…I thought it was impossible until I did it.
Too often, life becomes one big pile of mush. We lose ourselves to what others want for us or we spend our life trying to live up to another’s expectations. All this does is leave us empty and bruised.
This is an exercise for every woman. I call it the “I Am Who I Am” exercise.
All you need is a piece of paper. Don’t edit your thoughts. Simply write down what comes out first. Don’t think, do.
“I am who I am. You cannot change me.
I am __________________, ______________________, ____________, __________ and ________________.
I love to __________________ and ____________________.
I despise _______________ and ______________.
It is my mission to _______________ _______ _________________.
I will never rest until I ______________________.”
That’s it. I am. You are. Enough.
Be true. To you.
We’ve arrived at a place in time where everyone has something. ADD. OCD. Asperger’s Syndrome. Depression. Personality Disorder. SAD. The list is endless. And while treatment for mental illness is still not mainstream, we mention the labels flippantly and often.
My Dad suffered from severe depression for over 3 decades. He visited countless counselors and therapists, pastors, and MD’s. He contemplated suicide. He mused about moving and living alone in the Colorado rockies. He joined Writer’s Groups. He was a tortured spirit. He lived woefully and painfully for most of his adult life in the depths of his own mind from which he could get no relief. I couldn’t help him. No one could.
Last weekend Dennis and I had one of those fights that came out of nowhere and blindsided us both. It was Sunday afternoon and we were taking a leisurely drive talking about our goals when suddenly everything went south. (I’m sure it had something to do with money, but now 4 days later even that important detail of what the fight was really about escapes me.)
You know the kind of south I’m talking about. The kind that makes you want to screech the tires and slam doors. The kind of mad that makes you want to get away from the person causing you pain as fast as possible.
I was driving.
As our argument got more heated, I headed the car for home. We continued the tit for tat groveling into the house. The decibel of the fighting got worse and Dennis (who never does this, it’s only the 2nd time in 30 years of marriage), said “I’m gonna leave.” He grabbed his car keys and headed out the door.
I was glad. I couldn’t wait for him to get out the door.
Stunned, and not sure what had really just happened, I loaded the dishwasher and slowly wiped the counter.
Then, I loaded the washer.
I switched on my Adele CD and joined in her croon “I Could’ve Had It All.”
I grabbed my Pledge and dustrag and violently attacked the furniture.
I wiped down window shades filled with dust that hadn’t been hit in 6 months.
I pumped the Windex onto the TV’s that were covered with an invisible black film.
I wrangled with the sheets and made the bed.
Nothing could stop me. I was like a mad woman attacking my anger like some housecleaner Hercules.
That lasted for about 15 minutes.
With my back to the bedroom door, I didn’t even hear Dennis re-enter the house and then the bedroom. I was too busy letting the tears stream down my face as I sprayed more Windex and mopped gunk off the bedroom TV. He was within 1 foot of me and the TV when I finally noticed his presence. And then I turned around, locked eyes with him and fell into his arms.
We embraced for what seemed like a very long time. Adele kept on singing her lusty soul tunes.
We kissed. Said I’m sorry. Made-up. (I’ll let you fill in the details on this one.)
And for that, I’m very, very glad.
When you’re in love, fighting is inevitable. I don’t advocate fighting nor do we do very much of it.
But sometimes a good fight is the cleansing agent that paves the way to greater understanding.
It’s what you do with your anger that counts. Holding it inside is the absolute worst thing you can do. It’s toxic.
It’s okay to get mad. It’s okay to be furious. And occasionally, it’s even okay to leave to just put some space between the anger and yourselves.
There are good things to do with anger, and there are some very bad things. Here’s 5 really good things to do when you’re angry. They may seem silly, but they provide a good bridge until you can get to the other side again.
5 Really Good Things To Do When You’re Angry
#1. Clean the house. Turn yourself into a whirlwind. Attack the toilet. Scrub holes in the kitchen floor if you have to.
