You know the saying, “When life hands you lemons . . . ” It’s a saying that was branded into every fiber of my body at a very young age; a side effect of having a mother who traveled the country as a motivational speaker. Growing up, no setback was too high for me to overcome. “No one can make you feel a certain way. You choose how you allow others to impact you.”
It’s great advice, most of the time. But sometimes . . sometimes. . . life hands you lemons and they are sour and bitter and no amount of sugar can turn them into lemonade.
As someone who has been raised to always find the silver linings, this realization doesn’t sit well with me. I constantly search for the good in any crappy situation, even if it takes years to discover it.
But what do you do when you are rendered helpless in situations that are completely out of your control? Cancer. Car accidents. Infidelity. Violent crimes. Natural disasters. Infertility. PTSD. Abandonment. Mean people. Death.
As much as you try to focus on all of the good that you have to be thankful for in your life, sometimes, a terrible situation is just that and there’s no pot of gold to be found.
It’s a tough pill to swallow- this notion that it’s not going to get better. That it’s not going to work out the way you thought it would. And that this bad thing is not going to politely go away so you can drink your lemonade and move on with your life.
Instead, it becomes one of “the things we carry”. Unable to place it in a box and set it on the top shelf of our closet, it is with us wherever we go, like a meddlesome pebble caught in our shoe.
If we focused on it all of the time, we literally would be rendered helpless. So we trudge onward, painfully recognizing it when something triggers a reminder.
I used to believe my mother, that nothing was beyond our capacity to overcome. But now, I realize that some things are not made to be good. Like the bad spot on a banana, you can eat around it, but it’s not going to make it go away. A bad spot is a bad spot is a bad spot.
And it’s good and healthy to call it what it is as opposed to forcing yourself to drink lemonade when you fucking hate lemonade.
It’s a lemon. It’s sour. And bitter. And sad. And we carry them wherever we go.