I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

21 Feb

A few months ago, I wrote a post about fighting the ball, you know, the one that you want to curl up in when it feels like life is just not going your way, that calls to you when everything is falling apart.  And when I wrote it, I was fresh off a victory against the ball; I did not succumb to it, I did not give up on myself or my dreams, and I kept moving forward.

Well, it turns out that the battle against the ball is far from a one time endeavor.  And it also turns out that the ball had some victories of its own in December and January (traditionally difficult months to fight the ball, see:  self-diagnosed Seasonal Affective Disorder).  Disappointments pummeled me back into ball formation.  My self-esteem has holes in it, where rejection can seep in and take root.  And then I believe in the disappointment and rejection, and lose my belief in myself.

And then there’s the thing about getting your hopes up.  People sometimes say that it’s better not to get your hopes up, because then the pain of disappointment will be even greater.  And people say this for a reason – it’s true.  There have been many times when I’ve dared to be hopeful, only to wind up being even more painfully disappointed, and the ball, which has been hanging out quietly in the background, maybe getting a soda at the refreshment stand or texting some friends, is instantly ready to step back into the ring swinging.

But here’s the other thing about hope – I don’t want to lose it.  I don’t want to stop hoping in order to protect myself from pain, in an attempt to shield myself from future run-ins with that ball.  Because that would mean becoming cynical and numbed out, and I refuse to live that way.  And besides, without hope, curled up in a ball could become a permanent destination.

I’ve been reminded over the past few months that fighting the ball is an ongoing battle.  It slowed me down in December and January.  But it did not stop me.  It knocked me down.  But I got up again.  It’s never gonna keep me down.

A few weeks ago I was at Starbucks and the barista asked the guy on line behind me how he was doing and he said, “Another day, another dream destroyed.”  I can relate.  It is staggering how much belief in yourself is required, in the face of how many people do not believe in you, and the countless disappointments and rejections.  How much I have to keep digging deeper and deeper to find more reserves of belief, more slivers of hope, when all signs point to curling up in that ball and giving up.  And this might seem obvious but it is rarely my default mode so I have to repeatedly remind myself –  at times like these it is helpful to reach out to the people who do believe in you!  So I dig deep, and I reach out.

The ball might have been ahead in the past two months, but I am back on my feet and pulling into the lead again.  And the fight is making me stronger.

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5 Responses to “I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again”

  1. ActionJoJo February 22, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    When we get to standing head to knee pose in bikram yoga, there is a line in the dialogue that says, “If you fall out, you jump right back in.” Once, my teacher took it one step further and said immediately after that line, “So if you fall out 3 times, you get back in 4 times.”

    At the end of class, as we all lay exhausted in final savasana, she uttered softly the following closing words, “Remember: if you fall out, you jump right back in. In life, if you fall 3 times, you get back in 4 times.” I actually teared up a little when I heard her say that. I keep that moment close to me every time I feel discouraged.

  2. Fear of Writing February 23, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    I hear ya, Jenn. I’ve been the same. I’ve been in the ball several times since you did that first Fight the Ball post – and then I bounce back and get excited about life and creativity all over again. It’s an ongoing process, and fortunately the hope comes back when the ball loosens up again.

    I know what you mean about SAD. The perpetually gloomy winter skies here in Ohio can definitely add to the Ball Syndrome.

    It feels reassuring to have you revisiting this topic. It reminds me of why I was attracted to your blog in the first place – because you don’t try to gloss things over or portray an image of SuperWoman. We can celebrate one another’s victories but also be there in empathy for the hard times. That, to me, is meaningful.

    P.S. I loved the song you chose to go with this post!!

  3. Nicdawg March 4, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    OMG! I was just thinking about this topic and asking myself the very question — how many times can I get up again?
    I try to remain positive and count the things I do have, not just the ones I don’t, or the ones that didn’t work out the way I wanted. But sometimes I just can’t help thinking, “Um, this is not the life I was promised. Who do I speak to about this?” (As if standing at the customer service desk) …
    And then in yoga the other day the teacher said that we are spiritual beings on a physical adventure. I like that. It sort of talked me down off my mental ledge. Like it takes the pressure off. I’m just a spiritual being, yo.

  4. Aisha March 6, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    Thank you for writing this post- you have no idea how much I needed to hear it- sometimes you feel alone in feeling a certain way but this post reminds me that I am not alone.

  5. Rebecca March 9, 2011 at 7:55 am #

    I love the msg from ActionJoJo! Keep getting out of that ball, Jen, and don’t give up hope- it’s a dark, dark place that is much more difficult to “uncurl” from. Big hugs, Rebecca

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