#2. Hop on the treadmill. Pound it out. Increase the level or the speed and put your fight into the machine, not each other. The other alternative to this is taking a walk.
#3. Sob it out in the shower. Cry yourself dry. Then, with your hair still wrapped in the towel, take a nap.
#4. Call a friend and rant to your heart’s content. Do not, I repeat, do not call your family. Friends can usually get over your spouse’s supposed shortcomings, family cannot.
#5. Organize just about anything. Your closet. Your junk drawer. The entire garage or house if you’ve got that much anger. Then just make sure to get rid of the stuff you’ve purged immediately before you can cool entirely down.
Hopping on the treadmill and taking a walk are two different things. Dennis is a take-a-walk kind of guy. He actually went out to sit by the lake while we were fighting and didn’t really ever leave at all. I’m more of a hop on the treadmill kind of woman. I can pound out my frustration on the machine.
But the best thing of all to do when you’re angry is this…make-up. Mingle your tears and hug it out. Say you’re sorry. Begin again. Because of all the things worth fighting for in this crazy mixed-up world…love is the most important thing of all.
“The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.”
-Charles W. Chesnutt
This week has been a week of reflection for me. As you know from one of my earlier posts, my best friend Terri’s father-in-law died on Monday night. The service to honor his life isn’t until Saturday.
I’ve written the funeral program.
We’ve made all the copies.
The food has been ordered for the dinner after the service.
The music that’s being played during the Visitation is being downloaded and burnt onto CD as we speak.
I’ve hugged his grieving wife.
I’ve prayed for comfort for the family.
And still, I can’t figure out why this one’s hitting me so hard. This one should be like a friend-of-a-friend, not a family member.
Is it because my Dad’s been gone for a little over two years and I miss him dearly? Is it because as I watch this generation go to their final resing place I know that I’m next?
All this reflecting has made me more than a wee bit sentimental. I find myself tearing up at weird times and in weird places. The UPS Store, for instance.
This week has been a grand opportunity for me to let Terri know how much she means to me. She’s the friend I sat next to in 9th grade Social Studies class and ate pizza and pumpkin pie with at overnights at her house. The one who never took her make-up off but never got a zit. She’s the one who shows up when I’m in a bind no matter what’s she’s got going or how inconvenient it is for her.
She’s the one who holds my heart.
She’s been touching my life for the last 35 years. We’ve had 6 babies collectively, married 2 amazing guys, each run our own businesses, leaned on each other through numerous ‘child’ crises, celebrated at our children’s weddings and now we’re watching each other’s grandchildren grow up. We’ve fallen apart and gotten back up, together.
Time has been our friend. Terri has been the continuous thread of my life. She shows up. She listens. She never judges. And she always tells me the truth, even when I would rather not hear it.
That is how you really touch someone’s life. You show up. You listen. You tell the truth and you leave the judging for God.
And it’s not done through an email or on facebook. Touching someone’s life for real takes being there, in person. For the good times and the bad. At weddings, but as Rudy Guilliani wrote in his book “Leadership”, especially at funerals.
“There isn’t a person anywhere who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can.” -Henry Ford
Am I making good choices? Was the 4.2 pounds I lost last week a fluke? How long will this journey really take?
Just asking that last question shows me I haven’t made the shift into lifestyle. I will need to eat healthy for the rest of my life if I want it to last…not simply until I get to the goal weight. Isn’t this how most of us approach our lives…when I get through this next thing, when I overcome this trial, when life eases up.
Perhaps that’s one of the keys to a good life…knowing that all of life matters and it’s the daily choices that make the biggest difference in our results.
Daily Recollections:Doing so well the first week is both an inspiration and a curse. I know I can do this…that I’m capable of curbing my cravings and making better choices and I also know that I’ve been blessed with a body that responds to doing the right things. I know others aren’t as lucky. However, being successful in the 1st week seems to put extra pressure on my psyche.