Averse to Adversity

I had an epiphany the other day. I’m not talking about the kind where I suddenly figured out that my new nightly chocolate ritual was beginning to make my ass fat. But the kind that I honestly believe could be life-changing. Or rather…. it WOULD be if I chose to examine it, learn from it and make some adjustments.

Bet you can’t wait to know what it is? Unless, of course, you read the title or drew some sort of a conclusion from the super adorable picture that I just HAD to use to assist in illustrating my point — in which case, you probably already have your suspicions. Anyhoo, brilliant deductions, sneaking suspicions or not, I’ll fill you in. All of my life I have had trouble with… drumroll pleeeeze… Adversity.

There. I’ve put it out there for all the world to see. Or at least the 200 people (give or take) who regularly read this blog.

Websters defines Adversity as: 1. distress; affliction; hardship and 2. an unfortunate event or incident

I know what you’re thinking… Who doesn’t have “trouble” with distress, affliction or hardship? Right? But honestly… I mean seriously… I. Have. Trouble. With. Resistance. Of any kind. And I think in some cases, there is evidence to support the theory that I may actually MAKE trouble for myself.

<< As an aside for any potential, future employer(s) out there who may be reading this and who may or may NOT be considering me for some form of professional position — let it be known that I do NOT make trouble for other people… I actually play really well with others. You can ask any of my references or teachers. >>

I am purely masochistic about this. I only do it to myself. The primary problem being that I suspect I actually LOOK for it in my life. And this is really quite amazing given that I am someone who runs around all giggly and bubbly claiming to DESIRE happiness and merriment wherever I go and with whomever I choose to spend time.

Hello, my name is Joanna and I am EXPERTLY PROFICIENT at making mountains out of molehills.

All my life I have been told to develop a thicker skin. By everyone. By people I love, by people I never thought much of and (in hindsight) by people I have hated. That in and of itself should’ve shown me something. The sheer VOLUME of people telling me that I needed to grow a thicker skin, get over it, lighten up, stop being so serious all the time and to stop taking everything so damn personally SHOULD have had an effect by now. Shouldn’t it?

Yet, as I contemplate my 37 years on this earth—paying particular attention to the last 20 where I have supposedly been an “adult”—a pattern has begun to emerge. I don’t deal well with “distress, affliction or hardship” when it happens to me. If it is happening in someone else’s life I tend to step up to the plate. But when the trouble finds me… when adversity has knocked on my door… I really do take it personally. And oftentimes, I’m ashamed to admit… I freak out.

When things haven’t gone the way I planned… When someone is rude or addresses me in a harsh tone… When I don’t “click” with a person at the office… Whenever ANYTHING does not turn out the way that I think it shouldwhich, by the way, is nothing SHORT of sunshine and rosesI cave. I fold like a bad poker hand or I wither or melt. Choose your metaphor. There are plenty. And in this case they are all the same.

Who the hell do I think I am that difficulty should avoid me? It’s rather narcississtic when I really think about it. Perhaps if I can truly begin to recognize that I am not special in facing adversity and remember that everyone shoulders some form of hurt or disappointment in this lifetime, then maybe… just maybe I will learn to freak out less. And I will learn to remain on my feet, keeping my collective shit together while standing firm in my new and thicker skin.


14 thoughts on “Averse to Adversity

    • Hi Joe 🙂 Not so much… I wrote this over the weekend but decided to post it now before heading to bed. It’s easy b/c I just hit the “Publish” button! Whenever possible I try to have some drafts saved. Now that life is (hopefully) resembling something more akin to “normal” — I hope to publish a bit more often. Thanks (as always) for reading!

  1. JT says:

    I guess you are not alone in this dreaded anomaly. I find myself often reading far more into stuff than is really there… like you said my own worse enemy 😦

  2. Donald Miller says:

    It took me a long time to read this–a good long time. Sort of like relishing the last few morsels of chocolate in the box. I think this is one of your best posts. I really like the way you used the visuals to emphasis what you were expressing. Hence you are not just an outstanding writer, but a fantastic graphic designer—AND I hope the would-be employers recognize that!

    • Thank you Donald. I didn’t really think of it as being one of my “good” posts, I just felt compelled to write it. It was cathartic to write. A few times I have considered taking it down. It did fare well with the readers but then again, sometimes I honestly don’t know what the readers like best. They keep surprising me. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your encouragement 🙂

      • Donald Miller says:

        I wrote one yesterday that I felt the same way about, I mean I don’t know whether it works or not. I really can’t tell. I like it. But I know what I was trying to say in it. Someone else might be lost. Or the humour just won’t work.

        It’s called “The Afterbirth Abortion of Granny Ferguson.” I’m confident that you won’t tell me you like it if you don’t. I never high-five something I don’t like. (I might place something on a “curve” for someone I know that isn’t good or is just starting out, but I never give an atta-girl to someone when I don’t mean it.) If you have time, let me know what you think.

        And puleeease remember that you WON’T hurt my feelings.

        • I look forward to reading it Donald 🙂 I have been out of town for the last week visiting family up north. And now I am catching up on job possibilities. I hope to sit down and read it this evening when things quiet down for me. My apologies. I’M STILL HERE!!! 😉

        • Don says:

          Ahh, I was wondering where you went. It’s okay about that article–I sort of chickened out on it. Ahh, well, it ISN’T very good, but it’s short. (Kind of like the Woody’s joke at the beginning of “Annie Hall”)

          Gee, the food in this place is awful.

          Yes. And such small portions.

          ~anywho, I’ll put it back up.~

        • Don says:

          What happened? –You saw my new logo, and thought O. M. G. anyone who thinks that is a good idea is . . .

          well, okay: a genius. I’ll go for that.

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