‘Lets paint a picture of rainbows and flowers and we can all be happy.’ There’s a joke quote, something along those lines, which circulates my floor at uni. I don’t really get ‘it’ because I’m not really in ‘the crowd’. It’s never really bothered me, because I’ve never been ‘popular’ and I never wanted to be popular. I like my close knit friendship group. Now I’m at uni, it does bother me, and it bothers me probably more than it should. But that’s another post for another day, because today I’m feeling positive, and I plan to keep it that way.
At the end of every rainbow, there’s a pot of gold, so the legend goes. And, my own personal edition also notes that at the bottom of every lake there’s a pile of rock. When you’re faced with a challenge, you’ve got two options. You can leap up high into the sky and onto the rainbow, and follow it’s path, or you can jump into the lake and go for a swim.
The rainbow is far up, and it takes all your might to jump, grab the edge with your fingertips, and hoist yourself onto that bright, sunny, and colourful path. Once you’re there though, the going is easy. The path may be long, but it’s flat and it’s solid. There’s no hills to climb, there’s no monsters to get in your way, and if you can persevere for the days and days that it takes to walk the path, you’ll reach the pot of gold and reap the rewards at the end.
At first glance, a swim in the lake may seem a much more preferable option. It looks calm, flat, and much much easier than trying to hoist yourself onto that rainbow. You simply splash into the water, and you break the glassy surface. The water ripples and whooshes around you, and the creatures which you couldn’t see from the bank begin to surface. The crocodiles surround you, the water burns your eyes, the fish swim just that little too close, and then something wraps around your ankles, pulling you down. You’re drowning, you cannot breathe, but still you’re pulled further. You try to get to the surface, but the pulling only gets harder and stronger. You drop down into the deep, icy water. You pass out, and your head smashes against the rocks at the bottom of the lake. You’re helpless, your fate is decided for you, and you lost all choices after the moment you broke the surface.
Life’s a bit like that sometimes; choices of lakes or rainbows. In a new year, people make new resolutions, and while I won’t, for fear of failing, I can try to consider a change of attitude. Stress, panic, and to some extent, depression can be likened to choices of rainbows and lakes. When faced with a decision, the positive thinkers will choose the rainbow, while the pessimists will succumb to the icy but deceptive waters of the lake. What’s different in these scenarios however, is that while the lake will pull you down, and the fear and panic will take over, hope should not be lost. It’s a little crazy to say that to a negative thinker. To them, hope is lost, and I should know, because I am one. What I’m learning, however, is that there’s always a second chance. There’s always the possibility that someone might put their hand into the water and risk their own fate to pull you out. Even if they don’t, you might get strong, and find it within you to beat the creature away. All that you have to do then is pull yourself (or get a leg-up onto) a rainbow, and you’re walking the path to positivity.
I say this, because right now, for the first time in a long time, I’m walking along that rainbow. With a little help from a friend of mine, I’m trying to change my attitude. Of course, when a mindset is so deeply engraved into you as mine is into me, it’s not easy to change. It’s really really not easy to change. It’s hard to climb up onto that rainbow, there’s no denying it. What’s important though is to remember to take baby steps, and whilst I may not be able to yet say ‘Everything will be perfect and I’ll get top marks in my exams,’ what I can say is ‘I’m going to work really hard, and it’ll be okay. I’ll at least pass, and I won’t get kicked out, and I can have tonnes of fun when they’re all over.’ That’s a massive improvement for me. Usually, I’m very much ‘I can’t do this it’s too hard, I’ll fail and I’ll let everyone and myself down,’ with plenty of tears and frustration to go along with it. I’ve had the leg up onto a rainbow, and my friend tells me that she’s proud of me. That means a lot, because this isn’t easy.
Of course, I’m only taking baby steps, and even then, I’m not always perfect. Sometimes, I think my positive attitude is just as much about lying to myself as it is everyone else. As my trust for my friend has grown, I’ve relied on her to pull my out of the water. I still have secrets to tell about why I am who I am, and feel how I feel, but I’m ready to tell them. Hopefully when I see her in a few weeks, I will tell them. Perhaps that will make this walk along my rainbow a little easier. My rainbow is a bit wonky here and there, and there’s the odd hole that I need to avoid, but slowly, I’m beginning to really believe that I can be positive. I don’t think it’ll last forever; I’ll wobble every now and again. One day, I’ll probably fall. What I know however, is that actually it’s much easier on the rainbow (even my slightly mismatched one) than it is in the lake, and I’d like to stay here as long as I can. If for any reason I do fall, I’d like to think that someone will help me to climb back up. I’d like to think that even from the lake, I’d remember how amazing the rainbow was, and somehow, I’d jump back up again. For now though, I want to keep taking baby steps and walking on this path. It’s warm and it’s bright, and perhaps one day, my rainbow will be as solid as I need it to be to walk along it without thinking, or without the help and support that I need right now.