by Mocha Momma on June 8, 2011
I will be attending a Conversations with Coca-Cola event next week in Atlanta where I will be meeting with their leadership team. Coke will be paying for my travel and lodging and I am being financially compensated for writing this post. As always, they are thoughts true to who I am and if you don’t believe me you should go read other things I’ve written that aren’t sponsored. The spirit of my other writings are the same. Do you have any questions for Coke? Ask. I’ll go straight to the top and get them answered for you.
Gorgeous photography by Francesco Pappalardo
In my more recent past I have discovered some things about myself:
First, that I am not always in search of friends and when I’m not searching for new ones they seem to plop into my lap out of the sky. They come in many forms. Just as easily as some have come, I have let others go when I recognize their influence in my life as toxic.
Second, that I have a really good outlook on life and sometimes I realize that watching the movie “Pollyanna” about a bazillion times growing up that it truly colored how I look at things.
And finally, that joy can be elusive and so I must actively seek it out. Joy doesn’t just come to people. Some folks wake up every day and overtly detail how they will chase after joy. These people are few and far between in my life. But it is definitely how I want to live a positive life.
There was a time when I got really sick and mono knocked me off my feet for a total of 9 working days. After that, I became lactose intolerant. After that, I stopped sleeping and woke up worrying about things over which I had no control. Basically, I was shutting down in my body because my life seemed to be crashing down around me. I visited my family practitioner to get some help because, as a friend bluntly confronted me, “You’re life is in the crapper, Kelly. You’re probably experiencing some episodic depression.” Dr. Brewer weighed me, checked my blood pressure, ordered some thyroid tests and blood tests to be done, and sat me in his office.
What’s going on in your life right now?
Well. I just completed two grueling years of school while trying to raise a family and work full time. Then, I left my husband and got my own apartment. My oldest daughter graduated from college and moved in with me. The daughter I placed for adoption 20 years ago just found me via Facebook. I got a promotion at my job and had to leave a great job and great friends behind. My divorce is dragging on and getting ugly. Oh, and my face is breaking out and my hair is falling out in clumps. Just that.
Dr. Brewer’s eyes widened and he reminded me that I was hitting a bunch of the major stressors in life all at once so I was allowed to fall apart right then. This was the point at which I crumpled over onto the floor and sobbed and begged for him to help me. And it was the point that I started seeing a therapist on a regular basis. The crying didn’t bother me. The bottling it up for so long did. It’s exhausting and I was finally, after many many unhappy years, figuring out that what I wanted in life I could attain and that it wasn’t going to be in a happy marriage because we wanted two different things from the get go. This wasn’t contingent on my being a mother because that had been going on since I was 15, but there was a place in my life to figure out who I was without my children. A lot of forgiveness went into that one. It was that I was holding it together. All the balls were in the air and I was juggling them but no one could see all the ones I dropped on the ground already.
My friend was right. It was episodic and temporary and I finally pulled out of that sinking hole. After that breakdown I got serious about being happy and positive and choosing joy on a daily basis.
Do you know what it’s like to be by yourself and find something amusing? There’s a moment when you smile to yourself and you are so conscious of the fact that you’re smiling to yourself and that no one can see you that you, in fact, start to smile wider. Maybe you even let out a little laugh or a snort. And all the while you’re doing it you are acutely aware that you are doing this by yourself and that if anyone walked in they would immediately question what you were so happy about. It’s a private, secret moment you’re having and the first time I did it after that meltdown I realized that I was forgiving myself for all these feelings and that my life was going to be as positive as I made it. No one else would put their hands on my lips to force my smile. I was in charge of that. No one could physically force me to laugh. That would have to come from me.
This living positively thing has to be supremely on the top of my life list if I am going to do it right.
A huge thank you goes to Coca-Cola for giving me this opportunity. What should I challenge Coca-Cola to do? What questions should I ask them? What the heck should I eat in Atlanta?