The Glass is Half Full




I have always been a positive person. The glass is half full. When things got tough, I consistently found the silver lining. I also spent a considerable amount of time journaling for self reflection, something I learned to do in nursing school. It is definitely a good thing to be a positive person, but I’m here to say that it can also make things harder. People come to expect my cheer and my smile. Even I expect it. But I have learned recently that by striving to maintain an unwavering sense of positivity, I am denying myself the concept that my situation just plain sucks. I now believe that in order to be a positive person, you have to fully experience the highs and the lows. Those binary opposites are crucial because without one, you cannot appreciate the meaning of the other.

My belief system is open minded and subject to change. However, I have spent a lot of time learning from the ways of Buddhism. There is a major aspect of that which involves the notion of suffering, and subsequently that suffering is often self-inflicted. For example, if you become attached to someone and then they break up with you and you are miserable, that misery is theoretically self-inflicted because you got attached in the first place. The other big kicker for that theory is expectation. If you expect someone to do something or for a situation to turn out a certain way, and then it does not meet or exceed your personal expectations, that can once again lead to suffering. Understanding this concept has certainly helped to shape my ways. That being said, the more suffering I experience from this illness, the more conflicted I become with that belief. I have drastically limited my expectations and unnecessary attachments, and yet, I realize the major aspect of my suffering is far from self-infliction. I got sick; most likely a virus that my immune system attempted to rectify and instead, set off a chain of events in my system that began to deteriorate my health, my condition and now, my quality of life. So yes, this really sucks.

Throughout this illness there have been (and still are) many unknowns. The unknown is often the most scary thing for people to grasp, especially loved ones. In order to calm that fear and limit the pressing sense of mystery, everyone wants to bring comfort to me and themselves. In doing so, I often hear things like, “It will be okay,” “You’re going to get better, I just know it,” “Just keep smiling,” “The purpose of this illness is for you to learn…xyz.” ย These speculations and statements are the opposite of comforting. I understand that people want to help and they often don’t know what to say. It really is hard to talk to someone going through a challenge such as this. But it is important to remember that the things you may need to tell yourself for calming purposes are not always what would be calming for the patient to hear. When there is such a big aspect of the unknown, I don’t need someone to take that away from me, because to me it doesn’t feel real. What I do need is a space where I can feel the wide range of emotions that come along with this journey. As someone who went close to 5 years without ever crying, that is easier said than done. But if I spend all my time smiling, that would not be positive. I am going to allow myself to be angry at this for taking away the life I loved. I am going to allow myself to be sad that I cannot bake a cake or go for a run. I am going to allow myself to be miserable when my abdomen is so swollen I can’t roll over. What I need from people is their understanding that if I display an emotion other than joy, it does not mean I am giving up. In fact, that is when I am fighting my hardest.

This is an impossible time for everyone. I recognize how much my illness has effected all the people around me. However, the beauty is, there are SO many people around me. I have not had to endure this alone. For that, I am incredibly grateful. I always used to say how tragic it was that at funerals people stood up and talked about meaningful stories and told all the reasons they loved that person and it struck me that the person being honored did not get to hear those things when they were alive. Over the last 10 months, I have had countless friends, old acquaintances, family members, and even strangers, contact me and tell me about a difference I made in their life or a reminisence from a happy time with me. No matter the outcome of this illness, I have been given that incredible opportunity to be honored while I am alive and aware. I have never felt so completely surrounded by love and support as I do right now. And because of that, my glass is not only half full, my glass runneth over. That glass is full of the joy my support system brings me, the awareness that stopping to smell the flowers brings me, and the love I harbor that fuels my will to be here. I am positive, I am smiling, and my glass is full; but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish I didn’t have a different glass. ย xox





10 thoughts on “The Glass is Half Full

  1. I am saying “Finally!” as well, but for a variety of reasons. I’ve only seen “Positive Tubie” and I’m relieved to see you acknowledge the situation sucks! Because it DOES! But that doesn’t mean your life sucks ๐Ÿ™‚ Because it DOESN’T. You summed it up really well. You can still be positive, but the situation stinks and it’s a shitty hand of cards you’re playing right now, and who knows what the future holds, but right now, this is your day and so go get it, however best you can. And if that day isn’t one you want to go get, wait for a new one, it’ll come, chica. It’ll come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s good to see your blog up and running, Hannah. I love your writing. I find your thoughts from this first post reminiscent of Kahlil Gibran on Joy and Sorrow. Have you read it?

    “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain…”

    Always, you are in my heart! Sending love. ๐Ÿ’›

    Liked by 2 people

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