Original Link : https://medium.com/the-ascent/this-too-shall-pass-35d33cd007ac
I sometimes catch myself thinking that I am a complete failure.
I have achieved ZERO in life. Big fat zero.
I can’t pay monthly rent by myself. I am not dating anyone. I can’t afford to travel. My calorie-tracking app checks on me more often than any of my friends. My bank statement by the end of the month looks like a Starbucks receipt. Having said I don’t remember the last time I went to Starbucks. I have recently found a hole in my favorite Nike sweatshirt, and I legitimately started crying.
Overall, I am still okay.
I’ve kept a diary since I was ten. My very first one had emojis next to every date, so you could highlight your mood without going into details — an angry face, sad face, smiley, and “meh.”
I circled an angry face most of the time.
My childhood was pretty close to perfect until my father died in a car accident. It all went downhill from there.
Do you have these weird memories — when nothing of a significant impact has happened, but you still remember these events to the detail?
I remember how shortly after my father’s death, I lay in a bathtub and thought to myself that it could not be true; so far in my life, people only have died in movies. Death was not supposed to be real.
I also remember how when I was about seven, I got very angry with my mom for some most certainly bizarre reason, and I called her “stupid.” Before she could reply anything back, my father escorted me to my bedroom and turned on the recorder on a cassette player.
— Do you understand, that what you said was wrong?
— Do you promise not to do it again?
I don’t think I understood anything, but I have to admit — listening to that tape over and over again every time I screwed up, did the trick.
I was screwing up less and less.
I wonder what happened to those tapes after he passed away.
No one played them to me again. And I did not go looking either.
There was a lot of anger and frustration inside of me, and my diary was the tool I used to express those emotions.
Sometimes I did not even write anything. I drew bleeding hearts, knives, bleeding roses — lots of bleeding.
Kids made fun of me at school — sometimes because of my last name, sometimes because of a short haircut.
Now someone tells me how I look muscular like a man, and I feel proud — I am not busting my ass in vain, duh. But back then, it was upsetting. And every time I entered a girls’ bathroom, and one of them screamed “but you are not allowed here — you are a boy!” and ran away giggling; I drew another bleeding heart next to an angry face.
About a year I came across the notion of a gratitude journal. It sounded like a good idea — after all, I have been journaling my entire life.
At that time I was holding on to emotional baggage from a recent break-up, and on most days I could not find a single reason to smile. I did not just feel like a failure; I also felt ugly, lonely, and unworthy of any love at all.
But there were many things I could be grateful for, still.
Like my family, right? But they are not anywhere close. Half of my family lives in another city, the other half — in another country.
I could be grateful for my friends?
A friend, really. That’s right, loser — you are almost 30 years old, and you’ve only got yourself A FRIEND.
Every time I came up with something I could be grateful for, I found one hundred reasons to cry about it.
Yeah, that gratitude journal did not last a page.
“My life sucks!” — I wrote on the next page and went on to describe in great detail how it sucked.
I massacred the notebook for at least an hour before I realized something.
I was not angry anymore.
At some point during my madman’s confession, I wrote:
“YOU ARE NEVER FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN — AND NO ONE IS EVER GOING TO LOVE YOU.”
And then all of a sudden, a voice in my head whispered, “Never? No one? REALLY???”.
I suddenly realized that “never” is too big of a word to be throwing it around like a ping pong ball.
So is always.
I might be feeling like a failure today — because I have received another rejection letter from a writing gig I was hoping to get.
I might be feeling lonelier than usual after a former colleague’s invite to her wedding, and a question if I would be bringing my “+1”.
Sometimes we do find ourselves holding onto these negative emotions which are not even attached to the present — we are sad about the past and terrified of the future.
Sure, we all have bad days, break-ups, rejections, and half a million other nasty things nag us as we go.
But most of them are temporary.
Most of them are just another angry face next to a calendar date.