Originally posted on December 31, 2018 at https://itsybitsyinklings.wordpress.com

       It’s been rainy and dismal in my part of Alabama for the whole month of December. I’m not much for the sun myself. My pale skin tends to burn easily. Some people call it alabaster; some say fish-belly-white (I’ve always hated that one); I prefer to liken my complexion to a moonbeam. No matter what you call it, it burns within five minutes of sun exposure. My skin’s objections to that great yellow orb aside, it sure would be nice to see it again. I might not want to get out and dance under it, but I could benefit from some natural light streaming through the windows.
       People tend to get cranky when there’s no sun for an extended period of time. Of course, there are lots of other reasons that people can be irritable as well — life happens — but I see a greater number of ill-tempered customers when the weather gets unpleasant for long periods of time. It doesn’t matter how pleasant you are to them, they are gruff and malcontent. For me, as someone who works in retail and has to put on that happy-to-help-you face despite the depression looming over me, this becomes a problem. Mental illness plays games with your mind. Although I know that the unhappy customer isn’t displeased because of anything that I have done, my brain tells me otherwise. It tells me that I’m no good at what I do. It tells me that people don’t like me. It tells me that I’m grotesque and that nobody should have to look at me. So, in turn, the more dissatisfied people I see, the more my negative thoughts feed and grow. So, how am I to get better, if I have to deal with all of these cranky people?
       The problem isn’t with my customers; it’s with my perception. It’s hard, but I have to remember that everyone has their own demons. They are fighting with theirs — no matter how seemingly small the demon — it doesn’t have any bearing on me. They’re just having a bad day. Most of the time, I probably go completely unnoticed by them. They are too busy waging their own wars to notice something as routine as a retail worker offering help. The chemical imbalance in my head can cause all kinds of chaos, if I let it, but there are ways to combat it. It takes a lot of work. It’s hard to remember to think rationally when my emotions are flaring. Just one unfriendly look can make me feel as though my world is crumbling sometimes. I’ve got the tools that I need for this battle though. I just have to remember to use them. Hopefully, the sun will come back out soon.
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