Then and Now

Years ago, around 20 years ago, I worked at the Fulton County State Court.  I believe my title was some such nonsense as Communications Specialist.  This title was meant to make me sound important but the reality was I was a clerk who worked in the Information Office and fielded tons of ridiculous questions from the public, from lawyers, from litigants, etc.  You get the drift.  Our purpose was to handle civil cases (law suits, garnishments, dispossessory cases) but being labeled as the Information Office apparently implied we had info on EVERYTHING.  It was a frustrating job at times.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago when I was helping Mom go through boxes of letters and photos…

I found a letter I wrote to her during the time I worked at the courthouse.  In this letter I had included some (joke) rules I had written for the callers who, for whatever reason, though that they could call me and ask for a case number when they had no clue who the parties were in a particular case or they needed a roofer or a plumber or they had no business at all with the courts but did I happen to know the phone number of Animal Control?  I read those rules I’d written and thought to myself, “Man I was bitchy, wasn’t I?”

Now I must back a few days to before I read the rules…

I can’t recall what instance made me think about this but I had a moment where I wondered:  Has losing a child made me an insensitive bitch?  Most of you know about my first daughter Sydni and that she died in 1997.  There’s nothing worse than having to bury your own child.  Just NOTHING & I won’t go into details now because I’ve blogged about her before, but something triggered in me this question about being insensitive to others.  Have I lost compassion?  Is my heart so broken that I can’t sympathize when others are going through a difficult situation?

Fast forward again to the here and now…

The answer is no.  THANK GOD!  After reading the rules for callers I realized I’ve always been a kind of “suck it up, buttercup!” kind of girl.  Bad shit happens, life goes on.  We lose, we get hurt, we all experience pain but we move on.  I have had problems with depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember but I work very hard at not letting it bring me so far down I can’t get up again.  I’ve been dangerously close to that place before & it’s scary.  SCARY.  Sometime, a long time ago, I promised myself that I simply won’t go there again.  I allow myself a day to wallow & have my little pity party then I’m done.  If I’m not happy I fake happy until real happy kicks in.  If I don’t feel like smiling then I actively find reasons to smile and laugh.  I just refuse, REFUSE, to drown in bitterness, resentment and negativity.

What’s I’ve discovered over the past few days is that I don’t understand why people choose to waste so much energy on negativity when they don’t have to and let’s face it, it IS a CHOICE.

So, why am I babbling about all of this?  Simply to say that the me I was 20+ years ago is basically the same me I am now and I’m happy about that.  I like it that the core of who I am hasn’t changed despite negative experiences in my life.  I still love hard and true, still have compassion, still sympathize, still feel the hurt when people I love hurt.  If I were to sit down today and write “rules for callers who don’t have a clue” they’d be exactly the same as they were over 20 years ago.  Nothing would change and this tells me I’ve not changed much either and this, to me, is a good thing.  Losing Sydni didn’t make me a bitter, angry person and it didn’t change who I truly am but instead just gave me a different perspective on what matters and what doesn’t.

I’m not sure this will make sense to anyone but me but I’m feeling a sense of relief that I’m not this bitchy, horrible, wicked person but rather a “deal with it and let it go” kind of person and that’s okay.

Author: Lisa Summerlin

The Smoking Squirrel is my way of bringing happiness to the world. I firmly believe that laughter is the best medicine and sometimes we all need a negative-free zone. This is it. Enjoy!

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