I've always been a big fan of reframing.
That is, repraming all experiences as positive.
Even the harrowing ones.
Trying to find the silver lining in every fuckin' cloud.
What exactly is reframing?
''Reframing is a way of changing the way you look at something and, thus, changing your experience of it. Reframing can turn a stressful event into either a major trauma or a challenge to be bravely overcome. Reframing can depict a really bad day as a mildly low point in an overall wonderful life. Reframing can see a negative event as a learning experience. Reframing is a way that we can alter our perceptions of stressors and, thus, relieve significant amounts of stress and create a more positive life before actually making any changes in our circumstances.''
Yeah,I've been doing that all my life.
Like, when I was a teenager and I had to wear this horrible body cast day and night for two and a half years, not being able to breethe , this seering pain in my spine each time they made it tighter, each time I became the target of jokes and ridicule by cruel classmates at school, I'd lie in bed at night thinking:
''This is making me stronger emotionally, I can do this, I can do this! Plus, this cast is giving me a timy waist, in times gone by women would wear corsets to get temporarily what I'll be getting permanently''.
Some reframing, huh?
And I've been following on those lines throughout my life.
In all major and minor crises of my life.
Being always the happy one.
The cheerful one.
Holding it all admirably together.
Don't break down.
Do the right, the admirable thing.
Then today, a flash of indignation hit me,
making me realise that rephraming aint always a good thing.
We were at my brother's car,on our way to the hospital to see and care for our mum. My two brothers were discussing stuff and challenges they're facing in their lives and generally catching up on their news. When it was my time to talk and tell them about a particular problem at home, after they listened, one of my brothers said:
''C'mon Eirini, it can't be that bad, after all look at you, you always find enough time for all the things you love, you always look impeccably groomed and cheerful, if things were the way you're describing, you'd be a mess!''
Then it hit me.
People, even those nearer and dearer to you, cant possibly fathom your pain if you keep fuckin' reframing every experience as positive.
If you keep putting up a brave, brave front for too long,
they dismiss your challenges and pain as trivial or nonexistent.
If they don't see you breaking down in the middle of the night into a crying mess, they believe you're thick skinned enough to withstand everything.
After all, pain is always detectable, right?
Watching my mum going through trauma and pain and losing all sense of dignity and control over most things bravely and uncomplainingly drove it more home to me.
Most people , my family included, seeing her like this kept repeating ''She's losing all sense of awareness, that's why she is like that,'' or I kept seeing nurses dealing with demanding, complaining patients more and dismissing my mother's pain because she's patient and well, doesnt make any commotion, does she?
Watching this in action made me realise how much I'm trully her daughter, burying my pain, putting up a brave front, sucking it up, taking it up to next level even, not just refrain from complaining, ut also fuckin' rephraming every experience as positive.
Then, becoming dissacociative from my pain, or having people to refuse to offer help and sympathy I so gravely need somewtimes, because, well, look at you, you're holding up together so well!
Reframing aint always good.
Sometimes having a screaming feat is all it takes for people to realise you're human too, with needs and challenges that need to be addressed.
Sometimes rephraming sucks and swearing the living shit at people gets your point across much, much better.