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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Disappointment Recovery Specialist

That is the best job description I can think of for the year I am leaving behind.

If you take a look at my resume, you’ll find a very strange blend of experience that includes pharmaceutical report writing, medical transcription, and landscaping. I can break that bizarre combination down into specific skill sets and polish it up a bit, but that is essentially what I’ve done with my life over the past 12 years, and it tells a large part of the story of my marriage.

In addition to my work experience, however, I have spent the last year focusing on my new specialty, Disappointment Recovery. This is a broad description that spans across every category of my life. It covers such events as the ending of my marriage, the few times I’ve had high hopes for a new relationship that all end abruptly with unhappily never after, and the resumes I’ve sent out in search of a job that hasn’t come my way yet. I’ve become exceptionally good at getting all excited about varying levels of false hope, holding on to it like there’s a chance that it might actually represent something good about to happen in my life, and then having it yanked out from under me so that there’s nothing left for me to stand on but more false hope, more wishes for that hope to bring something good into my life, and more recovery from the disappointment that follows when it turns out to be nothing, at all.

Disappointment Recovery is a skill, really, a very valuable life skill. I’ve been learning about it in therapy for the past year. It involves overused and clichéd terms like self-esteem, codependency, and positive affirmation. It means that you have to keep telling yourself, over and over and over and over and over and over again, that there is nothing wrong with you. The reason things aren’t working out for you they way you think they should is because the people that keep disappointing you are simply looking for something you don’t have, something you don’t need because it’s not a part of who you are. The skills and the qualities and the love that you have are still valuable, and you can’t let these experiences negate their worth. You just aren’t the right fit for that job, that relationship, that circumstance. Yes, of course it feels like you’re the problem when nothing in your life seems to come together, but that’s an illusion, a lie you must choose not to believe. It’s simply about timing and circumstance. You just have to keep trying until you find the timing and circumstances that will help you assemble the life you want.

What I’m really learning about myself through my ongoing adventures in Disappointment Recovery is that I’m made of a combination of iron and glass. I’m strong enough to walk out of an abusive marriage, to make the necessary choice to protect myself and my kids, and to start a new life that will give us all more peace and love and happiness. As my kids and I navigate the path to that new life together, I’m strong enough to keep taking all of the blows of disappointment that life keeps giving me, absorbing their impact, and then getting up, licking the wounds, and starting over, again, and again, and again. I’m strong enough to handle the disappointment and the heartache; I continue to find new ways to manage my Disappointment Recovery and keep coming back for more. But inside of that solid iron exterior is caged a delicate blown glass heart that shatters easily with each painful impact, and it's my iron will that resolves to do the work of putting those fragile pieces back together each time they crumble. I’m frustrated with myself for being so sensitive to all of these disappointments. I want to let them roll off of the iron cage, but they continue to penetrate through the bars every time. And every time, I keep getting back up and starting over, because I have to; because I have kids who depend on me to provide for them; because I’m a fighter and not a quitter; because I’m too smart and educated and experienced to simply give up on the hope of having a great job that I enjoy; because deep inside I still believe that I’m going to find love again one day; because my life is worth the pain of this repeated effort; and because eventually, I won’t have to specialize in Disappointment Recovery anymore. I’ll be able to draw from that experience on the occasions when I need it, but instead of hitting me like a brick wall each time, disappointment and heartache will land softly in the middle of the life I’ve built for myself and my kids that gives us contentment, peace, and love.

Tomorrow is my 39th birthday, and I’m going to approach it as a new beginning. When I wake up, I’ll strap on my iron bra, gently collect the fragile pieces of my glass heart, and do more of the work of assembling the life that I know is still out there waiting for me.

3 comments:

Medical Transcription Job Description said...
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Kim V. said...

Resiliency. It is a learned skill. Relearned really because as children we can be so resilient, moving on from disappointment and quickly discovering a new and exciting challenge. The older we get the harder it becomes to bounce back, but it can be relearned and I think you are doing everything you can to make it happen for yourself. I wish that you didn't have to have all of these disappointments though. I really do because you deserve the very best.

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