Things have felt much easier since I’ve been accepting my feelings and my situation. Last week, I went from still living out of my suitcase in my tiny room in Edinburgh to actually unpacking and trying to make myself feel at home. I put my makeup, perfume and toiletries on the shelf and bought a scented candle and some artificial flowers to spruce up my desk. I put as much of my clothes into the wardrobe as I could fit and the rest I set on top of my suitcase. I’m basically using my suitcase as a chest of drawers at the moment because of the lack of storage. There is still other people’s stuff in the wardrobe and there’s a corner on the desk of junk – none of which I feel comfortable throwing away. But at the moment, my room is feeling more like mine, which is really important. I don’t feel so reluctant to go back to it at the end of the day. I accepted my room wasn’t great but I’m making the best of it anyway. I accepted it wasn’t really clean and bought antibacterial wipes and cleaned it myself. I accepted other people in the house were taking my food and mistaking it for theirs so I took it to my room. I’ve been trying to complain less and instead do something.
I think there is strength that comes with being able to adapt. I was thinking about this yesterday. It’s better to be put in unfavourable situations and find ways to deal with it than to always be comfortable but to have your happiness depend on that. I think that is when we stop growing, lose tolerance and become set in our ways. And I’ve also been learning that it’s okay to feel upset about things not going the way you expected but not to let that feeling prevent you from making the best of what you’ve got.
Again, like so many things, for me it comes back to accepting the bad with the good. I think it has been ingrained in my mind that the ultimate goal in life is to be happy and that feeling sad means you’ve just not got there yet. My foster carer said to me once when I was struggling with depression that she knew someday I would “rise like phoenix” and that one day I’d wake up, the sun would be shining, and I wouldn’t feel bad anymore. It is true that bad feelings don’t last forever. But it is equally true that good feelings don’t, either. It is the belief that the worst is over with that makes depression hit so hard the second time around. Always feeling good is not a realistic goal. As if it is possible that someday there will be a paradise of elation awaiting us after all our strife! The older I get, the more I come to understand that this fantasy is just that – a fantasy. It was reading Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” yesterday that brought on this line of thinking. When he explained how joy and sorrow were inseparable, I almost breathed a sigh of relief. Because this is something I know in my heart to be true.
“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”
“Some of you say, ‘Joy is greater than sorrow,’ and others say, ‘Nay, sorrow is the greater.’ But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.” – Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”
A more realistic and workable goal, then, is not eternal happiness but instead emotional resilience. When I did my week of self awareness, I became familiar with the shifting nature of emotions. More difficult than this is accepting them. It is something that will take more than just a few days of mulling over. Hopefully I can use this book to help me out with this.
My next blog post will be on self love. Thank you for reading!
– SMUT xxx ❤