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Grit Over Grime

This week was just emotionally draining and emotionally rewarding at the same time. The message that I’m taking away from this week is the importance of being surrounded with your pack. This is a group of people who support you through your successes and your challenges. These are people who value you for your uniqueness and even your quirks.

I had a relatively negative experience this week. It owned me for a day or so and it should not have. I had not felt this way since I was in Catholic school when the nuns (back in the day) reprimanded students simply due to imperfect penmanship of all things. Head lowered and embarrassed. So, I began to feel like a scolded 2nd grader when I was on a telephone call with an advocate representing a parent. Let’s just call him Jim Bob – my impression of a backwoods, toothless grumpy, mean man. That is how he sounded. Degrading and demeaning towards me. I asked a question, and he raised his voice and said, “I can’t believe you are asking that question.” Click. He hung up on me. A four-minute call in totality. Rudeness, meanness, and did I say rudeness? I walked around for the entire day just feeling defeated and deflated by someone who has no perspective on humanity. Never mind those 19 kids who were murdered trying to learn in their classroom. Never mind there is a shortage of baby formula and parents are worried about how they will feed their babies. Never mind there are people fighting for their lives in Ukraine. How is it even okay as a professional to be demeaning? I will never get it. And, honestly, I hope I never do.

And I continued to mope a little bit Friday and some into Saturday. But there were also those other moments which forced me to see the good – the flip side of the coin, the half full glass, the humanity. First things first. I pre-ordered some amazing sourdough bread from a vendor at the local farmer’s market. I usually place my order through Instagram, so she always writes my order with my Hopeful Hippie moniker, and I always smile when she says, “Order for Hopeful Hippie”. This bread is a guaranteed way to forget about any troubles (well except the waistline). Dried cherries, walnuts and chocolate. Are you salivating? I got the bread, came home, made some French toast with it and, “poof” it was gone in three minutes tops. Inhaled. Magical disappearing act.

And as I experienced that magical disappearing act, I decided that I needed to apply that magic to the mucky experience with Jim Bob. Not worthy of my emotion or my time. And so, with a snap of a finger, negativity deleted, and positivity invited.

So, on the road to positivity, I received a beautiful high school graduation announcement of a young lady who I have followed for many years. I remember vividly the day that her mother called me incredibly frustrated and asking for help with her daughter’s education. I remember sitting face to face with her parents and a team of people who were committed to her daughter’s success. It was yesterday or so it seemed. I know that there was adversity. There were even probably not so rigorous expectations put upon this young girl by society. But, my expectations for her, for all of my students and for myself is that where there is a will, there is a way. There is success through adversity. Strength through struggle. Things to overcome. But she did it with grit and grace and the support of an amazing pack. That announcement was all that I needed to permanently strike out the Jim Bobs of the world.

There was also another amazing young lady who graduated with her Master’s degree in Education. She has a thirst for equaling the playing field for her students. Equity is her middle name! The first day I met her was as a high school senior. She, along with a ton of other teens, were at our home decorating a homecoming float. She introduced herself to me as my son’s “queen”. That was the first time that I realized my son had a girlfriend. She has a true genuine spirit and I have always seen the love she has for her students and still, a decade later, for my son. Her passion to teach others and her excitement to see those “ah ha” moments, to treat others with respect and caring allows me to answer the question, “Jim Bob, who?” Cancel culture at its finest.

And, wow, graduations are right and left this year. The pomp and circumstance and the song instantly brings proud and happy tears to my eyes. Snap of a finger instant. I have seen my own two children through high school and college graduations. My son will be graduating with his Master’s degree in two months and he will be moving back to his home town where he will begin his career as a Physician Assistant. Job already offered and accepted. The positivity of that idea and his countless hours of instruction, studying and working with patients is providing me the liquid in my full cup. He is patient and caring.

And, as I am typing, I am able to emphasize that the one rude character out of a country bumpkin story is very much in the past. There is so much good in most people. Recently, a friend asked me how I was doing, and I provided her the obligatory response, “Fine.” She saw through my answer. She asked if had read one of her papers for her coursework leading to her Master’s degree. I confessed I had not. She asked me to read it. She said it might be what you need to hear today and so I read.

“Not only does [Hopeful Hippie] show grit professionally, but she has shared her journey of extensive medical interventions and surgeries along with her determination to rehabilitate herself through physical therapy and yoga. Her optimistic spirit and gravitation to encouragement through adversity have led her to inspire countless others through her blog for others who have struggled with physical challenges.”

Those five words, “gravitation to encouragement through adversity” really emphasized my ideals. It struck a chord that others see this. The writer of this quote is also Courage’s mother and has demonstrated her own grit through grime. Her own strength through struggle. She is a flying yogi aficionado now and I’m excited to see her fly. Not only in the trapeze, but towards the rainbow of positivity and passion.

So, as my Hip Healing Surgeon gently reminded me at a visit this week when I expressed a bit of struggle, “you have your meditation.” That reminder was what I needed. I will encourage each of you to meditate on the good and file away the bad so that dust settles over it and makes it obsolete. Meditate through the madness. Harmonize your life with healing. Find your pack of people who will launch you into the orbit of hope!

See it. Believe it.

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