The amazing thing to me is not that people write, and write so beautifully. No. That is just the best of the human spirit at work. What is truly astonishing is that it's done within the limitations of our written alphabets. How extraordinary it is to be able to express so many feelings, thoughts, emotions, opinions, fears, hopes, joys, sadnesses, expectations, desires, hates - all bound by the insignificant characters we call our tools.
It is probably obvious to anyone who reads this blog that I love language. I love writing, I love expressing opinions. I love a good rant about pretty much anything and I don't hold back if I am upset or hurt about something on someone else's behalf. I quite like talking in a ranty way as well, and am never usually lost for words, much to some people's despair.
And yes, I love shoes. And books. And cats.
Wow, I'm a real prospect. A yarpy, nerdy shoe-loving cat lady.
Awesome. I probably should delete that description, but that would make a nonsense of what I am trying to say.
One thing I am truly bad at, despite all the self-expression - and I think this is possibly true for everyone, but especially for those of us who are introverts pretending to be extroverts - is admitting when things are not fabulous. In written words or out loud.
Actually saying 'I am not OK, and I am not happy/coping/well/in a good place' is something that is ridiculously hard for me to do. I see it as a weakness I suppose. Because when you belong to the 'Suck It Up Princess' School Of Life Management, the first lesson you teach yourself is to - well, suck it up. There's no crying in baseball, things will be fine, get over yourself; these are all words I smack myself around the brain with on a daily basis. Because yes, life does go on and things usually will be fine; but sometimes - well, sometimes they aren't, and admitting that this is a possibility means admitting vulnerability, and fear, and even despair.
Most of all, it means admitting you are human.
Much as I would like to believe it at times, I am not a robot. I can't just go on and on with the power of an automaton - saying 'yep, all good!' and secretly screaming inside my head. Do that, and you will not only end up blowing a gasket, but you will lose so many things - opportunities, options, and most importantly, people who care about you - because you haven't been able to tell them how hard things are, and so when you break, they don't know how to deal. How could they? If you constantly hide all the frailties that you hold inside yourself, then all they know of you is a two-dimensional caricature rather than a real person.
You may well ask why this is a gratitude post.
Because I am immensely grateful for a few things. For someone who cared enough to use truthful words with me, and got me to say out loud 'I am struggling' - and yes, Lao Tzu is correct. Sometimes truthful words are not beautiful. But they are real.
I am also grateful for the people and opportunities in my life. Full stop. That, after admitting to not being at my tiptop best - after actually letting some of that vulnerability out of its locked box in my brain and my heart - I have received back nothing but support and strength and love.
I feel as though I have managed to take off the padlock of said Pandora's box and just breathe.
For anyone out there who is proudly wearing their Suck It Up t-shirt, I just want to say this;
Wear the t-shirt by all means - and do wear it with pride. Because being able to cope under a lot of stress is a strength, and you should be proud of it.
But even the best t-shirts get grubby and need a wash - so every so often, allow yourself a change of metaphysical clothing - and perhaps put on a 'NOT COPING AT ALL' or even just 'Help!' number instead.
Hard - yes.
Essential to being yourself?
Even bigger yes.
And I am grateful that for once, I am letting myself see that - so I'm off to change my top.
'COPING O.K. - BUT HUGS WELCOMED'.
Words I know to be true. And beautiful.
Take that, Lao Tzu.