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Weighing in on LEANING IN.

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Sheryl Sandberg is causing quite a commotion! And it has brought some fire to the dreary month of March that I am appreciating. Are you talking with all your people about Lean In and all the articles and conversations that have sprung from it? I am. Just yesterday I had lunch with a pal and we talked about Lean-In stuff the entire time. Last night before bed, my husband and I pillow talked about it, and I believe it was the third night in a row that has happened —  so I am going to weigh-in on this Leaning-In conversation here on the old blog for a minute. Now, A LOT has been said on this subject by the likes of brilliant women such as Katie Roiphe, Stephanie Coontz, Anna Holmes, Jodi Kantor and Maureen Dowd —  I am a small fish here. And, I am NOT hating anyone. I think everyone’s ideas and opinions are awesome and I am so grateful for them. AND I haven’t read Sandberg’s book yet, so — with those things being said, here I go.

(NOTE: There was once a study at Harvard that said in the classrooms, women tended to preface their statements by saying, “This might sound stupid but,” or “I could be wrong but,” and the men just said what they had to say without apology. I realize that I just did that. Not very Leaning-In of me.)

One: Haven’t I (or, we as women) always been Leaning In? When I hear Ms. Sandberg talking (on 60 Minutes, blogs, TED, Katie Couric, etc) I start to feel badly about myself, like I haven’t been Leaning In enough. Why? I think it’s because I am not a Billionaire. Really. I think it’s money. (I love it when people are super rich, especially women, so don’t take this the wrong way here.) In lower school, when I was struggling to make it through English class, trying and trying to keep up to pass — wasn’t I, Leaning In? In High School, when I worked at the ice cream shop during the summer – just one of the soda jerks (not the CEO) – wasn’t that Leaning In? Wasn’t it Leaning In to apply to colleges? Wasn’t it Leaning In to try to make friendships and have boyfriends and join acting companies and work at the video store? (Again, just working there, not running the joint.) I spent a lot of time navigating more boyfriends and auditioning for 100 movies (that I didn’t get) — the entire time I felt I was Leaning In. I felt I was Leaning In when I got married (before I was “successful”). I felt I was Leaning In when I had babies and brought them to the set with me (I was the 11th banana on a TV show, so it’s not like they built me a nursery — I basically passed the kid to a grip when I had to shoot.) I felt like I was Leaning In when I went with my ex-husband to Ohio so he could further his career. I was Leaning IN!! Then I wrote books and I Leaned-Into them. My point is, aren’t we all Leaning In all the time? The only difference I can see between me and Sandberg is that I didn’t make a TON of money for myself and my family, and because that is true, I now feel  like I haven’t Leaned-In far enough. I think that is part of why some women are writing critical essays about Sandberg — they feel they have Leaned-way-the-fuck-In, but the fact is they don’t have a billion dollars to back it up.

Two: On the 50/50 household work spilt with husbands and wives. Slay me if you must, but I think that is rare. Sandberg says the only way to be really successful is if you “get it right” with finding a husband who can do 1/2 of the household stuff. I am not saying that wouldn’t be great, and apparently there are studies that show that if you both chip in 50%, the kids turn out better. But here is the thing, I looked at a list of all-the-house-hold-jobs-that-you-are-supposed-to-split recently published on a big site like The Atlantic or something smart like that —  and guess what?  My husband doesn’t even do 70%.  Did I get it wrong with him? Is that why I am not a billionaire chief operating officer? I think not. My father washed the dishes every night, he cleans the cat litter and does a few other tasks —  that is a good showing — but it’s not 50%, not even close. My mother did SO MUCH and she had a full-time job. She leaned way WAY in, but she’s not a billionaire so I wonder if it counts? (Mom — it totally counts, you rock.)

