weather. Earlier that day I stopped at Market Basket to grab fruit salad to bring to a lunch with a different friend and stepped in gum. Shortly after leaving the store I received a text about bringing fruit salad to a brunch the next day. And now, I was walking out of a mall without gift wrapping for a gift. It felt like life became exponentially harder all in one day.
From the other end of the phone, in the only way a friend could ever do something like this to make me feel better, all I hear is chuckling and I immediately start laughing at the absurdity of my reasoning for crying. He then asked me what was truly wrong.
I attempted to give him the aforementioned obstacles in my day, to which he replied “so you need to stop at another store, big deal”. Again-only in a way this friend could say to me to make me laugh. He knew there was something deeper that spurred this, because he knows me well enough to know I don’t get upset over trivial things (more on this later). Then I proceeded to tell him what really triggered it. (pro tip- the first answer people give is rarely the most truthful).
While I was waiting in line forever-only to find out there wasn’t a box for my gift-I was flipping through Facebook as you do. There was a post from three of my friends from back home, all with their significant others, going to an event I was supposed to go today. It hit me, I’m back at square one, watching everyone live their life with their best friends and I am flying solo.
Then, like any good friend, he went into empathy mode and reminded me it’s ok to cry and be upset. He said all the things a good friend should say, but that I don’t necessarily currently believe (and that’s ok).
The one thing he said that struck me the most was “It’s so peculiar to hear you crying. You’re always so upbeat and optimistic. The whole time I’ve known you I don’t think I’ve heard you cry once”. (We’ve known each other ten years… Holy crap. Ten years!) Instinctually I thought, “I don’t want to be known as that person who pretends to be happy all the time, and who people think never has any problems”. Then I realized these are two different things.
I have been authentically happy for a very long time. Every now and again I have mood swings as any girl does and throw myself pity parties, but on the whole I am consistently happy and I should be proud of it. It takes work to be this way. I read a lot, don’t watch the news/t.v. shows, listen to podcasts of successful people, work out consistently, pray, maintain great friendships, eat healthy, surround myself with positive people.
The struggle of life is real. I have struggles, you have struggles, we all have struggles. Life’s about responding to these struggles with a good attitude, because that’s when it’s hardest to have one and when I have to draw on security and stability from God the most. I’m not perfect yet, as I was reminded by today’s experience, but I’m a lot farther than I’d be without preparing myself.
Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.
My friend told me today that I’m the best break up handler she’s ever known. I’ll take it.