Hi again, new blog!
So new and shiny. I’m having a lot of fun with this.
An update: I had a pretty awesomely productive week at work, thanks to working through some stuff. I decided that 1) I believe in the goodness and the work-ness of work, and 2) To Do lists are officially banished because they don’t work for me!
These were both pretty awesome realizations. I had an awesome moment where I could tell it had really sunk in, too: at the end of my day I was thisclose to goofing off on the internet for my last ten minutes, but I suddenly realized I didn’t want to! Because I must write a Monday WHAT and HOW list! (This is what my anti-To-Do list is called, the What and How list, and it must be updated daily for maximum effectiveness.)
Self-restraint? Is that you? Wow.
Okay, but then my day ended weirdly. Matter of fact, a shoe was thrown at me, as Havi says.
Picture me: the sweaty queue of the afternoon commute. Sun in my eyes. More tired than usual, due to my unusually productive week after nearly a year of stuckified zombieness. My unshowered mama ponytail, my Friday casuals, my menstrual headache. Picture the car next to me: two adolescent boys. Something awful and obscene is communicated, by unsubtle gesture and comically horrid phrase. And then they drove off.
My whole self went through a wrenching somersault of doom, lurching from hey-what-a-pretty-afternoon to oh-god-my-life-is-pathetic in two seconds flat.
Tonight, as I was thinking about writing about all this (the good week, and the bad commute) I went to Havi’s blog and read her original post on shoe-throwing, for the first time. It’s one of those things I had passed by a bunch of times, but never stopped to read. And in the post I recognized that yes, this is what happened to me! Exactly!
And funny enough, I seem to have progressed through the stages she mentions.
1) First, I sat in my car feeling ugly, old, stupid and worthless. Only someone so ugly and worthless is worth baiting with such disgusting “humor”. Why didn’t I think up a clever, humiliating reply? They never would have done this to an attractive human being. (“It’s all about me.”)
2) Just as quickly, I got angry at these damn kids (get off my lawn!) for being stupid, young and so worthlessly hedonistic that they would do such a thing to a stranger and laugh afterward. So angry, I am SO ANGRY. This is ALL THEIR FAULT and they are ruining my day completely and the world is a terrible place. (“It’s all about them.”)
3) A little ways down the road I took a few breaths and tried to focus on what I did know: the day is not ruined completely. And life is pretty good, you know? I mean, I’m trying to figure things out, but other things are going pretty okay. There is that sweet husband, that cute baby at home. My life is way more complex and interesting than one insulting moment. I don’t have to take that ugliness into the core of me. That’s not part of me. I’m the good parts. (“The consciously-working-on-my-stuff reaction.”)
4) Of course, I didn’t quite get to the “Advanced consciously-working-on-my-stuff” part where I laugh it off and engage lovingly with my self and my reactions and the world first, and skip the detour into the Pits of Doom. Or the impressive step #5 in which there is no spoon.
However, there was a serendipitous moment, another few miles down the road, when a random clip of Lady Gaga speaking at a concert came on NPR (I know! so random!) and all the adoring fans are screaming in adulation and the whole vibe is amped up and excited, and she says something like From this moment on, nothing matters, because you will be whoever you want to be, my little monsters!
And I cried a little bit, in happiness and release, and it felt good. I gave myself permission to feel good, and if it came from a cheesy and trite radio moment, oh well. Goodness just is. I can’t judge it.
I do want to learn how to engage consciously and lovingly with that heart-pounding, gut-churning moment when the anger rises up and tries to bring with it the self-recriminations and the ugly, sudden conviction that it’s all my fault. I don’t want someone else’s stuff to automatically turn into the thought, oh god, they’re right, I must have done something terrible to deserve this. THAT is one of those Really Big Things I’ve been struggling with for a very, very long time. It’s a relief to know I’ve climbed even a tiny bit out of it, even if it seems like there is ever so much more to conquer, you know?
Well, I’m working on it. I’m trying to get there.
This week, this day, this moment, I am incredibly grateful for the small and vital realizations that have come my way, and the way they have helped me go through the world feeling like I understand things just a tiny bit better. It’s hard to hang on to that tiny seed of goodness when ugly stuff rears its head, but I’m hanging on tight just now.