Maybe this conversation is for women in their 20’s? I don’t get what I am supposed to do with it at 43? Say, “Hey Peter, you schedule the piano lesson– okay bud?!?” Maybe actually, this conversation should start in 3rd grade — but I went to all girls schools my whole life where they chanted, “You are just as smart, just as powerful, just as strong, and have just as good leadership skills! You CAN DO IT!! LEAN IN!!!” They may not have yelled “LEAN IN” but they might as well have. And you know, they were wrong. I leaned In and In and In, but mostly found that life is pretty sexist, men get paid more money, they get listened to instantly even if they are saying something thoughtless, and my wonderful male friends barely do any housework while their working, brilliant wives (or actually not, most of them stopped working to raise children even though they received had law degrees and clerked for Supreme Court justices) do most. And now as an adult I find, that after thinking I was Leaning In, and becoming sort of successful, I don’t feel like I really have because I haven’t made a billion bucks like Sheryl Sandberg, bless her. It’s not that we all haven’t Leaned In, it’s that we are not billionaires.

Isn’t it that the world that’s broken, not us women? Some other smart-woman-writer wrote that too recently. Who is supposed to be Leaning In here? Us or them?

I have a friend who I ask a lot of advice of. He usually responds, “Lean into it with love.” Maybe that is the kind of Leaning-In I should be focusing on.

Although it is fun to think about all this other stuff.

Xxx

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Lose the Temper. I really messed up with this blog!! And some answers why.

Oh hello!

I am writing to apologize for my JV handling of my blog! This is what happened: I started the project in an effort to look at my behavior around losing my temper, but it was also during a waiting-for-a-manuscript time (which I have learned, since I am in the middle of another one of those times now, makes me itchy to write.)

I was loving the blog but then  — I got the manuscript back and understood just how much work I had to do on my novel (like start it again), so I ended up dropping my anger blog project like a hot potato and getting to work on my book. And I am sorry, if there is anyone out there that cares, because it felt so unfinished and ditched and talking about anger and how to get a handle on it can be very important. But, I wrote my book, lived my life and felt in the back of my mind like I had unfinished business, but was too occupied to do anything about it.

I didn’t stop the temper project though. I tried my hardest every day to be calm and less impulsive and less drama-queeny. I used all my techniques to stay cool, and I thought about how I behaved all the time. The result: I get angry much much less. MUCH less. BUT there was another BIG reason why and it has nothing to do with anger management —  it has to do with hormones.

This is way too long a story for one little blog post (maybe a book?), but in a nut shell, I went through menopause wicked early. Starting at age 39 (maybe earlier) I began to have the hormonal changes that someone in their 50’s has – (not pretty). But since I wasn’t in my 50s, I had no idea what was happening to me. I was sad and getting hot flashes and irrational and most of all I could lose my temper as quickly as you get a hot flash (which is very very quickly and out of nowhere). I thought there was something really wrong with me (and perhaps so did my husband and children). I couldn’t understand why in my nice life I was getting so mad, or sad, or sweaty.

So I started this blog to understand the temper part having no idea there was a hormone part that could be playing a roll. Somewhere during the year of the project, I went to the doctor and found out what was going on with my body (FSH levels in the 80’s). The doc put me on the pill (estrogen) and soon enough, I started to feel MUCH better. I could still get mad (as anyone does), but I wouldn’t lose it. It was an Ah-ha moment.

Now, more than a year later, I don’t think I would start a Lose The Temper blog. I don’t lose my temper enough to. But back then it seemed like it was the right thing to do because I was lost,  I wasn’t myself — I was losing myself and my temper.

I am not giving this the time or detail it probably needs, but I was feeling terribly about ditching the blog and wanted to post something to say why. It was a bee-in-my-bonnet.

I finished my novel, Starry Night. It will be out next year. The mom in it sometimes loses her temper and I’m not sure she always knows why.

More soon I hope. My book is not back from the editor until late March!

Xxx

DAY 122 of Lose the Temper

Whoa, so I haven’t done this blog in a long time. Sorry! I feel badly, but I was really working and just didn’t have it in me to write one more word than I absolutely had to.

