This week, some stuff happened that caused me great anxiety. As the stress washed over me, I tried to ride it out like a wave. I tried to put it in perspective. And actually, for one of the first times, it worked. Not to say I haven't gone back and forth a bit, but life is like that, and human beings aren't static -- nothing about us is static.
I talked to a few friends and family members about my reaction, which I have learned in the grand scheme of things is actually more important than the event -- the repercussions of my reactions last far longer than the crises. The general consensus seems to be that 2011 Rita is really handling things far better than 1992 Rita or even 2007 Rita. Wow, 2011 Rita, they said. You get down with your bad self.
I thought this morning as I was driving home from dropping off my girl at summer camp that great friends are like that: They are our mirrors. My friends reflect back to me not a glamorized version of myself flawlessly executing under any degree of pressure, but the real version, the version who sometimes wins and sometimes loses but is always someone they regard with love.
Because they accept me with all my flaws, it means even more when they tell me they are proud of me. Because they have seen every iteration -- in one case, every iteration since I was three years old -- they are even better judges than I am of my progress or lack thereof.
Having these people in my life -- my husband, my family and friends -- brings forth the best me, better behavior than I would exhibit left to my own devices in the depths of my psyche (which would far prefer a bag of Doritos and a stack of John Hughes movies or perhaps a baseball bat and some windows). I recognize all the time that wanting to show these people I love that I can do it keeps me moving forward most of the time.
It's weird that I was thinking all this before this latest series of events occurred when I wrote my review of Terry McMillan's Getting to Happy (it's the sequel to Waiting to Exhale) for BlogHer Book Club. Even then, I wrote:
And that's what I found with the women of Getting to Happy. You get to happy, then you get to sad, then you fight your way back to happy again. The triumphs don't last any longer than the falls, but the reverse can also be true.
Normally I would've tried to find some witty way to tie back this post to a review that I wanted to tell you all about anyway, but today it's so organic as to be shocking even to me. We are all trying to get to happy. And it, by definition, is elusive, because it, by definition, is relative.