“The strongest quality I’m looking for in someone is resilience.”

Stated the straight-faced attractive man asking the questions during my first pre-graduation job interview for post-graduation. I shivered.

Knowing what I know now, I should have run for the hills. But isn’t that always the case? If I knew then… [in this case: that I’d come home miserable daily from working 14-16 straight hours of unimaginable predicaments, I’d say ‘see ya later alligator!’] In this specific job, someone once yelled at me that I wasn’t “an American!” because I wouldn’t let him open the sealed case to a camera battery before he bought it, solely handling the store-wide power outage of 80,000 sq. feet of space during the first night of spring break the first night I closed on my own, answering to the infuriated 500+ lb. woman angry at my security guard for not letting her get dropped off in the fire lane because of her handicap since she couldn’t park and make the walk, even though an ambulance was pulling in that spot to rescue the woman who’s having a seizure in the cafeteria (then the angry lady proceeded to walk the store floor for 2 hours following), refuting ‘hotline’ calls accusing me of words I will not mention, being confronted by shoplifters, repeatedly having to lock the doors from the outside around 12am by myself and proceeding to walk to my car in the outskirts of the parkinglot. The list could go on. My boss and I joked about starting a reality show called So You Want to be in Retail…

Come to find out I, in fact, did not have that resiliency.

But that’s not the resiliency I refer to now. I’ve seen this word come up a lot lately in many messages and emails I’ve been receiving from readers, commending myresiliency. I’ve come to learn that this characteristic, in my case, is not natural. It’s not something I was innately blessed with, and it’s surely not something I’ve taken on easily.

By definition, resiliency means ‘able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.’ Take out the word quickly, and yes, I do proudly obtain that characteristic now. But, if it wasn’t for those difficult conditions, I would have never been able to recover.

It’s a quality that I believe many people figure out on their own, in their own difficult conditions, their own situations. Obviously, from little to serious matters. The bounce-back time of recovery all depends. Remember when I talked about ‘choosing me’? Making the choice. This was the initial step towards resiliency.

That choice comes, but it takes time. Time needs to be spent consoling. Time needs to be spent crying and feeling sorry for yourself. It’s time well-spent. But it’s only well-spent time once you make the choice to leave it behind. Leave it behind and bounce back. Rise above, attain energy. Refuse to be pushed down and stepped on.

I think when these ‘difficult conditions’ become apparent in one’s life, a natural reaction is anger. In my case, anger was an understatement. I have said before that over time my anger has evolved into gratefulness, but that’s not to say there’s still that tiny flame of madness lit deep inside me. Little reminders of what happened keep me from giving in…Giving in to the inner debate of if I did or didn’t do the right thing by filing for divorce. Something I used to think about by the minute has dissipated into the abyss of conscientiousness. I accredit that choice to choose me, and the refusal to be stepped on, to that lingering feeling of anger. My hope is that over time, God can help me pinch out that simmering wick, and still obtain my resiliency.

Oh, and that retail job? Lasted 7 months. I’d never been so happy to get rid of those clothes. Red and khaki were never my colors.


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