Sunday, September 18, 2011

Keeping up appearances

Life is unpredictable.  Life can be great.  And then suddenly you get whacked upside the head and your world is turned upside down.  These whackings that I speak of may be big or small but when you combine them in multiples, life begins to feel insurmountable.  I personally, have received many whackings over the last 16 months.

I think the only reason that I have kept my sanity is through sharing my story.  Oh dear readers, I share my story with you here almost every day but I have only been blogging for a short time.  I began sharing my story when things started to get really tough.  When my husband lost his job last year, a friend of mine was going through a divorce at the same time.  I was still grieving the loss of my Dad, 3 months earlier and I was struggling.  I began sharing my thoughts and feelings with my friend and she opened up to me and shared things I had never imagined she would.  Suddenly, neither of us felt any shame about our situation (why should we, right?) and we became closer than we ever had before.  It is a strange phenomenon. I took no pleasure in her pain but somehow it made me feel better to know that someone else like me was struggling.  I wanted nothing but the best for her, but her problems made me feel as though I wasn't the only one out there who's life wasn't perfect.  Maybe, listening to her problems made me forget mine for a while.

Most of us go through life sugar coating things for the people around us.  I think social media adds to this problem.  Take for instance, someone may declare on Facebook, "Had a great time out with the girls last night!"  As they are typing those words into their status bar, they are thinking to themselves, "I am really lonely, I wish I had someone to share my life with and all the other girls wouldn't stop talking about their boyfriends!"  Then there's the Mom who states, "Had a fantastic time at the beach with my family!" but the real truth is she argued with her husband all morning while trying to get the family ready for the beach, for some reason she has no respect for him and him none for her.  They are miserable!  I'm not pointing any fingers, I've done it too!  Sugar coating things for others makes us lie to ourselves and in turn makes things more difficult to deal with.

I know, I know, your thinking, "Is she really saying that we should ALL air our dirty laundry on Facebook?"  No, that's not my point at all.  My point is that we compare ourselves to all these wonderful sugar coated lives that other people have.  I'm not saying that there aren't people out there that have great lives and hardly any troubles.  I'm saying that these are hard times and you would be surprised just how many people are struggling!  No one gets on Facebook and says, "Can't pay my mortgage again, wonder if this will be the month that I get the foreclosure notice on the door?"

When I moved to Las Vegas and began to make friends, I was honest about my story.  I felt no shame for the hand that I had been dealt.  I wasn't whiny when I told people, just matter of fact.  And do you know what I discovered?  Well, I'm going to tell you.  People that I had just met would begin to tell me their troubles.  It never depressed me because it was always conveyed in a "I'm in the same boat as you" kind of way.  Every where I turned someone was losing their house or filing bankruptcy or their husband had lost his job for the 3rd time in 2 years.  Since I have started this blog, I have received messages from people opening up to me, some of them even ask my advice (like I'm some kind of expert or something).

The stigmas that were once branded on people who suffered financial problems are no longer appropriate.  We are all in this together, some of us will suffer more than others but we can help each other by being truthful and not trying to "keep up appearances".

I encourage you to look within yourself and think about how you really feel.  Even if your troubles aren't related to the economy.  Maybe your marriage is failing, maybe you hate your job, or maybe you are just unhappy and you can't figure out why.  Open yourself up to someone, don't whine, don't complain, just tell the truth.  You might be surprised how much better you feel!


Dwija {House Unseen} said...

So much truth here, Sharon. The last week has been filled with people sharing their very true stories, making me feel like we will actually make it. Such a great feeling!

Shar said...

We're all in this together! ;-P

Vicky said...

It's amazing how much help you get when times are rough. I've been overwhelmed with the kindness of both friends and strangers in relation to my mom's current illness. People do sympathise, empathise, and care. xx

Shar said...

Vicky, I'm glad that people are reaching out to you and I hope Auntie Vi is doing better!

my3littlebirds said...

Thank you for sharing your story here : ) And yes, we are all in this together.

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