Monday, April 24, 2017

When Life Hands You Lemons – And the Lemonade Makes Itself

The other day someone very close to me received a vile, deliberately hurtful piece of mail from a person who has chosen to self-exclude from a group we were all once part of. The timing of the mailing coincided with a particularly trying time in her life, seeming to be an intentional ‘kicking of the dog when he’s down’.

The level of animosity from that camp is no longer a surprise thanks to a particularly venomous attack last year; the only surprise now is the random arrows continually thrown even after periods of quiet.

When I heard about the ‘card’ she received, I felt terrible for her, because I didn’t want her hurting any more than she already was. I immediately came up with an idea for a video-chat ‘bonfire’ (she’s too far away for me to be there in person) where we could ceremoniously burn the offense and let its smoke dissipate up into the Universe, while the ashes would disperse and lose their collective sting. She wasn’t quite ready for that, and that was okay.

Today, I got my own piece of fan-mail from the other party; it was the same exact card my friend got. I found out shortly afterward that other members of our group did, too.

This is the lemon: that someone we were once close with did not only withdraw totally from us but is also so consciously hateful towards us and so purposely mean.

I learned after the last attack that I’d grown somewhat; while I was still sorry things worked out the way they did, I did not react as angrily as I was capable of. That was me making my own lemonade out of the situation.

This time?

This time the lemonade made itself - when I realized there was a lot of good that I could see about this:

I was happy that I got the same card! It mitigated the sting of what appeared to be the ‘singling out’ of my friend.

While I am blown away at the depth of the hostility, I am no longer angry at it. This/these person(s) have the right to feel however they choose. I realized that the adage about other people’s opinions not needing to matter to me is true. People will always think and say what they want – just as I reserve the right to. The only thing I have control over is my own reaction.

My reaction. I have a teensy reputation for snark in some of my closer circles; when loud anger and swearing doesn’t do the trick, I rely on heavy sarcasm--.

--And this blog entry would have had quite a different tone. I mean, really. While I did have small moments of snark – I mean, this card proved that I matter, because if I really didn’t care about someone else I would never invest in the purchase of a card and stamp or the time in writing out the note and delivering it to the post office, and this person did all that for me.

I could have even utilized my crafty skills to repurpose the card into a dart board, and blogged about how good it feels to hit targets (even by proxy).

But even those small lapses weren’t thought with the same force they would have had a year ago, or two years ago, or three … 

They weren’t comforting thoughts, either – because there was no need for comfort. I am not hurt. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how reactionary I don’t feel.

There is even a small part of me that is concerned that someone else is wasting their time and energy on such negativity. They must really be miserable; I’m sorry for that. I know what anger and hate can do to me, and I’m glad to be out of my own worst self.

I did use my crafty skills with the card though. When I realized that someone else’s intention to hurt me only served to reveal a level of growth and peace within myself I hadn’t realized – when I realized I got the lemons AND the lemonade at the same time – it HAD TO BE commemorated:

Yes, I actually smile when I look at it.