Be Kind…

….for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” -Plato

This quote hit me hard today as I was unwinding with an icepack on the therapy table at physical therapy. Every single person you meet is in the throes of some sort of predicament. What a concept! We’re human after all.

Remember that one person through grade school who just seemed to have it all figured out? Maybe they were super popular, or obliterated the ACTs without studying, or was a star athlete, or out-shined everyone else for the lead in the school play. And hey, maybe for you, normalcy was so beyond your battles that you longed to be normal too. Whatever your muse, we’ve all come across that person at some point that made us say to ourselves, “Ugh, why not me? Why can’t I be like that?” And the saddest part is, we start to answer our very own accusatory, self-destructive questions. “Because I’m lazy”, “because I’m just not smart enough”, “because I’m not talented enough”, “because I’m not physically fit enough” … and BAM! There’s your self-fulfilling prophesy.

Now let’s back away from the philosophy textbook for a second…. allow me to enlighten you on some tried-and-true experience. Once upon a time, I came to Oswego with a thirst for reinvention. But, because of my knack for letting others take advantage of my hospitality, I allowed my goals to become overshadowed with arguments and a depressingly slow start to making friends. I wanted to shed my high school persona and rid myself of the blame-game and create a college experience that would change me for the better.

But it was my love for all things Orientation that kept me on my heels and helped me focus on ensuring a wonderful summer for myself and others. I even made my first best friend at Oswego through Orientation (you know who you are!….. PS it’s fellow blogger Lizz Wetherby). I made sixteen close friends last summer while working with Orientation, and countless more as I gained an invaluable network of peers.

By Fall 2009, one of my co-workers turned me on to the idea of a co-ed service fraternity, and my other collegiate passion was born. Alpha Phi Omega, or APO surrounded me with another set of friends, and the bonds I’ve formed with my fellow Greeks through our community service endeavors still surprise me to this day. And now I’ve got two best friends in the same organization! My wolfpack is now three she-wolves strong.

Anyway, after my pledging semester, I quickly picked up an executive board position as Vice President of Service, second from the President (a fellow Orientation staffer and blogger, Kayle Light – who knew?!) and made 33 more friends as our HUGE pledge class kicked major service butt in the spring. With over 40 active members and a supportive alumni family, you can imagine how my friend situation has progressed over these two years.

So, back to fighting our battles. Amongst all of this lovey-dovey friend stuff, I’ve got my battles, all right. Knee surgery at the very beginning of summer really puts a damper on summer plans (no beach, no swimming, no driving to the movies, etc.) and I’ve gotta admit, it hits hard on the mental and emotional gauges too. And my family is 100% in my corner, but I can see that they’ve got their fair share of battles too. There are times when I find myself laying in bed at 3:30 am staring at the ceiling and my mind’s doing that “Why not me” thing again. But what I never realized is that those people who seem to have it all – and in my case, right now those people are in relationships and have healthy ACL ligaments – don’t quite know how to handle battles like mine. My battles are unique to me, and ya know what? … maybe that person who seems to have it all would buckle under the pressure of a reconstructive surgery and the consequences that go with it while I’ve stored up the secrets and tricks to overcoming not one, but two knee surgeries.

I don’t want anyone else’s battles but mine. But while I sat on that rehab table today, I was amazed at how very little we know about each other’s inner workings. Perhaps it’s a good thing to keep those battles under wraps, but I choose to record them here for others to learn that it’s okay to be fighting.

Rest assured, we are all fighting.

One thought on “Be Kind…

  1. A great story here, and wonderful advice. And you’re right; you do have some great friends and fellow bloggers.

    Any thoughts of grass always seeming greener on the other side reminds me of “Richard Cory,” from my favorite collection of poems, Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Spoon River Anthology.”

    Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
    We people on the pavement looked at him:
    He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
    Clean-favoured and imperially slim.

    And he was always quietly arrayed,
    And he was always human when he talked;
    But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
    “Good Morning!” and he glittered when he walked.

    And he was rich, yes, richer than a king,
    And admirably schooled in every grace:
    In fine — we thought that he was everything
    To make us wish that we were in his place.

    So on we worked and waited for the light,
    And went without the meat and cursed the bread,
    And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
    Went home and put a bullet in his head.

    We all fight our own battles, indeed. Keep fighting on!

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