This week's GBE2 prompt is "Strength". As usual, the prompt is very apropos at the moment for a variety of reasons. I'll try not to ramble, but surely you've learned by now that that's like asking a unicorn not to be magical & awesome.
If there is one thing I have in abundance, it's inner strength. Sure, the well runs dry occasionally, but never for long b/c I can't stand feeling weak or feeling as if I've failed in some way. I agree that I push myself too hard sometimes and I am my toughest critic, but that is what has gotten me this far & I still think I have a lot further to go. So I keep on keepin' on.
Allow me to lay out some examples. (Here's where the rambling will start.)
* I've mentioned in the last couple of posts about a saga w/ one of my husband's long-time friends who decided to borrow money from us then not pay us back. This ugly mess started around May 21st & while I'm hoping it ends tonight, I'm not holding my breath. Basically, the dude borrowed money, didn't pay it back, we tried repeatedly to contact him, he promised twice more to pay us but never did. His phone was shut off & his personal fb account wasn't active at the time, so I emailed his professional fb page (he's an Elvis impersonator). Still no answer. A close friend of ours posted on his Elvis pages' wall about the money owed & suddenly several other people started speaking up about the dude owing them money, too. One was a relative of a man w/ Down's Syndrome who had loaned the dude money & got burned. When the man's family members confronted the dude, he said he'd perform at the man's bday party as repayment, but didn't call or show. Over 100 guests were there, roughly half of which were special needs. He also borrowed from a young widow who couldn't buy her daughter an Easter basket b/c of the money she loaned the dude. There was also an elderly widow on social security. We all banded together & I took the front-line & started posting like crazy. That is, until his professional account was set so no one could post on the wall anymore. His personal fb account was reactivated, but that wall was also set so that no one could post on the wall. So I emailed a couple of times, then posted on my fb wall, tagging the dude in my post. (Which, by the way, works. His entire friends list saw what I wrote.) After 3 or so posts about the dude needing to contact us, his ex wife & a close friend of his both contacted me saying that they were working w/ the dude to get his finances in order & that we were on the list of folks to get paid back. I was quiet for almost 3 weeks, but when I didn't hear from them again, I went on his page & commented on his profile picture. That was yesterday. Today I received a message from his ex-wife saying that he will be at my house later this evening to pay me back. I bring this whole fiasco up to say this: I'm typically appalled by people who act a fool on fb. Internet drama has got to be the most puerile thing on the planet. However, with all means of one-on-one communication severed, I went on a crusade to make my voice heard by any means necessary. Maybe I did act like an ass, but I wasn't vulgar in the public posts. (My emails weren't so nice.) I didn't use intimidation or threats of harm. I just made sure to let the dude know we were all still around & he couldn't hide from us forever. In the grand scheme of things, I'm not sure what kind of an impact it had, but I can tell you this much: the dude & everyone who followed the whole situation are well aware that if you mess w/ my family's security, I will not sit idly by & let it happen. I will rile myself up into Tornado Trish & no one will be unaware of my presence. I am nice person, but my kindness is NOT weakness. I am unrelenting & creative in my methods of bringing about resolution, and dare I say, justice. And if he doesn't stop by tonight, I will keep going b/c I'm just that stubborn. (Though I admit, I'm tired & really want this to be over.)
* Life, in general, has been a mixed bag. The earlier years were the absolute worst. I grew up in a home w/ a co-dependent, drug-addicted mother, an abusive (physically & verbally) & drug-addicted step-father, an absentee father, and a myriad of folks who floated in & out of my life who helped remind me of my social status in the big ole' world. A poor white girl with a loud mouth, as awkward as the day is long, chubby, not pretty, and weird. This was what God gave me to work with. The odds were against me from the very beginning. Most expected me to follow in my parents' footsteps. (I suspect many still project that expectation on me without actually giving me the opportunity to prove otherwise.) I have no particular talent at anything, so I work a mediocre job for meager pay & struggle to maintain some grasp on the "American dream" of hubby, kid, & mortgage. Considering my early years, the fact that I am not a drug addict is one point for me. (Bonus points that I've never been a drug addict, either.) I get another point for not being abusive to my child or my husband, or anyone else for that matter. I get yet another point for holding down a job. Another point for never having an open DHS case against me or having a police record. Another point for being one of the lucky few people who have a good marriage, despite a lack of good relationship role models. I don't have these things b/c I'm a quitter. I have them b/c even when things were at their worst, I somehow mustered the strength to keep moving forward. There is a fire in the pit of my belly, and it's not indigestion people. I will not, cannot, give up.
*When I was 15, in the depth of one of the longest & worst depressions I had experienced thus far, I sat in my room alone one night & wrote letters to the few people I loved the most. With them, I included shoe boxes w/ items I wanted to give them. Then I wrote a will & a suicide note to blanket the remaining people/items/wishes I felt should be mentioned. After my mom & step-dad had been asleep for some time, I quietly made my way into the kitchen of our trailer where I knew my step-dad's hunting rifle was located. I grabbed it & a handful of brightly colored plastic shotgun shells, and crept back to my room. I sat down on my floor, looked at the various shells I had grabbed to find the one I thought was the right one, loaded the rifle, then wrapped my lips around the barrel. I sat there for what seemed like forever, trying to will myself into doing what I felt was necessary to finally have some relief. When my sobbing became so intense that I couldn't keep my mouth on the barrel of the gun, I pointed it at the ceiling & allowed different thoughts to creep in. Thoughts of the children I wanted to have one day, of the man I wanted to fall in love with & marry. Thoughts of moving back to my hometown & being near my Granny again. Then I thought about my younger brother, who was sleeping on the other end of the trailer, who at the time was the most sensitive little man I had ever met. His room was closer than my parents' room, so it was pretty certain he'd be the first to find me. What would his life be like if he walked into my room & found what was left of my head splattered against the bedroom wall. As soon as that thought crossed my mind, my nerve was gone. Maybe I shouldn't say that I lost my nerve, but more specifically, I regained my strength. I drew upon the last bit of hope I had, combined that with my love for a few select people, and put the gun away.
When I'm overwhelmed to the point of a nervous breakdown, I find strength, even if it's just barely enough. As long as it gets me through one more minute, hour, or day, I know that I'll be alright. And although I'm not one to be particularly confrontational or someone who speaks up when I want or need something, I can find the strength to break out of my comfort zone & say what needs to be said to make an important point. It's not always easy, but my inner strength has never failed me yet.