My eldest niece has used this expression with her kids that totally resonates for me. When trouble arises between them, she tells them “you’re not being fun to be around. Please go to your room until you can be fun to be around.” It’s an interesting expression, and one that the kids seemed to understand pretty well, even at a young age.
Since I didn’t get the job I was interviewing for, I’ve been decidedly not fun to be around. Part of that is intentional. I came to believe, going through a much harder time than this, that it’s better to feel your feelings when you’re having them. Much easier to feel crappy when something crappy happens than to tell yourself and the world that you’re fine and nothing gets to you, only to find yourself feeling crappy months later and not really knowing why. Something crappy happened, and I didn’t want to pretend like it didn’t. So I’ve been grieving the loss of what I thought might happen, and the plans I made about that. And though I haven’t thrown anything at anyone, I’ve given myself some space to feel disappointed and frustrated and all the things that come from not getting a thing you want, even if only part of you wants it.
But one of the things that I have been feeling for several days is how not fun I am to be around, at the moment. I talk to people I love and I can’t find a silver lining— I’m well into “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all,” territory. I don’t know what to do with myself, and the going around in circles is starting to annoy me. I’ve been saying for days “I make myself tired.”
Yesterday, I had enough. I did a good workout (I’ve been feeling heavy and out of shape and listless), set a schedule to keep me working out hard and planned a good, healthy portable breakfast for myself. But what really got me was this: I got a message from a child I sponsor in Kenya. I’ve been telling myself that the organization through which I sponsor her makes her write me— this is not a real relationship. (Pouting about a couple of unanswered letters from last year, apparently.) And they do make her write me once a year. She wrote me about a month ago, and I was glad to hear from her, especially because she’s not far from where the warlords are active, and I worry about her and her family. But, though I think of her and pray for her often, I didn’t answer her letter. She wrote again and I got the letter last night. She told me about school, and her grandmother, and the weather, as she often does, and she talked about the opportunities my sponsorship will open up to her as she transitions to secondary school.
She has this tendency to put my life in perspective. A couple of years ago, I had this mystery illness all summer. I’d run a really high fever and my glands would swell up and they’d put me on antibiotics, but nothing was helping. Toward the end of the summer, they started testing me for scary things like lymphoma and admitting that they didn’t know what was going on. Then, as suddenly as it started, the fevers disappeared and my legs and ankles swelled pretty dramatically. They don’t precisely know what was happening— they think it was a virus the nature of which they never figured out, and that it did damage to my liver and kidneys on the way out that caused swelling for a month. And then that disappeared, as suddenly as it appeared.
Toward the end of that, I got a letter from her. We were writing each other more regularly, back then. She said she and her family were praying for me. She didn’t know about the illness— it was a comment in response to nothing in particular. And it moved me. I feel like it’s my job to pray for her. And here, a world away, she was praying for me. Stuff like that breaks me open. Which is apparently exactly what I need.
So I’m going to stop with the moping. I tried for something and it didn’t work out. I’m inarguably better off than I was if I hadn’t tried. I have a job and an incredibly good life. When something scary happens, I have health insurance. And even when I give things away, even a little thing, like the money I give to sponsor her, I get back so much more than I could ever ask for.
I’m not quite fun to be around, yet, but I’m on my way.