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An amazingly sucky day!

Thursday, June 04, 2009


Have you ever had the experience of making some grand statement, and then having the Master of the Universe chuckle at you as the shit hits the fan? That's what happened to me today. Here I am, rolling along, telling myself all these wonderful stories about the energy drains in my life (read that post here), feeling better about most everything, even smiling at my neighbor's ever more extravagant collection of junk cars and debris... thinking I have at least one of the answers to life's big questions, when BAM!

First thing that happens is I hurt my sister's feelings. I really didn't want to do that, and couldn't figure out how to fix it, and naturally something like that happens when I'm 5 minutes late for work so there's no time to really do anything or say anything to make it better. And I wander into work, trying to reframe my story about how I am an insensitve rude and relentless bitch... not coming up with much... all I could think of was "WOW, I suck!" And that thought was making me tired and cranky... as you can well imagine.

So, I walk into work and show up at the tail end of a huge shit fit, an actual temper tantrum being thrown by the most difficult person at work whom I do actually love and appreciate EXCEPT for when she acts like that. The other person at work (there's only the three of us) is deep into her own unhappy reaction to the screaming and carrying on, and now I'm thinking... "Wow, not only do I suck but you guys do to!!"

Not a great start, not by a long shot. And I'm trying really hard to reframe my story about how I suck and they suck and my life sucks and the dogs suck and everything pretty much sucks, and not coming up with anything at all that sounds true, has a happy ending, or even makes me almost smile. In fact, an amazing amount of self recrimination came into my mind instead, and I could feel myself slipping into that downward spiral of defeatism and depression. It had the makings of a real funk, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull myself out of it or not.

Then, having dumped her bad mood on us, my boss got all cheered up and started talking about how fun it would be if we signed up to be in a 4th of July parade. And my heart just sank. I'd rather have a root canal, walk on glass, or eat dirt. And here I was feeling all this pressure to foster her happy mood by saying "yes when what I really wanted to do was say "no."

Now, after the fact, I realize that this all sounds like a tempest in a teapot, but in the moment there was angst and agony. So I bathed dogs and trudged through my day, all the while trying to ferret out what it was exactly that I was telling Shirley, wondering why I was feeling so much anxiety, and at the same time trying to come up with something different, and better to say to myself. And finally (7 hours later) I decided that:

  • it was an amazingly sucky day,
  • the planets must be in some wierd alignment,
  • I'd feel better about everything once I got home,
  • and best of all that it wasn't me that sucked it was the day.

Then, I decided that I could just say "no" to the parade and let the chips fall where they may.

And so how did the rest of the day go? I'd like to report that I immediately felt my spirits lift, and that the day was just peachy after that, but the truth is that while my energy lifted a little, I did have to keep reminding myself that it was the day that sucked and not me.

And the lesson is?

  1. It's way easier to reframe a story about something that doesn't hold a strong emotional charge.
  2. Changing what you say to yourself can be exceedingly difficult, but if you keep working at it, eventually you'll come up with something.
  3. This too shall pass.
  4. I do not suck and neither do you.


Cindy H said...

Yesterday I was in the car thinking about the prosperity project and Shirley's AHA moment, and life in general and in the meantime I popped an old Carly Simon CD in the player that I haven't listened to in a really long time. Several songs into the CD, which had been playing in the "background of my mind" as I thought about other things, I all of the sudden heard these words in one of the songs, "You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart. And people are gonna treat you better, you know they will, yes they will, because you're beautiful as you feel.

Well that about sums it up, doesn't it? I had to laugh out loud and then smiled the rest of the way home!

So, Shirley, the next time your day starts to suck and you are having trouble reframing things, remember Carly's song and show the world all the love in your heart!

Two Feathers said...

"you're beautiful as you feel" - yes!

And this brought to my mind something about my grandmother that I've never forgotten. She was an amazingly scary and tough old lady, and I didn't know her very well because we lived in South America for most of my life with occaisional visits every 5 years.

When I was 4 years old, I stayed with her and my Aunt and her family for about a month. I hadn't yet learned to be shy and nervous around people I didn't know, and it didn't take long for me to feel really comfortable. I think it was the first time ever that I could really be MYSELF and it would OK with the people around me. Nothing I said or did shocked or dismayed anyone. It really felt safe.

And one sunday we were getting ready for church and I had a pouty fit about what Granny Kitchens was making me wear and she said... "pretty is as pretty does so it don't matter what you got on."

I don't know why, but that statement made a huge impression on me. It's like I GOT it, in the moment - it's not how you look but what you do that counts, and while that AHA! moment wore off eventually, it always stuck with me, and now I've been able to add to it:

It's not about how you look, and while what you do is important, more important is how you feel.

So... I might be off topic and rambling, and this might not even make any sense at all... but thank you so much for reminding me of my Grandmother - and her strong spirit - and how good it felt to be myself without anyone trying to mold me into something different - and how comforting and good it felt to be part of a large extended family if even for just a few weeks...

Wow. Thank you Cindy!!

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