Hard Times, Harder Fight

This last week has been one of the hardest I have endured in a long time. As I have been fighting hard to make my life better, it seems that for every step forward I take, I am knocked back two. While I’m working hard to keep making forward progress, this last week made me feel like what little light I had going on at the end of the tunnel had been snuffed out.

I have written over and over again about hope, positivity, and choosing to focus on the good in life. I struggled this week though for a variety of reasons. It was like life needed to knock me on my butt, and once I was there, the blows just kept coming.

I got a new full time job. Yay, right?! Wrong. For one, I’m not thrilled to be back to living the two job life. Working 6 to 7 days a week is exhausting. It pretty much takes away any kind of personal life I can have and makes it seem like I just live to work. Two jobs is temporary though, so I can get over that. For the first time in my life though, I’m now in a factory job. The work is hard, the days are long, the rules are extremely strict, and my position is outside in the elements all day. Coming into winter now makes me cringe at the thought of having to spend 40+ hours outside in it each week. I was devastated when I realized my position assignment for this. It was definitely not what I had wanted.

On top of the work stuff, it seems that my entire personal life decided to fall apart at the same time too. While I don’t want to go into much detail because it’s not just my privacy at stake, but many others too, I can say that this week was nothing short of a shitshow. Every single day, life was throwing punches that were pummeling my heart. I cried, I screamed, I yelled, and then I cried some more. I even had a full on meltdown. Let’s just say that life was not kind to me over the last several days. I had several moments where I felt like this is all just too hard, and I wanted to throw in the towel. Exhaustion, adjusting to major new life changes, getting my feelings hurt deeply, dealing with parenting rebellious teenagers, and more all at once was enough to leave me crying like a little baby every single day. It was just an incredibly hard week.

As I’ve been thinking about all of this the last couple of days though, I am reminded of one thing. I can’t change a lot about my life circumstances right now. The one thing I can control though is my attitude. I have a choice in whether or not I crumple to the ground and let my entire world fall apart. I have a choice in whether or not I want to start this new job with a positive outlook. I have a choice in whether or not I want to wallow in miserable self-pity or if I pull myself up by the bootstraps and push forward with a smile on my face.

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It is okay to have those occasional meltdowns, especially when life is throwing the amount of crazy curveballs it has been throwing me lately. It is okay to cry and scream and lose it. Go ahead and meltdown. But then, when you’ve cried it all out, dry your eyes, wash your face, and then get back up! If life is going to throw punches, then throw some punches of your own back! You own your life, you own your reactions and choices, and you own your behavior. Focus on what you can change, and let go of what you cannot. These were the big lessons I was reminded of this week.

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And lastly, if you are struggling to the point that you are considering suicide, please reach out. There are many resources available and you are not alone. Your life is worth living.

Hang in there, my friends. Life is all about seasons and if you are going through an incredibly hard season right now, take comfort in knowing that a good one is coming soon.

Much love,
Moonshine Niki

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Is She Crying Again?

“Is she crying again?”

“She is just being emotional.”

“Man up.”

“Boys don’t cry.”

When I think of being emotional and crying, these are some of the responses that pop into my head. I think of my family ridiculing me for being emotional. I think of all hurts being swept under the rug or boxed tightly inside for fear of someone seeing tears fall. I think of little boys being told they need to be manly and that men don’t cry. In fact, everything I think of when I think of crying is negative. It is ingrained in us not to be “sissies” or worse. In our culture, crying is seen as weak. It is a deep-rooted belief that starts get drilled into us when we are young.

I was having lunch with a friend recently when she told me her mother suggested she go see a doctor.

“Why?” I asked as I looked at her across the table.

“Because I’m so emotional,” she said with tears welling up in her eyes.

What? Seriously?! Aside from more stress recently and the struggles of enduring a long, cold winter without enough sun, what problem did her mother think was causing tears that a doctor was going to fix? This astounded me as my friend is a well-adjusted, loving, strong woman. Why is her feeling emotional lately a problem worthy of going to the doctor? Why does crying need to be cured?

I had another (male) friend tell me that he feels men aren’t allowed to feel emotions, and they are definitely not allowed to cry. So my friend walks through life enduring hardship, hurts, and stress and stuffing all these feelings down, fearing crying even in private. He and other men feel that it is never okay to just breakdown and let it out.

I’ve written over and over about being an emotional person and so you could accurately assume that this means I am also a crier. It’s true, I am. I cry when I feel sorrow, I cry when I become overstimulated, I cry when I’m happy. It’s just how I am. This was something I was ashamed of when I was younger and I used to get so angry with myself when I cried and couldn’t control it. I’ve been thinking lately though, why does our culture so staunchly dislike crying?

Crying is cleansing. It’s a great release and relief of emotions. It’s almost like pushing a reset button. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to embrace the need to cry and the emotional relief it brings me once I’ve done so. Because of this, I often encourage others to let it out. As we fear crying, I almost don’t understand why. Think about this; once it starts, no matter how hard you cry, it always comes to an end within moments. You feel better. You feel some relief. Then you can dry your eyes, wash your face, and you’re set to take on the world again.

As a lover of human beings, as a mother, as a nurturer by nature, I encourage you all to be supportive of those around you that need to let it out. I encourage you to allow your boys to cry when they need to. I encourage you to allow your girls to cry. I encourage you to be supportive of humans and the need to cry in general. We naturally feel like we can’t change the world, but we actually can. By changing ourselves, we change the world for those around us. This is how we change the stigma that goes along with crying in our culture.

May peace be with you all this week.

Love,
Moonshine Niki

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