Some of the things I have always admired about my grandma Rosa are her gratitude, her good cheers, her positive attitude about life, her hope so endless!!
Now, she had a very hard life, working since the age of 7 and all the way till over 65. She has always been poor, she has never had a vacation, her life was not a fairy tale, but she seemed to be always living her "happily ever after".
"Lorena, you have to sing, and dance and laugh. You have to have faith because life is so wonderful, so beautiful. You have to thank God and Life for all you have and be happy!" I still hear her sometimes, with her soft Italian accent.
And she was right, she is right! I used to think "How on earth is she so optimistic and positive, and so happy! She has no reason to be so, her life has been so hard, she has nothing, she still works at 68 for minimum wadges, she doesn't own a house, or an apartment, she has no savings... She has no reason to be this happy and like life so much!
She probably hadn't, if you measure life like I did, but she was right and I would like to be like her. I think the key lays in what we care about, how much of the good we have we honestly get to see, and how comfortable we are in our own skins.
I used to dislike myself, I saw myself in the mirror and thought I was no way near attractive. I constantly focused in what I was not, I was not tall enough, not skinny enough, didn't have lips full enough, eyes bright enough, my skin was not flawless, my boobs were not big enough, my butt was not firm enough... the list goes on and on and on... I didn't look like Catherine Zeta Jones, or Cameron Diaz, or Julia Roberts, or whoever. I saw myself as a body that was far too imperfect, I was a body with a soul, a hidden one. I grew up, or got hit by life or who knows what happened... But I feel good with how I look, I know that all of those things I saw in me before are still there (that and the fact that things fall a little with age), and I feel so good to be me! I don't see myself as the world's most beautiful woman, I don't see myself as ugly either... I just don't see myself on those terms anymore. I see myself as a soul with a body, a body to hug my kids, a body to work and care for others, a body healthy enough as to take me through the days and nights, a body to be able to sense, to feel, to taste, but most of all, a body that allows me to give. And suddenly, life became so much better!
I get overwhelmed by problems sometimes, failures, trials, other people's attitudes... well, yeah, things bother me, and sometimes a heck of a lot! So I burst! I cook inside and get all nervous and cranky and angry. So, so angry!! I get frustrated sometimes, because the person I want to be, well.. I am not, yet. And I have this idea that I have to do it all, to endure it all, to fix it all, and I set my goals up to the moon and try to reach them with a ladder and it doesn't work and I deflate, and cry, and cry myself to sleep and forget that I am human. But the moment comes, like this one, when I remember my grandma and ask myself the question "what if you wake up tomorrow with only the things you were thankful for today?" and I start thinking about that, my girls, my family, my friends, my accomplishments, my home, my job, my colleagues, my health, my past, my mistakes, my trials...
I don't have much, maybe... no car, no house of my own, no savings, no vacations, not a decent wardrobe, not so many furniture pieces, not as many home appliances, not a lot of make up, not a lot of food... But I do have enough, I am not in need of anything! the things I don't have I don't need, I'm doing just fine without them. And when I think a little more I realized I wouldn't be happier if I had them. So I am thankful for having what I have, and being who I am. I would probably like to share my life and have someone to grow old with, since many times I wonder who would I give as "nearest family member" if I have to get hospitalized... Sick thought but hey! that is my everyday... and every time I get an admit and I ask them that question it pops up in my head "G, you are really screwed!" But I don't need someone to make me happy, I don't. I would, although, like to have a special someone to share my happiness with, and my life, and my love.
And I go on with my list of things I am thankful for, and then I sing a little, and then I try to be gentler with myself, because of course things get hard, things are horrible sometimes!, I am so alone from time to time, I feel so unprotected, so defenseless, so scared, so lonely. We all do! And it's fine, it's beautiful anyway.
So if I woke up tomorrow only with those things I am thankful for today.. well, life will be pretty much the same.