Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Perspective

I have to start with elaborating a little more on yesterday's Wrath post.

I want to address singleworkingmommy's comment directly. (Sorry, hun - you've been singled out again :) She said:

"It is easier to count all of the injustices of mankind's history than to count the times that things have gone right." [quoting my post]

I don't know about that. I think it's easier to count the injustices, because they stand out more. There are things that go right every day, there are also things that go wrong every day. The important thing is not taking advantage or disregarding the things that go "right" every single day just because that's the way we "think" things should be. Sure, they might be small, right things, but they are victories none the less.

Does that make sense?


At first, I'll be honest. It didn't. Because, as you stated, good and bad things happen every day to everyone. But then I thought about it some more. First, after reading OHMommy's post about her very frightening experience with her child. And then I thought about some other events.

Earlier, I read that a woman (whom I don't know IRL, from a mom's community) had lost her husband a week ago. She went somewhere, she came back, and he was dead. I thought about other women from that community that struggle with their own health issues every day.

And of course, my first thought was, "I need to stop whining already." But I've said before (maybe not here, but to others) that while other people may be in what could be considered "worse" positions doesn't invalidate what we feel. And I stand by that.

However, I also haven't been giving myself enough credit...and that's why I have to thank SingleWorkingMommy for making me think about this all in a different way.

I gotta tell you, I rocked today. I went to this meeting about this KIPP issue I mentioned before (which I still can't really talk about here), and I was awesome. I said everything I wanted to say, I said it coherently, and even though I did cry a couple of times, they were just a few tears, and I quickly regained my composure.

The other parents there validated my feelings in the sense that they find the news just as upsetting as I have, and that what I fear and what I'm upset about are real concerns that absolutely have to be addressed. At the same time, I'm not taking it lying down. I'm not retreating to my dark place and moaning, what's it all about? I'm standing up for me, for Sylvia, for this person I believe in, for what seems right for the school as a whole.

Now, before I pat myself on the back too much, the issue is far from settled, and there's a very good chance I won't win this one. But I'm already thinking about Plans B and C, and even if all else fails, what I'm going to do next year to stay on top of things and ensure that KIPP remains a strong school with a supportive team and sense of family that I cherish dearly (and has done wonders with my Sylvia).

As an aside (or maybe the point?), it's so much easier to do this for my daughter than it is for me. It's so easy to stand up for her and what she deserves. It's much harder to do for myself.

Which reminds me of something a friend told me once, to treat myself like I would a good friend. Now I know how that can sound (OMG - how friggin' corny, right?), but there are some people that I fiercely believe can move mountains. No matter how tough things get for them, I know that they will pull through.

So why don't I always feel that strongly about myself? Because I tell you, there have been days this year that I really wasn't sure I could keep growing. Not going, I know I can always get up in the a.m. and do what I have to do for my kids. But for myself - to keep thinking forward, and wanting things, and having faith in myself beyond just that.

I'm really not sure all of this makes sense. I'm still trying to figure it out for myself.

I've been joking a lot lately about being a pessimist and having low expectations is really the only way to go. Which is all well and good. There are little things that don't matter so much when it comes to that, and certain things are easier to get through if you don't expect too much.

But I can't throw the towel in on me just yet. I don't know how I'm going to get there. I'm not even sure where "there" is at the moment. A friend recommended a book to me, which I stopped reading somewhere in the middle of the third chapter - most likely because I stopped believing the title, which is I Can Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was. I think I believe that now.

18 comments:

CableGirl said...

First and foremost, congratulation to you on articulating your distress about Sylvia's school in a school forum. It is vitally important for parents to stay involved in their kids' schools at all times, even more so when things start to go off track. I hope it all works out. And if not I hope pLans B anc C will work for you both.

I See your and singleworkingmommy's point about the number of good things that happen daily and how easy it is to overlook them. Maybe it is easier to see the bad and take the good for granted. that doesn't mean that there aren't more obstacles than bridges in the world. If it's a matter of perspective you can always aim for a silver lining in any situation.

Having said that, I don't think that it's always a good thing to *try* to look for a silver lning. I'm not talking about being an absolute pessimist here and refusing to acknowledge the good that happens. What I mean is that when you see and injustice and it hits you where you hurt, you get involved. (people, I mean, not you in particular).

I'm rambling. I'll have to work this one out on paper and then many post my response on my blog.

GoMommy said...

I think it's hard when we have so many other responsibilities to think about ourselves- it's easy to lose sight of who you are. There are alot of us in the same boat- you're not alone! I hope you find what you're looking for!

GoMommy said...

I think it's hard when we have so many other responsibilities to think about ourselves- it's easy to lose sight of who you are. There are alot of us in the same boat- you're not alone! I hope you find what you're looking for!

Immoral Matriarch said...

The bad outweighs the good. Definitely.

Sorry.

Bridget said...

Hey I stopped by to thank you for your comment on my Sin post-didn't expect a new post already, but I am glad I stumbled on to it. I agree with Cablegirl kudos on being able to express all of this.

Sometimes it is hard to reconcile feeling good while so many others feel bad. One thing that has always stuck with me is, you can never feel bad enough to make someone else feel good - Wayne Dyer I believe.

Lastly I think certain things are contagious, thoughts and feelings especially. Celebrate the little vitories and they will lead to big ones. I sound like a fortune cookie but from what I can tell from your posts you should be far from throwing in the towel.

