[ Excuse the mess of this post, I needed to get a multidue of diferent thoughts out about this situation and couldn’t find a way to do it eloquently ]
“But you’re 24, 25 correct? You don’t have any real problems, except for maybe school loans and possibly getting married.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of this, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but last Thursday, I slightly snapped. There’s always a constant battle of trying to establish myself within my position at my job. There’s the fact that I’m the youngest in my department, I’m pretty young to have my title too. I’m the only black woman that is not an admin, and simply put, engineering and many other technical fields are dominated by men. Fighting for credibility is always something in the back of my mind. But this, is probably one of the most annoying comments I’ve heard… which is quite hypocritical of me because I sometimes wonder why some people’s lives seem to fall into place ever so perfectly.
In other words, I didn’t like the tables turned in my direction. And I was actually quite offended that someone thought my life was all sunshine simply because of my age.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this and how I would spin this into a blog post. A post centered on explaining that the average twenty-something year old struggles too. I wanted to delve into the fact that I found it nonsensical that society assumes that because of our age we have yet to experience trials that are worth complaining about… because let’s face it, I can name about 5 of us going through more than the average 45-year-old. We do struggle too.
But after much thought, I remembered something else from Thursday’s conversation:
“Because you’re always smiling. You greet everyone, your desk is full of positive sticky notes. You just don’t seem to have many troubles.”
That was her rebuttal when I asked her to explain her previous statement. A valid observation but still a poor excuse. But it made me wonder about what we perceive as a struggle and if we choose to struggle.
I try to remain in a pleasant mood at work because well, the workplace isn’t the place to share one’s’ personal trials and tribulations. You don’t bring your emotional baggage to the workplace. I also do not like to show that I am struggling with something, even more-so now that I know there a people who are dependent on my misfortunes for their own happiness. I’m a firm believe that you only know what people want you to see. I don’t like to be perceived as weak. I don’t welcome pity either. I believe in my privacy, even with being a blogger, because there are certain things in my life that belong only to my knowledge, and I know I’m not the only that lives this way. Ask Beyonce, she seems to be the queen of this.
Not only that, I think a struggle is only a struggle if you choose to see it that way. We all have moments where life is shitty, but it’s really up to you to allow it to stop you from living. There is always the option to push through with a “shit happens, but I’ll make it through” mindset. This is something I have been trying to adopt for a while now, slowly but surely I’m mastering it. I’m not private for the sake of being private anymore. I simply aim to not continuously speak of my adversities (especially when they’re fresh on my mind) because I strongly believe you give them life when doing so. I do vent, my best friends can attest to that, but I get it out of my system to move forward to the solution. The solution is what I will dwell upon. Either that, or I talk to myself to figure out if it’s really something I should allow to occupy my mind. Half of the time it isn’t.
I used to put on a happy face for the sake of doing so, but your actions, feelings and thoughts are all connected. You change one, and stick to it, you eventually will change the others. It’s the basis of cognitive therapy (how we perceive and think about the world directly impacts how we feel and behave). Faking it till you make it, change your thoughts, change your life, all synonymous.
So with knowing this fun fact, do you think we create our own miseries?