But I never forget my promise and I have to say I have not lost my temper. Sure annoyed, sure feelings of being anxious/uptight/angry here and there — but —  not really. So I don’t know what to say about that — feels pretty good and I think it may be adding to a strange elated feeling I have been having now and again throughout the day. I am working pretty hard on a couple of fronts:

One: I read an interview with Deepak Chopra in Oprah (I know — but just listen to this). He said that Nelson Mandela said something like, “Think of resentment as a poison you drink thinking it will kill someone else.” Get it? Resentment only hurts you you you you you. I have understood  that in some form before, but only until Mandela put it in that way have I been able to really oust resenting, which has helped tremendously in not losing your temper or even getting angry. Maybe you resent for like a minute, but then you think of the poison. It’s a good one.

Two: I am trying to see things from anyone else’s point of view but my own. I am pretty clear on how I think and feel about things, so in an instance where I feel uptight and might get upset, I try to summon other people and think about how they would think/feel about it. Mostly I think about what Milton-the-supper-shrink would think, but I also am throwing in husband/kids/friends/ex-spouses/parents ect just to keep myself in check. It works like this: “Wow — that is making me upset, I can feel it, BUT before I act, how would XYZ see this?” If anything it keeps impulsivity down and for me that is good.

Three: This goes back to an earlier lesson, the “fuck it” lesson. I often think that if I don’t voice injustice or anger, no one will. I feel I have to be THE VOICE to keep everything from turning into mayhem. And that is BS and a tad narcissistic. I am starting to say F-ck it, let someone else yell about it. Isabel stay calm and cook something or read your book. (by the way reading The Marriage Plot — pretty good.)

Okay, so I will try to up the blog posts as my editor has my manuscript at the moment, but there will be A LOT of work to do soon I am sure, so I can’t promise. I am going to buy a Deepak book however, so I’ll let you know how that goes. I think he’s going to tell me to meditate. Still haven’t done that.

Xxx

Just Breath (Day 81 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello,

I have not blogged in too long, but I have been writing madly on this book. I hope so much that it’s good.

So temper . . . I think I’m okay, no big big ones. AND I went to the genius shrink! (He says he’s not perfect nor is he a genius, and I shouldn’t think so — but I do.)

He imparted a few humdingers that I will now lay on you. One was, “love the rough diamonds.” Okay — got that one? Do you have any rough diamonds in your life? I do — and in fact, I AM A ROUGH DIAMOND! Filled with imperfections and tiny cracks. LOVE THEM. This is so important, and so hard. How I wish sometimes I was a big, shiny five-karat sparkler.

The other thing he said was — I have got to chill out THREE times a day by listening to a song on an iPod. Let go. Part of my tendency to get upset and angry is because I am too wound up. Too worried. I told him that the blooming daffodils in the park, so pretty and yellow, only choked me with worry because it was March instead of April — too early. He looked at me like, “Uh oh.”

SO, this morning was a little tough. (I would like to point out here that I seem to blog when there has been a brush with temper. I never feel the urge to blog when I’m having a really good day, like last Sunday, when I was as mellow as all those mellow people I admire.) This morning I was a rough diamond and my rough-diamond kid was a rough diamond. For about seven minutes we got into it about how UNGODLY, STUPID, BORING, WASTEFUL, POINTLESS the state testing is that all fourth graders in public school must take. They are so horrible. And the kids spend so much of their precious day practicing for them.

PLEASE someone in the government fix this. PLEASE someone rid the public school system of these useless tests so teachers are free to teach what they love and students are free to learn and grow and discover. Goodness I feel like losing my temper when I think about these tests. But they have to take them and I’m afraid that the pressure of it is getting to me. It’s my dyslexic/ADD self (undiagnosed, but I’m almost positive) that is taking over — a nine-year-old Isabel. I am reacting to the tests like a stressed-out kid not like a grown up.

So it was no bueno (sigh). I dropped the kids off from school and remembered what Dr. W said, “Let go, listen to a song.”  I got on the bus, got out my iShuffle (whatever iThing it is) and looked at my choice of songs. I saw Pearl Jams’s JUST BREATH. That’s the one I thought. It’s a gorgeous day out — a beauty. I sat down, and put on the head phones. It only took  four bars of music and one line of Eddie Vedder’s transforming voice for tears to start rolling down my cheeks on the crowded 79th Street crosstown. I couldn’t stop crying for the entire ride. The bright, new, sunny leaves on the trees whizzing by and the blue sky above only made the tears fall more quickly.

