… or in business… or in life. I mean, there are times when it’s totally appropriate to shed a tear. The loss of a loved one, a heart-clutching hair band ballad from the 80’s or a tragic country song, a great movie ending – I get it. And like Truvy in Steel Magnolias, I sort of have an unwritten rule that no one cries alone in my presence. I may not have the answers, but I will almost always stand in solidarity, all teared up, when a loved one or friend is heartbroken or dealing with things that rock them to their core. I’ll offer a tissue (or a Shelton-esque hot beverage, for my fellow Big Bang Theory fans), and we’ll figure out together how to recover.
But I am my father’s daughter, so for myself, I’m more likely to keep my full-blown incoherent, grumbly pity parties under wraps if possible. Just like the hissy fits I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not a pretty crier when it all falls apart. It’s not a cute Reese Witherspoon/Legally Blonde kind of moment – more like something from The Exorcist. The crazy gets out sometimes, before I can tuck it back in. Apologies in advance – hide your children… I need a minute to bellyache.
And then? I want to get back on track. Walk it off. Rub some dirt on it. Stop the whining. It’s a coping mechanism, really. I think Jimmy thinks I’m a little bit of a weirdo when it comes to these situations. He’s ready to sit beside me and offer a shoulder to cry on, pat my leg and tell me it’s going to be okay. A great husband reaction, and bless him, that’s one of the things I love about him. But more often than not, I’d rather channel the frustration or pain into something useful. You know, more of a “suck it up, buttercup” kind of thing. I was going to say “beauty from ashes”, and there’s some of that in there too. But the buttercup and baseball are probably way more my style. Get on with it, onward & upward.
Earlier this week, I saw one of those funny top 10 lists on social media – I think it was things grown-ups have learned or something silly like that. You know, the “life’s not fair” kind of rules you don’t learn in school. It was ironically set to soothing music in the background, as if to soften the blows of these hard knocks. It talked about how your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not, and how TV isn’t life because in life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to work. And do grown up things – like dealing with sadness and disappointments.
This text exchange between my dad and me this week sums it up.
Me: Deal didn’t go through. Moving to next option.
Dad: Gotcha! Wasn’t meant to be, I reckon.
Me: Yep. Exactly what I was thinking. Onward & upward. Still worth the effort for a lesson learned.
Now, if I had called in tears, without question, he would have listened and had some killer advice. And then he would have reminded me I’m not a quitter and told me it’s time to get back in there (wherever “there” is) and go at it again. And you know what? I’m grateful for that. I can so appreciate that it hasn’t always been easy for him, and he has always pressed on in spite of adversity. He taught me to do the same. He worked in mainframe computers, eventually running one of the top 3 largest data centers in our state – and did it all without a college degree. There’s no way he didn’t face naysayers, and probably had to run the old “fake it till you make it” game every once in a while. So if I muster up a little swagger about myself as I get back in there, all the better. Not cocky or entitled, but confident.
The disappointments, sadness and frustrations are always going to be there. I know I can’t always control the things that happen, but I can always choose how I respond. In fact, that may be the ONLY thing I can control sometimes. So when I miss my cut-off man, or don’t get the recognition I was hoping for, or am facing uncertainty, it’s going to be okay. It’s ALWAYS going to work out in the long run, one way or another. Is it always going to go my way? Nope, it sure isn’t – I’m not always going to get the trophy. But there’s no crying in baseball. And I’m fine with that, coach.