Kori said...

I am really out of my league here, and I know it, and I know already that I am opening myself up to be slaughtered by saying this, but bullshit. I really think a lot more good things happen in the world than bad ones, but good news doesn't sell. Period. We as a nation eat up the violence and the drama and the bad shit that happens everywhere-that is what sells newspapers, books, advertising on the tv. That said, I know how you feel in the sense that it is hard to be hopeful, because I well know that feeling. I know that it feels like everything that happens to you (us, collectively) is bad. I know that, I have felt that, I live that feeling. but like you said, it is a matter of perspective. And for me-and ONLY for me-if I truly believed that the bad outweighed the good, I would kill myself. There would be no point in living at all.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I'm totally with Kori on this one. I'm also trying to change my thinking to more of a yin yang perspective in terms of the "bad".

It gives me a different perspective than I've had in my previous cultural lens.

Very thoughtful discussion, and good for you for standing up for yourself and for Sylvia in the KIPP issue!

Jeff said...

Good job on being assertive at the meeting. I often find people complaining after a situation that they "wished" they had stood up and said what they really felt. Even though it's hard to do, I always feel better after I've stood up and said my piece.

abrightfuture said...

Congrats on the meeting going well!!! You are an awesome Mom.

I have written about perspective in the past, and COMPLETELY agree with you when you say that other people having problems worse than your own doesn't invalidate your struggles. I think it's both difficult and important to keep things in perspective. But it sounds like you're doing a really good job.

**hugs, sweetie!**

Natalie said...

You are really an inspiration for me, you know that? The way you are involved with your daughter's and the school really inspires me to do the same (when my boy is in school, that is).

I do believe the good outweighs the bad, but I believe that right now, for a lot of people, the balance is being tipped. Things are getting worse (meaning there is a heavier load of bad than we are used to)and we most certainly have a right to be concerned about it.

"But I've said before (maybe not here, but to others) that while other people may be in what could be considered "worse" positions doesn't invalidate what we feel. And I stand by that."

Bingo.

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

I agree with you that it is much esier to stand up for others than for ourselves. I often wonder how I can can so far for someone else and then allow myself to be treated badly. great post.

sybil law said...

I don't call myself a pessimist or an optimist - I prefer realist. Because that's what I am. I imagine every possible outcome I can, for nearly any situation, so that there aren't many surprises. That keeps me on top of things, and able to act and react to stuff with a clear head. I think that makes my life easier, and therefore, kinda optimistic.
But anyway, it's excellent that you stood up for what you believe in, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Your opinion is just as right as anyone else's! Good job!

Lis Garrett said...

My husband tells me ALL the time what a pessimist I am but, like sybil law, I prefer to think of myself as a realist. It helps me to feel more prepared.

Wow! I feel like I missed some heavy thinking here by not reading any blogs for a few days. I definitely have to get caught up!

Karen MEG said...

I'm a half-glass empty type of person, usually expect the worst before hoping for better. I was born like that.

Major kudos to you for getting so involved in your daughter's school, and standing up at the meeting.

I think once you become a mom it is easy to lose sight of oneself. I can very much relate to you doing whatever it is you have to do and more for your kids, but for yourself, perhaps not so much.

But if you can do it for your kids, why not for yourself? You certainly deserve nothing less.

Single Working Mommy said...

Snap. I'm out there annoying all types of really cool people with my comments this week? I'm on a roll...

I am with you on other people's "worse" situations shouldn't invalidate what you feel. Your feelings should ALWAYS be validated, because they are yours, and you are a good person. Whether other people agree or not? Eh, doesn't matter.

Believe me, I'm not all Pollyanna Sunshine over here. I'm probably one of those "expect the worst, hope for the best realist" types, too. At least that's what *I* think I am--until someone tells me I have a great perspective on life and have a way with helping people work through their feelings and emotions, and then I'm like "Who, me? Huh?"

By some people's standards, I've been through "a lot." Things generally don't come easy for me. So, I try to appreciate the good things, because as soon as I get comfy, my kid's going to get kicked out of daycare, or get sick again, or I'm going to end up the hospital, get laid off, or my transmission on my car is going to die--that's just the way my life goes. So I try to make the best of it, and try to forget about the injustices in my life (or the world) and try to get through the day. Because the sun will come out tomorrow. :) It's much easier said, than done though, isn't it?

OHmommy said...

"to treat myself like I would a good friend"

So not corny. I wish I would remember that more. My mother called me today and asked if I was depressed. I think I kinda of am... do not know why. But I have to start treating myself as I would a good friend. Keep moving forward.

WTG on staying so involved. ;)

Florinda said...

Your comment about pessimism being easier - keep your expectations low, and you won't be disappointed - is one that I've made quite a few times myself. For me, it IS easier. But I've talked to people who disagree, and it's because looking on the bright side is easier for them. I suspect that part of the outlook comes from how we're wired.

But I seem to find that there are times when it's worth it to make the effort to do what is, for me, the harder thing - to press on, to take a leap of faith. It sounds like you may be finding the same thing.

FreedomFirst said...

Take heart, April. The fates may be fickle, but destiny always evens the score. Sometimes the invisible punishments are the worst. You won't go unavenged. But I know, it would be nice to have the satisfaction of watching it, maybe with a little financial benefit from it to make up for your trouble. (Hugs)