By Madison Avenue I was transformed into what I am not quite certain, but changed for sure. I’m not sure that in this state-of-mind I would have freaked out about the stupid ELA tests. Letting go. It’s not easy, but music is the key to it. How crazy is that? Music is the key.

I’m going to try something new. I am going to start the day off by listening to one song before I lift the covers. I am going to keep the iThing next on the bedside table and I am going to listen to one song. I think I have to let go before I even start . . . I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here are the lyrics to JUST BREATH.

Yes, I understand that every life must end, aw-huh,..
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw-huh,..
Oh I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands
the ones I love,..

Some folks just have one,
yeah, others, they’ve got none, huh-uh

Stay with me,..
Let’s just breathe.

Practiced are my sins,
never gonna let me win, aw-huh,..
Under everything, just another human being, aw-huh,..
Yeah, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
to make me bleed.

Stay with me,..
You’re all I see.

Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean.

I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw-huh,..
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, aw huh,..
Nothing you would take
Everything you gave…

Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool you see,..
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean, ah-ah…

Nothing you would take,..
Everything you gave.
Love you till I die,..
Meet you on the other side.

Xxx

A Weekend With a View (Day 65 of Lose The Temper)

Oh hello,

So all is well with the temper this weekend, and to that end, I would like to give credit to the 1986 Merchant Ivory film, “A Room With a View.” If you have not seen this movie for any reason, please stop reading this and get on it. If you can’t do it now, then tonight —  just please watch it.

Friday nights are tricky. There is a lot that has gone on during the week, there is transition, there is the weekend ahead (no matter how many people say that weekends are relaxing, I find that they can go very wrong. You have to plan a lot, there is no structure, many meals to cook — daunting). So I find that on Fridays there can be potential for tempers to flair. Not always, but there is potential. So this Friday night (I could kind of feel a threadbare vibe around 9 p.m.) I decided to preemptively do something that I KNOW puts me in a good mental space. After the kids were in bed, instead of talking with my husband — which I would normally do because I have a weird idealistic idea about marriage that in any free moment you should be sitting around in love and in deep conversation — or watching something together, I left him with March Madness and took the iPad into bed and sunk into E.M. Forster’s world of Italy, England, The Honeychurches, love and good manners. I really dig English people.

What this did was not only avoid any potential temper losing for whatever reason, but also set me up for a really good weekend. That movie makes me want to be a better person. It makes me want to dress well, be a loving mother like Mrs. Honeychurch, be amusing like Freddy the brother, and even if I do feel a little temper coming on, like Lucy Honeychurch (played by the marvelous Helena Bonham Carter), I am inspired to handle it like she does, which is very classily and charmingly.

I made soup (Irish soup) this weekend,  baked a cake from scratch with the children (first cake I ever made from scratch that tasted good). We strolled around downtown, had good conversations — whatever. I just think that movie set the tone for domestic success.

That being said, we are having a bit of a swearing issue in the house with our 10 and under set that is making me feel like I am going to lose my temper.

One more thing, this new song — “We are Young” by Fun. IS HOOKING ME UP! It is reaching every good part of me. I danced in the kitchen to it last night. Listen to that song, everything about it is right.

Gotta go, still more Sunday to go.

Xxx

Am I Doing it Right? (Day 60 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello!

So for the last three weeks I have been very neglectful of this blog, not because I’m not working on it in the personal project way, but because I am writing and guess what —  It’s NOT SO EASY!!! Yeah, the novel is an entirely different beast than the memoir and I am trying to figure it out and it’s taking up all of my writing mojo. I’m even slacking on tweeting!

