Photo by Eden Smith; Illustration by Haylie Stum (Eden )
Photo by Eden Smith; Illustration by Haylie Stum

Eden

Embrace the suck

January 28, 2021

Since third-grade social studies, I’ve been fascinated with longitude and latitude.

I loved the precision of it. I loved the exactness it had. I loved the fact that it could represent both the biggest and smallest of places. Whether it was the location of a fire hydrant or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, they were all represented the same.

What enthralled me more was the fact that nothing can be in the exact same place simultaneously. Even if someone stood on top of me, they would be at a different elevation. No one will ever be in the same location as you at the same time, and I feel like that’s something most of us find easy to take advantage of every day.

We put on our shoes every day to protect our feet, yet we never appreciate where our feet truly stand. For some reason, a lot of people have this subconsciously embedded, including myself. That sleepwalking through life is the same as walking because our feet are still moving. The truth of the matter is that it’s not. If I have no purpose for moving forward, why am I moving in the first place? That’s a question our society today fails to answer.

It’s easy to fall into a slump in the 21st-century. Life right now is like being on an endless escalator in a mall with shops we’ve absentmindedly grazed through too many times. It’s hard to see any good when we have dark clouds of disease, social tension, and uncertainty looming over wherever we go. But what’s worse is that we as a community enable it. We make it okay to sleepwalk. We make it okay to accept our escalator ride and never get off. And that’s something we need to shed light on in order to bring light into our own lives.

And of all people, I would know.

I couldn’t really tell you what my reasoning for resenting life was, but I do know that resenting life made me resent myself.

Not only did I resent who I was, I resented who I was becoming.

A few years ago, it seemed like everything in my life was wrong. Nothing was where it should be like I was in what was a chaotic clutter of a life. I remember coming home from school every day and darting to my room just to stare at my blank ceiling because a blank ceiling was the only thing in my life that wasn’t messy or complicated. I was lost. Lost in the mess. And I allowed that mess to mess up the only good thing in my life – my relationships with the loving people around me. Whether it was being inconsiderate or careless with my words or bad body language, I treated the people that surrounded me like the toxic environment I was surrounded with. I spoke words of degrading and unsympathetic nature hoping that someone would hear my scream for help instead. It got to a point where no matter how much hurt I knew I was causing, I had no idea how to stop. I had no idea how to let anything in my life that didn’t go my way not get to me.

When it got to that point in my life, that very bad point in my life, it was as if it didn’t mean anything at all. It was a nonstop loop of days where someone was in the drivers’ seat of my mind steering down roads I didn’t want to be on to a destination that led to nowhere.

It was as if I did nothing important at all.

I was, and still am, an active person. I was always on the go and always had something going on.

So why was my life my own never-ending escalator ride?

That´s a question I asked myself every day and always came up short of an answer.

One of my coaches used to always tell my team to “embrace the suck.” This never truly resonated with me until this year, when my escalator ride seemed like it was taking me to a dark destination. He meant that errors and injuries and bad umpire calls were going to happen, but if you take them headfirst and overcome them, you will come out a better player and perform better. In his context, he was talking about the game of softball, but I think this eloquently reflects into the game of life as well now more than ever. Embracing the bad with the good. Accepting instead of blaming. And most importantly, using it to push you even further.

I think this is what I was missing. It wasn´t that I didn’t have the drive or passion; it was that I let all the bad in my life make me feel like my drive or passion would never amount to anything. That the things going wrong or the people telling me I wasn’t enough was my fault.

I’m here to tell you now that it isn´t.

Choosing to become the survivor instead of the victim is what helped me stop sleepwalking through life. It helped me see that there is a finish line beyond the hurdles. I stopped blaming the world for my unhappiness and started using the whole lot of ´suck’ in my life as fuel to push on. Surrounding yourself with the negative can only make you develop a negative mindset. But, letting the negative in as motivation to value the positive can only make you develop a positive mindset. And by ´embracing the suck´, I found my self-worth and the idea that something amazing beyond the right now is waiting for me.

´Embracing the suck´ has become a staple in my life, and it should become a staple in yours. From experiencing the worst imaginable to simply spilling your coffee on your favorite white shirt in the morning, to embracing the suck is to take hold of the reigns to your life. By embracing the suck, you choose to not let the uncontrollables control you.

And in a world full of suck, uncontrollables are inevitable.

It doesn’t come easy. I still have those days where that dark cloud lingers over my head whispering words of doubt and darkness in my ear. But, it’s the choice to focus on the ten good days instead of the one bad one. It´s the choice to let those words of negativity breed perseverance and not pessimism. It’s the choice to have purpose and intent behind every step forward instead of sleepwalking, no matter the circumstances.

Make an active choice every day to occupy your space to the best of your ability. Make an active choice to make the most of your coordinates. Make an active choice to work for your ´why´. And most importantly, make an active choice every day to embrace the suck.

3 Comments

3 Responses to “Embrace the suck”

  1. Damon Smith on January 28th, 2021 9:11 pm

    Great job haylie.

  2. Bruce Guffey on January 29th, 2021 7:49 am

    Haylie! You are truly an amazing, gifted young woman. You are so smart and beautiful inside and out. Your Suck, as you refer to is like a Statue of Liberty over you in shining form. I am not the sharpest in your life, but I will always be there for you anytime day or night. I most likely will not be around to your SUCK in your life at the fullest, but it doesn’t mean that I won’t be watching. You are a force to reckon with. Keep on keeping on. Stay safe, strong. I know, I know you will go far down the road of life. Love ❤️ you more than you ever NO.

  3. Jaci Brown on January 29th, 2021 8:18 am

    Absolutely amazing Haylie! Your words speak so much volume.

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