When I was in high school and involved with theatre (you spell it with an “re” at the end if you actually did it…it makes you snobbier), and people would tell me “good luck,” I’d do the inevitable and tell them that it’s better to tell me to break a leg.  Then my senior year when I finally did have the luck of landing a lead spot in a play, I fell coming down the second story of a set and twisted my ankle so badly that it was injured for years.

I stopped using the “break a leg” phrase after that.

It’s no secret that I haven’t been happy lately.  And primarily, I think it’s because I have been having a streak of bad luck.  Or maybe a streak of no luck.  Some say that I need to look harder at my life and examine all the good things I have.  And I do that…and I recognize the myriad of blessings that have come my way.  But lately, all I can seem to focus on is the lacking and not the liking.

Last night, as I struggled to fall asleep, I caught a program on PBS about mental illness.  They talked about how there’s a difference between afflictions that affect your thinking versus those that affect your mood.  But they also talked about how one can affect the other.  And what was of the utmost interest to me, was that the researchers were actually people living with the mental illnesses they researched.  Who better to do the job, right?

But it got me thinking, what part of this tropical mood depression that I’ve been experiencing on and off (mostly on) for the past two years (and so many times before this) has affected my thinking versus my mood?  And where do the two interact?

So what does luck have to do with this?  Well, I’ve been blaming a lot of my bad feelings on a lack of luck.  No calls about jobs I’ve applied for.  No baby wandering about in my uterus.  Still no luck understanding statistics.  And maybe what I call “luck” you call something else, but in any event it just hasn’t been clicking.

I called this blog Perfectly Cursed Life because I truly believe that’s what I lead.  Blessings are easy to identify and appreciate, but the curses, which probably shape us more than the blessings, are usually left unloved.  Maybe what I’m going through right now is just one of those Perfectly Cursed Times.  Maybe I’ll come out on the other side a better person.  Maybe my luck will change.

It has to, right?

In the meantime, I walked outside today to get in my car and noticed a cat laying in my lawn.  Now, this isn’t too abnormal as we have some neighborhood cats.  But this one wasn’t one of my familiar crew.  It was a black cat. I crossed it’s path.  I might as well have walked under a ladder, broken a mirror and spilled some salt along the way.  The black cat is the number one signal of bad luck.

But really, at this point, I’m beginning to think things are different than I feel they may be.  Maybe crossing this cat’s path was a symbol of the good stuff about to come my way.  Maybe it was a kick in the pants to get me to realize the things that I already have.  Or maybe, just maybe, it was a reminder that, to a certain degree, I have to make my own luck.

Of course, maybe it was horribly bad luck…but I’m used to that.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachelnotrebecca June 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

In other cultures black cats are good luck! (At the animal shelter where my dad volunteers, they have trouble adopting out black cats AND black dogs because of the “unlucky” stigma). My all black cat is the sweetest cat ever, so I'm going to declare that the cat you saw was also good luck.

I am with you on trying really hard to believe that luck will change, that things will be okay, and that all of this bad luck/bad mood/bad whatever is happening for a reason. Some days, it's definitely harder to believe that than others, but it makes the days when you just are able to hope feel really nice.

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Jane June 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I don't know what to say, except that “tropical mood depression” is beautiful writing. I read a book about cognitive behavioral therapy and depression that changed my life several years ago. I still struggle… I think there's a genetic component or at the very least something wrong with the wiring in my brain… But I do really feel that the thought patterns make a difference. And sometimes it helps to deconstruct those thoughts to figure out whether or not they really make sense.

Much love to you.

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magnolia June 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm

i try not to pay too much attention to superstition and things like that; i find that they just feed back into whatever little bad thoughts i have and magnify them artificially to the point where it causes trouble. my goal in getting through the day is, to quote the classic film “what about bob?”, is baby steps. baby steps to the door, baby steps down the hall, etc., etc., etc. i try not to dwell on luck. it tends to trick me into thinking about these things all wrong…

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Anna Walker June 23, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I totally understand what you mean about having a hard time counting your blessings…sometimes I know in my head that I should be doing it but the chemicals in my brain are sending signals that say “Life Sucks!” and it's hard to beat neurotransmitters…

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