I took a few days off my score if you noticed because this weekend I wasn’t at my best for four hours (I can’t tell you how fun this is admitting all of this TO THE PUBLIC AND MY MOTHER-IN-LAW!!). This project has pretty much stopped any yelling that might have happened pre-blog, but it hasn’t taken away a very big question for me: Am I doing it right? By “it” I mean all of it. Being a mother, a wife, a writer, a friend, a citizen. Am I getting it right? At the end of my life (at age 100, next to my husband and children and grand children please oh please) will I have felt like I did this life right????

I am asking myself that question all the time. Constantly. I don’t know if that is good or bad (maybe it’s because I’m writing??)  but I do know that if I fall on the, “I DON’T think you are doing it right Isabel” side, I feel frightened, helpless and then — angry. So this weekend I felt helpless in a mothering moment and it took me FOUR hours to get out of it. First I was frightened, then angry and THEN sad/ helpless/ dark. Something grabs on to me and I can’t get out of it’s jaws. No bueno I am afraid. (I think I need Cher to slap me across the face and yell, “SNAP OUT OF IT.” Like she did in Moonstruck.) It doesn’t feel very helpful to anyone.

I have been spending an ungodly amount of time at the APPLE store in the last four days (a place I feel rather calm because of all the geniuses.) And looking around I had the feeling that maybe people were asking themselves, “Am I doing this right?” And they were coming up with the answer, no. Helplessness resulting in anger. I asked an EXPERT about it (they actually have “experts” there, it says it on their name tag), I asked if people lost their tempers a lot and he looked at me like I had just asked if there was a presidential election going on.

Expert: “Oh YEAH. Like, all day long

Me: Badly?

Expert: “Oh yeah.”

Those poor apple people. They are so smart and they have dumb-bells losing their tempers all day long at them because they don’t know if they are doing any of it right.

To help clear all this up a bit, I HAD a power shrink appointment set for tomorrow am (first on in three months), but in an ironic twist, he JUST emailed that he had the flu and would have to reschedule. RATS!!  So, I think I will bring this existential “Am I doing it right” question to my mother. I think she asks it too.

Lastlt, it’s more than likely am going to be writing an article for a magazine about women and anger soon, so I am going to call some big time brain doctors and ask them about anger and the brain. I want to know if there are physical reasons why people lose it. Should be wicked interesting – I’ll keep you posted. And I think I should also look into anxiety because I think a lot of the losing it feeling stems from that… Fear, Helplessness, anxiety, stress. Good times!!

But what if we figure it out? 

Until soon, deep breaths.

Xxx

Sorry!! (Day 51 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello!

Whoa! I haven’t blogged since Valentines Day! Sorry, and now we are on Day 51? Is my math right? Well, I have really dug into the novel I am writing and I knew the blog would suffer — but the project does not!! I still have not totally lost my temper. But I have gotten mad. I spoke to a shrink (not genius shrink, another shrink) and told him I was doing this and his first reaction was, “Why would you do that to yourself??” It took a minute to explain that I wasn’t not getting mad, I was just not throwing things and screaming hateful bile at anyone. “Oh, oh, okay.” he said, “Yeah, good idea.”

So the getting mad. Well, the way I have only gotten mad and not lost my temper lately (I’ve advanced a smidge from just counting to ten) is to harken back to when I was getting divorced. I had this, “I’d rather light a candle than curse the darkness” thing going on that my father layed on me and when I applied it, it worked.

I am a bit controlling, as we know, and sometimes I think that my way is the (only) right way. However, when you are in a “family in a different shape” i.e., a divorced family, there are SO MANY more moving parts that it is very hard to control, and there is NEVER only one right way.

Last weekend, my ex-husband had the boys. When he leaves it is a very hard transition naturally, and I thought that it would go easier for the boys if they were outside A LOT before it happened. So that is what I instructed him to do. “Please take the boys out before you have to leave. I think it will be better.”

The first whiff there was that you can’t tell the other parent what to do on their weekend. No bueno.

So of course when we come back and the weekend ends, the three of them are playing the board game “Sorry!” I feel my blood start to boil. How come they are not panting from just running around outside in the pretty winter day for the last three hours!?! Were they watching TV? No. Were they playing Wii? No. Do I ever play Sorry! with them or even know how to play? No. But because it wasn’t what was in my plan for how things should be, I internally (and a tiny bit externally) flipped out — second whiff.

