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The View from Hickeys World

Today sees the second instalment of “The View from Hickey’s World” a weekly blog every Wednesday here on Boyletoday.com. Today Tom writes about the need to remain positive….


People often say I’m very positive in my blogs. I try very hard to practice the same in my daily life, though it isn’t always easy, and the mask sometimes slips. That’s life. We deal with whatever is thrown at us and get on with our lives as best we can. Some days we react better than others. Other days we feel miserable and struggle to cope.

I spotted a friend of mine on Facebook early this morning just as I was thinking about going to bed, so I said hello. We spoke for around 40 minutes because her Christmas plans had just been thrown out of kilter. Her daughter needs corrective surgery, which means the whole family has to move country – yes, you read that right – for Christmas. My friend has been going through hell for years, and I’m sure she goes through contradictory emotions as she tries to lead a life that is one of constant disruption while she worries about her teenage daughter whose life has been one of endless operations, pain,  discomfort and dealing with facial disfigurement.

I can’t help my friend in any practical way, other than being a listening board while she talks. But I know it helps her a little. Here’s the strange thing. I met her just once in London, but we connected, and often have long chats on Facebook. She’s a fantastic woman and mother. If you think I’m special then this woman is extraordinary in how she keeps going, trying to be resilient, coping as best she can, dealing with the unexpected as if it’s a normal part of her life.

I wasn’t positive throughout my teenage years. I let every little setback affect me, allowed negativity take over and swamp my thoughts, so much so that I couldn’t entertain any hope. Even when something went right for me, like landing job, or just a day when I felt reasonably good about myself, I slipped back into self doubt and negativity. I was afraid to be positive for fear the feeling would not last. It never did because I had this ridiculous fear of failure, that I was useless, someone to be pitied.

By my late twenties I knew it was sink or swim – be positive about myself or allow negativity to consume me. And so the battle began. There were little victories and major setbacks along the road, but meeting Trish changed all that. She became my greatest ally, building up my confidence in so many ways. Together we managed to instil that confidence in me.

No matter what I try to look on the bright side. It’s little things, like the time I was paid a large bonus at Christmas and the fridge and cooker packed in the same week.  Goodbye money. As I said to Trish at the time  at least we had the money to buy new appliances. I applied for a job once and was full sure I’d get it, so much so that I was even checking out suitable houses. When the rejection letter arrived Trish expected me to be upset. Instead I said it wasn’t meant to be. A few weeks later I was promoted.

I don’t feel sorry for myself – not for my rather wonderful face and the years of operations and anguish, the daily humiliations, etc. Nope. Remember, Tom, others are going though much, much worse. Instead, I remain focused and positive. I have always encouraged my children to look on the bright side in life no matter the personal setbacks they suffer. What looks like a disaster today may look a lot less so in the cold light of tomorrow.

Most of my blogs are very positive. I laugh a bit at myself in them because you have to sometimes. Even the serious ones contain a message – that was me then but look at me now? Here I am able to write honestly about the good and bad in my life and not feel the slightest embarrassment. I’m comfortable in my own skin, but most of all I love life and having a positive frame of mind has helped enormously.

Tom Hickey is a former chief sub editor at the Irish Examiner. He was burned as a child and blogs about his life and facial disfigurement at hickeysworld.com Subjects he tackles include everything from travel to his family, and coping with facial disfigurement. His blogs are also published each Wednesday here on Boyletoday.com


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