Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Confessions of a Hater.

It all started with leap of faith. In a freefall from a 55-foot wooden structure. It was there that I realized my quandry. Why I couldn't seem to stand others happy. Why it was so hard for me to let go of some grudges that had lasted longer than necessary. I had to admit it to myself...that was was the first step right? My name is Crystal, and I'm a hater.

The 55-foot wooden structure I stood on, teetering dangerously close to the end of a 3-foot wide ledge, was at Camp Kalaqua, about 40 miles outside of Gainesville. In other words, the middle of nowhere. I was at a team retreat, where some of my track athletes go to "bond" as a team. I will withhold personal comments on that. The campgrounds were complete with a zipline, rock climbing tower, a zoo, a water park, and my choice of poison, a "Leap of Faith." (The camp belongs to a Seventh-Day Adventist church, so all the activities incorporated faith. The Leap of Faith was really a free-fall from the stop of a wooden tower attached to a bungee cord. The last words of the attendee before I jumped: "I promise, it's completely safe.")

The Tower of Faith. 

For obvious reasons, people find it extremely difficult to admitting to being a hater. It was like that one person that answers all the questions in class: no one wants to be "that guy." For the less slang savvy, a hater is someone that "hates"--in the sense that that person doesn't approve of, or blatantly lessens, someone else's happiness, accomplishments, or accolades. As I seethed at the newest job opportunity or family addition of a Facebook connection--I hate the term "Facebook friend"; it's like an oxymoron--I realized the real source of my disgust: myself. I evaluated my life, constantly, on the basis of what my peers were doing with theirs. That person has a new car; why don't I? They landed a job fresh out college; great, now I'm a bum. However, one day, after having a particularly awful day at work, this cute little old lady and her husband came in a bought a Coke in the old-fashioned glass bottle. She told me, "These Coke bottles are so old, we were only dating when we had our first one. It's so funny how life goes." That could have been interpreted a million ways, but that was all the affirmation I needed to stop looking at other people's success and be happy with my own.

As I stood at the top of that tower, I vowed to let go of all my hating and love a little more. I also vowed that there had to be a less drastic way to do maybe not attached to a steel cable.