Friday, July 19, 2013

Complicated?

I sat in the common room with a math textbook and a notebook cradled in my lap. It was a few weeks before Christmas, and some of my friends and I had gathered to study cram for an upcoming math exam.

I had just realized that we had incorrectly worked out one of the problems due to a tiny oversight, a small but important detail that we had overlooked.

 I scribbled out the numbers in my notebook with a flourish, and said (laughing),"God, why does everything have to be so freaking complicated?! Why can't something be easy for once in my life?"

Most of my friends detected my ironic tone, and in part because we were slightly delirious from the rigors of exam week, we laughed ourselves breathless.

But then I saw it. The pity face. One of my friends was watching me carefully, and there was cautious concern in her eyes. I knew she was wondering whether there was some truth beneath my sarcasm.

Was there? I think so. Sometimes I wish that my life wasn't so complicated. Sometimes I wish I didn't have to bother becoming an expert on the locations of flattened curbs. Sometimes I wish I could keep up with my friends easily. Sometimes I wish they wouldn't have to rearrange their plans for me. I know there are probably activities that they wanted to put on our summer bucket list that they omitted for my sake, because they knew that I wouldn't be able to do them.

And this sounds ridiculous, but sometimes I wish I didn't have to ask other people for help. Does anyone else feel that way? There have been times when I have had to ask somebody if they could offer me a hand so I could safely walk up cement steps, for example, and I find myself wishing that I could disappear.

Yet, at the same time, these worries seem so inconsequential when they're written out like this, stream-of-consciousness style... I find myself thinking, Seriously? You're complaining because you have to look for flattened curbs? You're complaining because you have to ask people for help sometimes?

So I guess it comes down to this: Yes, there are moments when I wish that my life was easier...but in the grand scheme of things, my life isn't so complicated after all.

7 comments:

  1. But the Pity Face? Ouch :(

    Beautifully written, as ever :) I enjoyed thinking about this. I wonder whether we fluctuate between thinking our problems are The Worst Ones Ever In The World and that actually, Other People Have It Worse.

    I sometimes think we're all staring at the green grass on the other side of the Mobius strip...

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    1. Considerer: I agree with you about the pity face thing. :( I'm not a fan of the pity-face either! At least in this case, though, it got me thinking!

      I love the way you put that! I definitely have that inner-war sometimes.

      Thanks for the comment. :) I always love your input!

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  2. Devil's advocate here...maybe it wasn't a pity face. Maybe your friend was concerned (not the same thing as pity) and didn't know if needed a shoulder to lean on or a chuckle.

    It must be very difficult to always wonder how others perceive you. And you are not alone with that. So many of us struggle with the curbs in life. Yours are just out there, if you know what I mean.

    I love how honest and heartfelt your posts are. I'm so thankful for your sharing.

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    1. Kerri,
      That's true -- I didn't think about it that way!

      And you are so right. I know that everyone has "curbs" to deal with in life, and that's what kind of got me thinking...many of my worries aren't that big of a deal when I think about the problems that lots of other people have to face.

      And thank you so much! Right back at you! xo

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  3. Kerry,
    I like Kerri's take on maybe your friend was genuinely checking to see if you needed to talk or have a shoulder to lean on. At least I hope so because I can't stand the pity face.

    I really struggle with the whole balance of wishing things were easier for my son and with feeling so very blessed that he's here, he's healthy...I think that's basic human nature, it's almost like we feel guilty for being bummed about something (whether it's curbs, having to ask for help, or even just having a bad day or being sad about something) when other people have it so much worse. BUT - (rambling again) the fact that other people have it worse does not take away from what we feel. We are justified in wishing things were easier. We are justified when we feel sad about being mistreated or misunderstood. And we SHOULD. Just because somebody else out there feels sad for a "better" reason doesn't take away from the humanness of us feeling sad or frustrated for our situations. Does that make sense?

    Here's what I find interesting. While we feel guilty for being bummed about something when we realize other people have it worse, we don't feel guilty about being happy for something when other people have it more. So like, let's say somebody gets a promotion. It would be silly to not be proud of that and to not celebrate it just because, say, somebody like Steve Jobs invented the iPad and we didn't.

    Ok now that was totally long and rambly. I love your writing. I think you are amazing and you are going to have a beautiful and rewarding life. Yes, things are not so complicated. But know that it's okay when it feels like they are, too, friend. Ya know?

    Huge hugs.

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  4. Kristi,
    I love that take on the situation! Now that I stop and think about it, I wouldn't be surprised if it was more "concern" than "pity." I hope so!

    And woww, I love that. You are so right! I need to print out that wisdom and frame it on the wall in my dorm room! xoxo

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  5. My gut instinct is this: to tell you you don't need to downplay your feelings or overanalyze them. They are YOURS. So if you meant finals were complicated, that is what you meant. No need to read into it more deeply if you really meant it at face value. And if you didn't, you really don't need to smooth everything over nicely by saying it's NOT complicated. Hope this does not sound critical. I mean it with love, I promise. (And I also realize this post is several years old...which makes my in depth analysis feel a little out of place, but whatever... <3

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