Half Full or Half Empty


Positivity is the thing right now, sometimes exhaustingly so. I'm very happy for those people for whom it works, but sometimes I find it all too much. And I know that I'm not the only one.

Positive people are said to be brave, especially if they are dealing with extreme difficulties in their lives. But sometimes I think that admitting that you see the world as a glass half empty is ever braver, because apparently many people don't want to hear that. We're supposed to be perkily positive at all times, maybe not always for our benefit. Sometimes I wonder if it's more for the benefit of those around us.

Yet as we suppress our true feelings, we're being told to validate the emotions of our children. Hmm.

And just try posting on Facebook that you're having a bad day. What do you think will happen? You'll be told to cry it out. Confusing, much? And I don't like crying. It makes me feel weak and vulnerable and obviously I don't want to do it in front of the children.

(Which is why many mums claim to cry in the shower, something I find very sad.)

My children want to see me happy, but I do struggle with that and feel guilty for the struggle.

I try to be as positive as I can manage on here. I avoid writing about the people I miss, and other bittersweet memories, even though they pop into my head every day. But I push them away because I have to be strong, and for me being strong means focusing on the day, what I have to do, what treats will get me through, and how I can give my busy brain a rest - not through anything dramatic or illegal you understand, I'm just talking about escaping with Netflix! Plus the occasional glass of wine or beer.

And I have found my own solution to the glass half full or glass half empty debate: by avoiding looking for the glass at all...

I have made choices and I have to live with them, as well as putting the significant needs of my children over my own. I accept that, but I'm not usually very positive about it.

The future doesn't look great. The latest word is that there will be no adult day service for Smiley in September 2017, just as my son goes into the vital leaving cert cycle at school. Two years later my son turns 18 and that is when services for people with autism fall off a cliff. It's hard not to feel depressed about it all, even as I continue to lobby and fight for what I think my children need.

I worry about the future of the world too: I've said before that I naively assumed that everything would improve in my lifetime, and it has in some ways: the percentage of people living in extreme poverty is falling, vaccinations (whether you like them or not, and I'm not entirely happy) have made a huge difference to the health of most children. Cancer is more of a chronic illness than a death sentence. The status and life opportunities for women, as well as people with disabilities and other minorities in society has improved hugely since I was born.

But war still constantly rages around the world. Pollution is worse, climate change is scary, rubbish piles up on land and in the oceans. The rise and power of corporations and big banks seems unstoppable. I love the internet, but I worry about its downside: hackers, big brother and the porn culture.

It often seems too much to even contemplate. You'd never sleep or you'd give up completely with fear of what the future will bring.

And talking of sleep, last night something momentous and very rare happened. I got a full night's sleep and woke up to bird song instead of the alarm clock or a child calling for attention. I can't believe the difference in my mood, energy levels and productivity. Maybe I would be an optimistic competent person, if circumstances were different.

And if I could just bottle the way I feel today and pour it into that r*ddy glass, perhaps it would be half full all the time...





19 comments:

  1. I can't imagine how tiring and stressful your life is. Sometimes when we read a post like yours we feel an overwhelming need to change your thinking, to help you feel better, to show you the half full glass. When what you perhaps really need is two ears to listen and nod and fingers to tap a hug in your direction.
    So here is mine to you... hug. xx

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    1. I hope there was a teeny positive twist there at the end? I'm pretty sure that I have been optimistic for a lot of my life, but not so much during the last five years. The first couple of years of the blog were pretty upbeat too, I think. Thank you for the hug xx

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  2. Oh I nodded a long to a lot of this post. I'm struggling to keep positive, money jobs it's all stressful. I worry about saying anything (you know, the whole my problems are worse than yours) gang. But that's no good. But it's hard to write or talk without people telling you life could be worse, of course it could but aren't I/we allowed to feel? I'm sorry you're going to face more struggles with the care and support of your children, you do good work fighting for them and so many are behind you on this matter. It's late so I probably made no sense but good post :)

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    1. Thanks Hannah, and yes everyone's problems are their problems, you can't compare them or rank them either. Glad the post resonated xx

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  3. Funny-I have found (in my experience) that being positive pisses people off..I tend to write about the funny times-because that is just what suits me-it is kind of like my glass of wine...it's what gets me through. It still doesn't stop some people from saying "you don't know how it is-my life is this or that or the other thing-you have no clue!" I've stopped defending myself...and have stopped writing as frequently as well..:/ I don't think that anyone is more brave than anyone else...we are all different-we all deal with things differently-experience them differently-react differently. I don't see myself as extra brave-or really, brave at all...The world is scary..but it is the only one I have..so I put one foot in front of the other and proceed. some days are better than others..As for strength? Just as you have decided to not look at the glass (1/2 empty or full) I refuse to name what I do...I give my kids (to the best of my ability) what they need-sometimes I fail-miserably...that's alright as I am human-and THAT more than anything is what I want them to know..So glad you got a great nights sleep-so wonderful when that happens! Great thought provoking post-thanks..:)

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    1. Thanks Kathleen, and you might not like me saying this, but thanks for being an inspiring mum too xx

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  4. There is nothing wrong with feeling negative. Sometimes life is just shit, admitting it isn't the end of the world. I'm quite an honest person, we all have our problems, they are OUR problems, OUR situations. We've spoken privately, you know I'm always here if you need to vent, but you do what works for you, that's important xxx

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    1. Thanks Jo, it's good to write it out here too, it helps me anyway :) xx

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  5. There is nothing wrong with feeling negative. Sometimes life is just shit, admitting it isn't the end of the world. I'm quite an honest person, we all have our problems, they are OUR problems, OUR situations. We've spoken privately, you know I'm always here if you need to vent, but you do what works for you, that's important xxx

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  6. I hadn't slept properly in a long time until very recently and woke up one morning thinking, 'wow, this is what every one else feels like all.the.time.' Sleep is so, so important. But anyway, that's an aside. I loved this post because I feel the same about the positivity overload (soon to be my very own burden I'm sure, as my sleep pattern returns to normal!!!!!! ;) ) but also there's a kind of 'doing' overload, people seem to be using every single second to achieve things. When I have free time I hide in the utility room with secret chocolate. BUT ANYWAY, after you listening to me moan on I have something to help you through any tough times: The other night I tried to make a blind for a tiny bathroom window out of our own bamboo from the garden and some twine. It was a disaster, we have not stopped laughing at it. If you ever need cheering up let me know and I'll send on a photo of it. My husband told me that there's one for sale in Argos, like one that works and was professionally made, that costs €6.99. Forget the glass of water, think of the blind.

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    1. That made me giggle and also immediately reminded me of the cheap Argos blind that I bought once - it took me three hours to cut it and hang it, and then it only lasted a few months....!!

      Hope your sleep continues to improve, as you say, it's so so important xx

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  7. Lack of sleep is a biggy and it he's when the sun shines. However, I hate it that you have to worry and fight for a program for Smiley every two years and now your son is entering an uncertain phase of his life it all gets doubled. I'm amazed you don't cry here on the blog more often - we'd totally understand. Lots of love xxx

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    1. Thank you, and I'm so glad that it doesn't appear like I'm moaning on here all the time. Believe me, I get tempted! I also write stuff that I don't publish... xxx

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  8. I think admitting to the glass being half empty is very brave x

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  9. I think it's very hard to remain positive ALL the time and even more so if you have constant struggles in your life that never really give you the rest that you need. Quite frankly, from what I know of you (reading your blog) you seem like the strongest, bravest person out there :)

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    1. I am absolutely not that person, but thank you anyway :)

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  10. Hugs from me. Good on you for keeping it real. xx

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