Friday, October 5, 2007

Just walk away, Renee

[We are NOT talking about baseball. Not. talking.]

Oh, it was a day. Not an all-bad day, certainly. The sun shone, birds sang, I got out for a walk, I ate healthfully for lunch (and breakfast!), good work was accomplished, productive meetings were had, nothing tragic happened within the immediate circle of my family and friends.

But still, there was that black spot. That ugly hole where the *thing* that happened, the interchange, the personal politics, the drama about a particular issue -- which, in and of itself I may have been able to negotiate painlessly -- that managed to connect itself with heavy, poison tentacles to some of my own darkest baggage. That's the whole thing -- you know? -- the problem. It's that each of us has those hardwired, well-defined connections that make what seems to all the rest of the world like an innocent enough, stupid enough *thing* and make it into the stuff of horribleness. Of anger and frustration and hopelessness (depending on just how low you can go). And the thing about it is that only WE can see those connections in ourselves. Only we know how it went from Point A to Point B wherein Point B has us boiling over and those around us can't understand how that happened. "Why are you so upset? It's no big deal." Well, sure, not for YOU, because you aren't wired the way I am. Your buttons didn't get pushed, but mine did. [No, Ken, this honestly has nothing to do with you -- you were away, remember? Not anything about you!]

I'm the kind of person about whom other people regularly make the mistaken assumption that I "never get angry." I don't wear it on my sleeve, for sure. But when I'm ready to blow I just walk away -- that's the danger signal with me. And because people don't even expect THAT of me, it turns out to be a lot more powerful than, say, the verbal explosion other people may employ. Not saying that's good or bad. Just saying.

So yesterday I had to walk away. And now I'm trying to just keep walking -- to leave my anger behind me and wrap back up that ugly, scary baggage and leave it alone in the dark again. When I worked in Boston (and had an hour's commute each way), after a bad day I would employ the image of a spool of thread. I would imagine that all the stuff at work was thread wrapped around this spool. And I would hold the spool with me, in my mind, and leave the start of the thread tied there in Boston, and let the thread run off the spool as I drove home, so that by the time I got out of the car I had just this lovely, wooden (of course!), empty spool and I'd left all the stuff behind me.

How was your day?

As I took my walk, after walking away, I thought about how to process this thing, this time, and I thought, "can I work this out through my art?" And then I thought, "what art?" And I laughed. Then I thought a little more and I came to the realization that whatever it may be that I may call "my art," and whenever it may be that I have time to do it, I won't be working out my anger that way. I can see working through those feelings of coming OUT of the bad stuff (I have this image, this feeling when you are in deep water -- after having jumped feet-first into the deep end of a pool, say -- and you are reaching up for the top -- up, up, up -- and you know it will be there yet you're a little bit panicked [I do need to BREATHE now!] but finally you break through the surface and that first hungry breath is so reassuring and delicious). THAT I could work with. But for me, I don't want to mix in my worst with the things I enjoy doing the most. Does that make sense?

Hey -- I'm feeling better already!

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