Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Happy Mask and Why Sue Heck is an Inspiration

"Now if there's a smile on my face, it's only there trying to fool the public". - Tears of A Clown, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

And the award for Best Actress goes People think I am happy and upbeat, yet nothing could be further from the truth these days. No matter how I seem when others are around, in private I am dealing with tears and panic attacks. Recent financial setbacks have left me feeling pretty gloomy. It's not always easy to keep my happy face on.

Lately, I am often fighting back tears and can't wait to duck into a ladies' room or get back to my car or home so I can have a cry. The good thing is, even though we all have those times when everything seems like it's going wrong, every so often we get a little pick-me-up that can come from simple things like a good moment, a nice gesture, something funny, or something that inspires us. One thing I have found inspiring recently is a character named Sue Heck, the teenage daughter on the sitcom, The Middle.

Sue is always optimistic and positive. She bounces back easily from disappointment. Despite never making any team or getting into any activity she tries out for at school, she never stops trying. She actually did make the cross country team in the season finale, after her mother convinced the school principal to offer a "no-cut" activity. But Sue's own perseverance in showing up and going around the track as required, even after having been injured and having to use crutches, was what really got her the spot on the team. Even in the face of adversity, she never gave up.

Of course, Sue has youth on her side. And then there's the fact that she is a TV character. But we all know someone like Sue in real life. Someone who doesn't let stuff get them down for too long and always looks on the bright side. I wish I could be more like her.

I wish that my happy exterior was real and not just a show I put on for others. I wish I could be optimistic enough to always believe good things will happen, that I will make the team. Well, that everything will work out anyway.

I just hope that I can get through this rough spot and that I won't need the happy mask anymore, because there will be a real smile on my face. Maybe, a little of that Sue Heck positive spirit will rub off on me.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Catching Fireflies and Chasing Dreams

I was sitting outside the other night watching the fireflies, recalling how, when I was a child, I used to catch them and put them in a jar. I'd watch the fireflies put on a light show just for me, then let them go flying back out into the darkness.

It got me thinking about not just the simple pleasures of childhood, but also about dreams, and how they change as we get older.

When you are young, it's easy to dream. It is so much easier to see possibilities when you're not confronted with obstacles and harsh realities. When you're a kid, the world is a blank canvas and the future wide open. Sadly, we grow up, and life becomes about work and responsibilities. Reality settles in, and maybe we get disillusioned. Dreams may be given up or put on hold as we deal with all that we have to do and the unexpected things life throws at us.

My dreams now revolve around things like financial stability and comfort. I think about my 'dream' home - a newer house in the outlying suburbs with a huge yard and lots of trees. I still dream of being a writer, though right now I am focused on finding a practical job that I can do despite my MS and that offers good pay.

I still dream of having children, though not as often as I used to. And there are still places I'd like to travel to.

I dream of having all my current problems be gone. Of having my life get easier. Of sitting at a desk in a sun-splashed room with a beautiful view, writing, while occasionally looking up to gaze out the window before deciding to take a break and venture outside.

And maybe spending a summer evening chasing fireflies and catching a dream.