Thursday, March 26, 2015

Life is a like a box of choc...aphorisms, adages, metaphors...

"When life throws you lemons...," if you're me, you make a helluva lot of lemonade. Strong, independent, grounded -- I think that I resemble these qualities, but man my lemonade stand is overrun right now. I'm squeezing the crap outta the little suckers, and I feel like I'm just getting seeds everywhere. Yeesh.

School is always a stressor, especially at the peak of prom season, but for the duration of a couple weeks, I manage to sacrifice Ms. Freeman for a much harsher five-letter name and let the criticism "roll down like a mighty stream" (what up, MLK). Saying what you mean and having people take you seriously is apparently not customary, as it seems to be surprising to many when I actually follow through with what I declare. My froshies keep things interesting (even in the midst of a ridiculously hard research project), sometimes causing me to forget the exorbitant amounts of lemonade filling up my proverbial cup.

Oddly, I recently taught the difference in Romanticism and Realism, and I tell ya, it's amazing how teaching often seeps into real life, reminding me that I'm a real person with real feelings and often times no idea what the crap I'm doing on the daily. So that begs the question of the day regarding the shift from 19th c. Victorian Romanticism to early 20th c. Realism: is your glass half full or half empty?

Half-full vs. Half-empty:

Wouldn't we all like to claim half-full status so as not to be classified as a pessimist or grump? Of course, but it's unrealistic and ultimately fake. It's hard to pretend things are great when they aren't, and while I'm the queen of putting on a happy face for my kiddos even when my personal life is all shaken up, it's not my nature to put on. I'm in your face, blunt, and matter of fact, but sometimes you have to fake it to make it, and there's nothing wrong with that. On the flip side, everyone has a bad day, but people freak out when others unload. Anyone sporting frustration or sadness is automatically a sad sack clearly willing himself into unhappiness. I call BULL. Also, anyone with a legitimate complaint about life or work gets written off as mean or crotchety. People are so afraid of being classified as "empty" that they top off the glass, whether genuine or not, and smile until behind closed doors. Sadly, two transplants have said to me recently that people in the South are the most fake people they've ever met, and all I can do is nod in agreement, as a good majority of Southerners, especially women, aren't truly as accommodating as they appear. That's why people like me (and my friend Caty) are labeled "mean" and "scary": we are genuinely nice people, but we speak the truth. Always.

Life is definitely what you make of it, but holding in a half-empty kind of day doesn't make you a half-full person, and pretending to be half-full doesn't mean people don't see through you. We're not doing one another favors by letting people down easily and sugar-coating what we really mean to say; I'm not advocating outright meanness or kicking folks while they're down, but if more people told the truth without fear of dumping their cup, then clarity would triumph and worry and wonder would be squashed. The truth is, "you can't handle the truth," and people like me will continue to ride their brooms to work, "intentionally" shatter people's dreams, and will get their hearts broken by folks who just can't seem to say what they really feel is necessary to convey.

It's a tough world when you wear your feelings on the outside, but that's ok. The moral of this story is that my glass is full to the brim: it's full of insect-attracting, jaw-puckering lemonade, and I'm gonna keep on drinking the crap out of it until someone comes along and neutralizes all the tart in my life.

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