So, I have often heard this phrase,
“It is what it is.”
What does that even mean?
Honestly, is it ever what it is?
Usually it is what it isn’t, unless it isn’t what it is. Or maybe it just seemed like it was something else, but in the end really end up being what it was.
Also, I am just not the kind of person who can accept “it” for what everyone thinks or expects “it is.”
I like to think that “it” has infinite possibilities.
My life has been a succession of things that turned out to be different from “what is,” (sometimes to my cries of anguish and shock, sometimes to my pleasure and surprise), so I guess that’s why I don’t understand this very well.
Perhaps I should, at some point, stop to reflect before going headlong into changing what is. Sometimes I think I do it for the sole purpose of being contrary to the universe.
I almost can’t help it. I am a sassy pants, after all.
I seem to have a soft spot for all creatures great and small. I remember when my adopted daughter brought with her a sugar glider. These are little marsupial creatures from Australia, and they can actually glide the length of a football field. Think flying squirrel but cuter and with a pouch like a kangaroo.
They terrify me and I am not what you would call an “animal person,” although I love them, will advocate for their right to be treated humanely, and love them. But, some of them really do make me nervous. Like raccoons.
But, I saw that this little creature was in way too small of a cage. I looked up information on these little animals, and found that the pet shops and breeders were recommending these tiny cages and a diet that I thought was probably not fit for them. Most people would feel sorry for these little guys and then say,
“It is what it is.”
But, I just couldn’t.
I researched, read the latest studies in scholarly journals, and started an educational website with my daughter, offering free online classes in sugar glider husbandry.
In this effort, I also taught my daughter how to do web design, write online classes, use social media for education (we utilized an open source software made for colleges to do our classes), taught her how to do reputable research, taught her how to use Adobe Photoshop, and got her a digital camera so she could take pictures of her sugar gliders (which were published in textbooks and a children’s book about sugar gliders).
The gist of our message was that sugar gliders should not be pets, but if they were, they should be treated humanely, which is very costly.
I ended up being consulted by rehabbers and scientists from Australia (some with PhDs!), my courses were featured in vet tech textbooks across the nation, I was referenced as a primary expert at vet conferences, and I got several communities to pass laws to not allow sugar gliders as pets, and put several bad breeders out of business.
My daughter, incidentally, was able to get a great job at BYU-Idaho editing online college courses because of her experience, and now has an even better job on campus because of her experience gained by this little side venture because I just don’t like “it is what it is.”
It can be anything at all–if I think it’s just being accepted “because it is what it is” I like to see what I can do to shake it up. Mostly just for fun.
In the interest of full disclosure, she also brought with her a crazy Siamese cat that didn’t get along with me. That cat had serious issues. He hissed at me and tried to scratch and bite me. Did I accept that? No. That cat got time out (for about 2 minutes), and then I would patiently explain (from a distance) that behavior of that nature would not be tolerated and that we WOULD learn to coexist peacefully, even if he had to fake it. I would always end with a prayer.
It took about 3 weeks, but we finally came to an understanding of mutual tolerance.
Whenever I am faced with anything, it always seems like I am looking out for an established “status quo” that I can change.
It just makes life more interesting.
Formal dining room? Ha! That’s a schoolroom if ever seen one.
No Vietnamese sandwich shops in the entire state? That’s okay. I can learn how to make my own. Can’t find the ingredients? That’s okay. There is always Amazon.
It’s going to snow again and the children are missing the sun and sea (and also climbing the walls)? Not to fear. Nothing like a quick dip in the master bathtub in their bathing suits and goggles.
(I am not kidding.)
Not enough snowpants to go outside and play, the kids say to me?
“Don’t worry–borrow mine!”
“Mom, they are plus size!”
“That’s okay, it says one size fits most…you can just wear a belt with them. Or wear your coat underneath the pants–that should give them more padding.” Looking down at myself, I realized she would have to wear a jacket, a coat, and three parkas to make it fit.
But at least it isn’t what it is, or something. And she had snow pants.
Life giving me lemons? Well, lemonade is alright but that just “is what it is”. When life gives me lemons, I make Cranberry Lemon Infused Water Punch.
So, a week or so ago that doctor is telling me about how long I am going to be on narcotics, and I am looking at him, nodding, but in my head I am thinking,
That’s what you think. I am so not doing that.
And when he is saying that I can expect three more weeks of not being able to hear out of my right ear, I am thinking,
That is not how it’s going to go down. I have been away from my children enough. This just isn’t what it’s going to be.
And when I realize that when he said my pain would be some of the worst pain anyone can have in recovering, I just tut-tutted him like an Old Mother Hen.
And then I came home and realized that some things really are what they are and we can’t change them.
Oh, I tried.
I tried getting up and walking to the kitchen.
Tried taking a shower and fell on my face. In front of the mirror–so I got to see me in all my glory. For several minutes. Traumatizing.
Tried reducing my pain medication too soon. Bad idea.
Tried forcing my ear to listen to sounds. Ended up in bed with nausea and zofran and pain.
Tried a number of wheedling, pleading, negotiating prayers in the midst of midnight agonies.
I attempted to think maybe running away might help. And then I learned something.
I still didn’t have to accept that “it is what it is,” because I remembered that no matter what happened, I could change my attitude.
I could change the way I felt about things. And I was doing it! I am still successful at being contrary to the universe!!!
First, when I fell on my face, I really did have to laugh. I was shaking and crying, but I was laughing. It was actually funny, and I wasn’t hurt.
In the midst of wheedling, cajoling, negotiating prayers, the Spirit was very frank in saying that I knew better, and we kind of had a good laugh, because they were such half-hearted prayers. He then told me what to ask for instead and that turned out a lot better.
So, sometimes it really does seem like some things are what they are, but we can always find a way to get through with help from God and a sassy pants attitude.
And, boy, it makes things a lot more bearable…and sometimes, fun.
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