Quite Continental Charm School: Day 5 – The Bump

06/02/2013 § 12 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

QC Charm School: The BumpMrs. Donn F. Eisele during her husband’s trip on the Apollo 7 mission, 1968.
Photo by Vernon Merritt, via Life.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
— Haruki Murakami

Day 5: The Bump
Most times my Charm School entries are plucked from the vintage-imbued ether that tends to swirl about my brain, but there are special times that I find inspiration in what is happening in my own life, or from conversations my friends and family.  Today’s lesson is of the latter category.  When I recently experienced a personal setback unrelated to the blog, it impacted my “production schedule” and, frankly, my motivation and pleasure for writing.  Aside from a general malaise about blogging, I also was sailing upon troubled waters.  I was upset, I was angry, I was hurt, I was worried, and the tumult of these feelings lead to a sort of paralysis — almost like a state of emotional shock.

While I felt like all I wanted to do was to sit on my couch and wring my hands, I knew that the only way to improve my current state was to affirmatively affect the present — not wallow in the past, nor worry about the future — after I took time to honor and own the emotions I was experiencing.  While a lot of this was work I had to do on myself, personally, my lovely family, friends and colleagues also played an important part, offering me support, advice and assistance in many different forms.  They listened to me.  They checked in on me.  They spent time with me.  And as they showed that they cared for me in ways large and small, it helped me to feel stronger.  I felt more and more like I didn’t want to wring my hands.  I felt like I wanted to move forward, and that I had the ability to do so.

I was especially affected by the words of someone very special to me, when we were discussing the fact that I was upset that I didn’t even feel like blogging — something I’ve always taken a lot of pleasure in doing.  He assured me that what I was feeling was okay, and possibly even a good sign, because it showed how much I cared about producing something I was proud of.  He also pointed out that my blog was a reflection of my life, and that with a full life there were bound to be bumps, so the blog was bound to have bumps too.  That I had to deal with the bump, ride over it, and — truthfully — try to be ready for the next one, and that I should not take less joy out of blogging because of the bump, because I was learning about myself.  I was growing.

So for today’s lesson, I want us all to focus on making The Bump our friend.  Whatever troubles you might be facing, big or small, if you can find a way to look at them as opportunities for growth, I can guarantee that you will feel empowered to make the affirmative steps to take yourself up off that couch and to stop wringing your hands.  We are only a victim of our circumstances if we allow ourselves to be.  Rude as it may be, The Bump is there to remind us that it is time to change our perspective.  Let’s enjoy the ride as much as we can.

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

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§ 12 Responses to Quite Continental Charm School: Day 5 – The Bump

  • Sharon says:

    Love this: “We are only victims of our circumstances if we allow ourselves to be.” I’ve been there and felt all that, and with help and (eventually) boredom with being downhearted, climbed back up the hill. May your hill be a small one, and may the view from the top be glorious.

  • Mom says:

    Way to be, ‘Riah! You’re gonna make it after all!!!

    • Thanks, Mom. Not only did you honor us with a rare comment, but you also managed to sneak in my childhood nickname and a Mary Tyler Moore reference. (She’s a triple threat, ladies and gentlemen!)

      Love you,

  • Richard says:

    Dear Mariah,

    I read your blog (twitter et al), though not every day, but always find myself smiling when I do. Something in your words, your ways of thought (the ether they’re in), and the way you seem to carry them creates thoughts of better things, places, people….or maybe just the fact someone out there see’s beauty in things others miss (even when it’s blatantly there to see…), and not just the obvious.

    So I read this and hope, from experience of being in the same place of feelings, that you are finding some beauty in the simplest of things again, and reason for them to make even the darkest of moments sparkle a lilttle. Bumps happen, an unavoidable reality of life, but the bumps rarely kill us (even though at times it feels like they may!). Giving up however, does. So make this your ‘Ode to thy Bump’.

    If this new road/path/adjustment in life feels like a struggle, re-read your words in this post, and remember the bump was already losing as you were simply not willing to give up! Address the bump, remind it that it’s place is temporary and will be replaced soon with a better road, a more beautiful view, and more reasons to smile. Let the bump know you appreciate it helping you to find something new and better, and to not feel offended if you don’t keep in touch once you’ve parted ways. More than anything else, never lose hope or belief that better things will come, and find a reason to smile at the simplest of moments each day brings…however brief or silly they may be, that’s the true beauty of life.


    • Dear Richard,

      A million thanks for this, as it is one of the most touching comments I have ever received. Your thoughts are so comforting to me that while I may return to this post in the future, it will likely be to read your words, not mine. The act of blogging can at times be a bit like having a one-sided conversation. When the fourth wall is broken — and in such a thoughtful, heartfelt manner — it truly is the best part of it all, to be connected to lovely people I might not have otherwise known.

      Indeed, I am doing my best to navigate this old bump — and I hope you are well, wherever you are.

      Best wishes,

  • Gail Keefe says:

    I’m sorry you have experienced a Bump in life. It happens to all of us eventually, one way or another. The wonderful thing is that there are always lessons to be learned, and if we hang on and let it be, eventually we will come out on the other side with new energy and new ways to make life lovely again.


    • I completely agree Gail! When we are faced with challenges, there are always opportunities for growth — we just have to find and honor them. I hope all is well with you.

      Best wishes,

  • Richard says:

    Dearest Mariah,

    Last Attempt at the RIGHT youtube clip – See, this is becoming a memorable day already!

    I am glad my words may help make a day better for you.

    I am good, navigating my own bumps, some good, some bad, some so close together I’m not entirely sure which is which, but that is life. Part of the joy and the frustration, but also part of what makes it worth living and sometimes struggling through.

    As I said, the simplest things make it beautiful regardless. Right now I’m replying to you, Snow Patrol on the radio and my budgie singing along (prefer him to be honest!). How can that not be a reason to smile!?

    I am in London, where we have snow, though nowhere near as bad as the rest of the UK right now, or certain parts of the US. Something truly majestic about winter trees covered in snow…. (not sure my snowbound friends in the UK or US will agree with me right now!)

    I wish you a good day, with something profoundly beautiful in it to make it memorable. If nothing else, this may make you laugh (loudly). Something from the Sundance 2013 Shorts

    As for words, feel free to say hello anytime that you want. It is always good to meet someone new, across a pond, but as close as a keyboards caress.


  • […] with updated lessons in Charm School. This year she does not disappoint and I particularly liked day 5 “The Bump”. She […]

  • Erin says:

    You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’
    Eleanor Roosevelt

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