Shan Jeniah awarded me the Sunshine Award. Thank you, Shan, for the honor! As soon as I wrestle the image onto the blog, I will display it proudly. Beyond the fact that Shan is one of the sunniest people I’ve met, she referred to a thought-provoking post by PurposeFairy , called 15 things you should give up to be happy.
There are many good points in the post, and I will come back to them in later reflections, but there were several about giving up criticism and negative thinking. I immediately thought of my mother, who among all her good qualities, taught me by negative example as well. My mother grew up with incredibly difficult circumstances, but managed to rise above them for at least a few years. There is a picture of her on her 21st birthday, which ended up being her engagement picture, as she married my father less than three months later. She is looking to the upper left of the frame, with a flowing fall of dark auburn hair, wavy, thick and lush, covering the bare shoulder above the black strapless drape so often seen in formal portraits of the time. Although she is not smiling, she has humor in her eyes, but it does not detract from the strength and optimism there as well. I look at her, a woman whom I never knew, and wonder where all that positive energy went. By the time I was born, she had only a shadow of that strength, having given it up to live in her obsessive negative thoughts, her regrets, and disappointments. When I was younger, my sister and I would play a game: we would try to predict my mother’s negative answers to something we would say. It quickly became sad that she could somehow say something even more negative than either of us could imagine.
It became clear to me that one’s perspective is under one’s control. I always try to look at the half-full glass rather than the half-empty one. I would prefer to laugh about something than to cry. I have made my mistakes, and sometimes fall into regret, but I prefer to look at what I learned from those mistakes. I have my negative self-talk, and my brutal internal editor that so many of us writers carry around, but I am far more comfortable with myself than I have been in a long time. I hate to talk about myself, so the “About” pages on blogs are torture, but I no longer twist myself into what I hope are pleasing shapes for a particular audience. I’m not waiting to be a crazy wild woman in my old age, but am there now.
I am still mulling over the bloggers to whom I will pass on this award. Stay tuned!