Rough Patches

When a rough patch tends to linger, does it become a field? Or an ocean, as the expression seems to be linked to the maritime world?

For some reason that I won’t seek anymore, sometimes we seem to endure more hardships than the usual average. I believe this is a personal measurement, according to what “usual” means to you.

However, the notion itself is more universal, not a personal feeling or observation, otherwise “when it rains, it pours” wouldn’t have been invented – and used. But is it really a weather issue?

Feather cloud

In my native Brazil, the expression “the witch is at loose” serves as the idiom to express this vulnerability to unhappy happenings, as well as the need for someone to blame – the witch is the culprit whenever there is a series of unfortunate events.

In my younger years, I kept establishing deadlines for it to end, as if I could control the “unlucky streak”. A new week, new month and new year can be especially helpful as wishful game-changers.

I would also wallow more in self-pity and anger. The fact that other people’s lives were not as affected as mine seemed unfair, a personal vendetta from an unknown enemy against me.

In time, I learned that was very self-centered and untrue. I wasn’t singled out by the Universe to suffer. At the same time, we tend to hear that people in Africa are suffering more and, somehow, we should be ashamed for being sad for whatever reason – except for a loss or “serious” disease (are there funny ones?). Also not a wonderful strategy, as we should be allowed to feel and suffer as we un-please, through our own unique and very personal challenges. Nobody else inhabits our skin. And that doesn’t erase our empathy for others.

Fighting it seems to be mostly unproductive, in my experience. More helpful mechanisms such as learning to navigate, be more fluid – the maritime metaphors linger, easy breezy for this sea lover – and keep things moving has proved more effective. It’s like riptide. If you desperately try to swim against it, you drown. If you move with it and slowly find the long way around it, you’ll get out. Wet and shaken, but out. The hard part is not falling into despair while being dragged.

I also know a tiny bit better how it works now. Calendar rules do not apply and the ferris wheel – or rollercoaster – only changes to upward, well… when it does.

But it very often does change. That’s one thing I’ve learned. The impermanence of life and its moments. That means bad times too shall pass. And I come out of it. Sometimes wounded, sometimes stronger. But in calmer waters.

Like I mentioned, I stopped asking why. Learning lessons tend to call for a retake if the grade is not a passing one… but I am not sure that is the goal, it just makes sense to me that way. Although, many times, it’s hard to spot any lesson to learn at all, except for finding balance between action and patience.

If your rough patch overextends, or overstays, hang in there and know it will end. Deal with it in the best way possible to you, until it smooths out. I know, I know, easier written than done.

Last tip, forget the witch. No need to blame anyone. She has her own problems, if she was in witch jail and not enjoying her freedom, the whole time when things were smooth sailing.

Sailboat at sunset

Thank you for reading.

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