Life is plain tough. When you’re a teen, or even in your early 20s, you have yet to be hit by all the rainfalls life will pour onto you. You are still walking in the safe zone before becoming completely jaded. I know this because I can recall a softer, kinder Felicia years ago.
Back then, people would often compliment me on how nice I was. I’m still nice, but I’ve changed. I’m sure you have, too. Life does that to us sometimes. From 17 to 20, I worked in customer service at the YMCA. Members and guests would always tell me how nice I was. My kindness was almost my trademark. It took a lot to make me upset. I always smiled and my tone was pleasant the majority of the time. I genuinely saw the good in everyone. Even back then, little things never got to me. If my food wasn’t fresh, I simply smiled and said thank you anyway. If my customer service was poor, I didn’t complain to a manager, I let it go. If I received an answer that I didn’t like, I understood more than I argued. As I look back on that Felicia today, I see that I have drifted further and further from her.
I’ve become, in some ways, bitter, and argumentative. I believe in principle now more than ever and that is how I justify my feisty ways. Am I wrong? Sometimes, but not always. Would my life be more peaceful if I let more things go and didn’t view every backward situation as a battle that I needed to participate in? Absolutely. Back then, I gave people more of my heart and less of my mind. Today, I give them a piece of my mind, while my heart, still buried deep inside me, sits on the back burner.
I often wonder how I got here. Because I’ll admit, sometimes I am that customer that you don’t want and that doesn’t make me proud. An editor once told me that my tenacious ways will get me far. In that context, it was a compliment regarding my unwillingness to give up on my dreams. But, in this context, my relentless ways can sometimes be placed on the shelf to even collect a little dust.
I’ve become the girl who complains if my fries are not filled to the line. Or if my food is not quite the way I think it should be. And, yes, I wrote the story about never settling and I want to stick by that. But, maybe today, I also want to seek balance. I report poor customer service each time I encounter it. I forgot that I’m not the only person in the world who has a bad day. And, while many of my actions are oftentimes justified, I’m not certain I always enjoy being the person that I am. A counselor once told me that I’m too hard on people and that stuck with me years later.
I was always the girl with the big heart who was nice to everyone.
Today, I wonder where that girl went. I try to analyze the answer.
Aerosmith could be right and I’m just jaded… by life. And, I do know that I have a good life. I’ve gotten to do amazing things. I know my blessings. But, sometimes, even on the blessed days, the toast still tastes burnt.
The world may not want to hear me gripe, but all the hardships I’ve faced made an impact on me. I get tired of the world not allowing people to own their hardships because someone has it worse. Of course, someone will always have it worse, but we should never discount our own pain.
Don’t get me wrong, I try to keep my glass half-full, but some days the water evaporates before I even have a chance to pour it into the glass. Some days, I’m just done. Four heartbreaks to count with the current being the toughest. The deepest hole that lives within me is losing my dad. And maybe that’s why I’m not as ooey-gooey-chocolate-chip-cookie soft as I used to be. Maybe that’s why, at times, I take my inner pain out on the world. I’m not proud of it. But, I’ve always written the truth and today is no different. I write this to be authentic, share my heart, and as a potential gateway story that leads me to find that old girl, that old Felicia.
I miss that easy-going girl. I miss that girl who smiled all day, every day. I miss that girl who was constantly complimented by strangers on her kindness. I miss that girl who found the positive in every situation and never allowed the bitterness of the world to get to her. I miss that Felicia.
If I have a wish for myself and for the rest of the world, it is to gravitate towards the easier side of life. We will all struggle and feel knife wounds so deep that it is hard to turn the shower faucet on some mornings. I’ve been there. In fact, I was just there. But despite the devil stopping over uninvited, let’s all make a promise to each other that we will have kinder days than not. That we will appreciate our coffee cup being full even if it’s cold and not strong enough. That we will appreciate the dollars are in our bank account even if they don’t equal millions. That we will be grateful to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all (as the British poet Tennyson once wrote).
And with all of that, maybe I can get back to myself… the old Felicia. And the world can get back to kinder days.
Here’s my pledge to try harder.