Staring Down the Storm

The other day, my brother posted something ominous on Facebook. One of those “something isn’t quite right” posts. So I reached out to him over email and asked what’s going on.

A lot of no good, that’s what. I won’t go into details, but basically he’s dealing with his own shitstorm.

And I know a thing or two about shitstorms, amiright? Like a good sibling, I offered up my version of a pep talk.

ME: So often in the past few years, I’ve had to remind myself that we don’t pick the challenges we face in life. But we do decide how we’ll get through them. So I guess the question is, how do you want to get through this? This isn’t a question that you need to answer for me. More like a question I ask myself all the time (it seems like) and helps me refocus.

BRO: I choose to think of what is happening to me right now like living through a hurricane. You hunker down and wait for sunny skies.

My first reaction was “Wrong answer.” Amended to “Wrong answer for me. I need to scream into the storm.”

The trouble is that when you treat your life as a hurricane you assume that the hard stuff is temporary. That what you’re going through will pass. What if it doesn’t? What if these proverbial sunny skies don’t actually materialize?

Is this how we divide up the world? Into hunker-downers and storm-screamers? I don’t mean to imply one is inherently better than the other. My brother, for example, wouldn’t find my tactics of facing my trauma head on remotely do-able. Honestly, it would likely be more harmful to him. Just like for me, the hunker down method would probably deaden me inside. (Dramatic, but also accurate.)

There is, of course, a value to conserving emotional energy. I know now that I sometimes need help, to admit I can’t do “ALL THE THINGS.” This has been one of the many painful lessons I’ve learned. But there is a part of me that feels my brother is being naive in thinking that it will get better.

Does this make me a jaded asshole?



  1. My Perfect Breakdown · November 5, 2015

    I think this means you know yourself very well. Your approach to a storm works best for you, just as his approach works best for him. I guess, that’s what makes us all unique as people, we all need to work through our storms in our own way. But,what makes you amazing is that you seem to understand and respect that your ways are different. At least that’s my sense of what you wrote.
    Also, wishing your brother the best as he hunkers down and waits and hopes for the storm to pass.

    • thecommonostrich · November 6, 2015

      This comment was just what I needed. I DO know myself. I’m not a hunker-downer! (That’s a word, really.)

      Sometimes I feel like I’m slowly waking up from a fog. Trying to find who I am now vs. the person I used to be.

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