Life isn't fair

If I had a nickel for every time my mother repeated that phrase to me growing up, I probably wouldn’t have to work now. It’s a simple truth we all know, but somehow still easily forget. Childhood temper tantrums, shouting “That’s not fair!” evolve into adult pleading - “Why me?”

It’s universal.

Over the last three months, I’ve listened to two different people tell me two very different stories about the curveballs life has thrown at them. 

One. 

After another.

After another.

In one case, I listened and did everything I could to help, knowing that it was likely not enough. I did my best to conceal my tears. I didn’t want them mistaken for pity. I didn’t pity them. I admired and respected them. Their strength, perseverance and courage were humbling.

Hearing the heartbreaking details of someone else’s struggles made me look at my own life in a very different light. What did I have to complain about? Very little. I am blessed beyond measure.

The second conversation caught me by surprise.

An outer shell of calm with a warm smile can hide the heartache within so effectively. Taking each day as it comes, because thinking too far into the future just seems too overwhelming to someone so weighed down with worry and obligation.

Life. Is. Not. Fair.

Earlier tonight, Brandon asked me to play a game for him to watch on the Nintendo. As per usual, I kept falling off the cliff or drowning in the water. Each time I told him, “Silly Mommy made Mario fall.” His response was to repeat a different three words to me.

Over.

And over.

And over.

“Don’t give up, Mommy. Don’t give up.”

It may seem trite to compare my struggle to win a game to other people’s struggle to keep from losing in life. I don’t mean to be trite. I’m proud that Brandon is learning something that will help him later in life.

No matter how big or small the struggle: Don’t give up.

It’s true that life isn’t fair. Some people are given large doses of challenging situations to deal with. Others seemingly have relatively few. But big or small, we all struggle. Of that, there is no question.

The real test is in how we deal with those struggles when they arrive.

Discomfort Zone

It’s a cold December evening. I pull into the parking space and get out of my car, locking the doors. I hear the faint blare of music from the dance hall above, but all around me in the darkness, the night is still and silent. Apparently, winter formals aren’t terribly popular when you get to university - the area is like a ghost town. Peaceful, yet menacing. Why did I let them convince me to go?

In my dress and high heels, with careful steps on the uneven pavement, I make my way up to the dance.

It isn’t too late. There’s no one around. I can leave and they wouldn’t know I came. Alone. The third wheel.

My friends - the couple - are inside waiting for me. I think. I hope. I doubt I’ll know anyone else. Is anyone even here? With every step, my doubts grow. I want to turn and run back to my car. 

I want to go home, change into jeans and a sweatshirt and lounge on my bed with a hot chocolate. That is my idea of a rockin’ Friday night.

I approach the door, pull it open and step in.

*****

This prompt is inspired by the memoir prompt “When meeting someone for the first time, what do you want them to know about you? Describe a scene that shows your true self” at The Red Dress Club.