The transition from father to mother and back again is one of the worst transitions I know of. I can’t figure it out how to make it better for them. Anyone who has – give a shout. But getting mad doesn’t help.

I ended up taking the kids outside and throwing around a football. (I know, please.) And while I was doing that I started feeling myself cool down. I stopped composing the angry email in my head. I started having a ball playing ball. Maybe it was me who needed a little fresh air. And I thought: Notice that this is fun. Don’t be mad. He was doing his best. Don’t micromanage. Don’t think you know everything. Light a candle instead of curse the darkness.

We continued having a nice time until the sun went down. And then I went inside, plugged the kids into the Wii and wrote an apology email to my ex, thanking him for playing a board game and saying Sorry! for getting mad.

You just have to work though it. Some people do it by going outside, some do it by playing Sorry! Who’s to say what is right.

Xxx

Emotional rescue (Day 35 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello,

Well I have to blog on Valentines Day! But it might not be about love. Sorry.

This will be short cause it’s the end of the work day and I have to meet the kids at home — but — I learned something that maybe most people already know — but it could be useful.

I got upset by something two nights ago. I knew I was upset, I knew I didn’t want to lose my temper, so I just sat on the feeling. Kept it inside. I was VERY uncomfortable. And it went against all my instincts. All I wanted to do was let it rip. All I wanted to do was express my feelings, but I thought better of it. I even had to fall asleep with that feeling. Something I had been told countless times never to do. But I thought if I opened my mouth it might not go in the direction we are trying to go here.

I think it was very much like what it must feel like to be an impulsive shopper. You see something you want badly, but you decide (maybe because you are in a program or something) that you better NOT buy it. It feels awful. You twist and turn and pace around, but you don’t get the damn shoes. And by the next day, you are over them.

So the next morning I was able to talk about the subject that just 12 hours before was driving me nuts, in a calm, orderly, not mad way. No fight, no loss of temper, resolved in 7 minutes. (I think had I indulged the night before it could have lasted two hours.)

It did mean discomfort. I don’t think of myself as an indulgent person, but maybe I have been in the past with my emotions. If I feel it I have indulged in expressing it. A tad spoiled really, no? Why do I feel that I get to be emotionally comfortable all the time?

So the lesson is sometimes, in order to not lose your temper you will have to feel extremely uncomfortable for a while. No pain, no gain.

Love your people, I love you (in the most general, only said on Valentines day way).

Xxx

Find Your Strength In Love (Day 33 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello,

I sort of think only people like Mariah Carey or Simon Cowell, Pink, Mick Jagger and Clive Davis should blog, Tweet or Facebook about the tragic death of one of the world’s greatest singers. What could I ever say that would be as insightful, interesting or knowledgable as what the people in the music business who knew her would say?  There are many MANY people more qualified to write about her, and I know that. But when my husband told me last night, in the middle of a dinner party, that Whitney Houston had been found dead in a hotel room, I burst into tears. I was overcome with emotion. I didn’t know her — I probably hadn’t spoken her name in five or ten years, but news of her death caused a real and deep reaction in me. I thought all day about why.

So I’m not to go on and on because I’m not Alicia Keys, but I think the reason I felt (and maybe everybody felt) so gutted by Whitney Houstons’s death, is because in her voice we heard God. Just watch her sing the Star Spangled Banner on You Tube from 1991. Close your eyes and recall that note from “I Will Always Love You.” That’s God. It has to be. Evidence of God on earth is pretty powerful and it’s loss would naturally cause one to cry, right in the middle of a party.

Yesterday I got really upset by something. I didn’t yell or anything, but I held on to it, or it held on to me for four hours. I wasn’t strong enough to get rid of it any sooner than that. Next time that happens I will try to remember Whitney’s advice and voice singing like an angel over the airwaves: Find Your Strength In Love.

Xxx

You don’t have to blow it to blow it. (Day 29 of Lose The Temper)

Oh hello,

So now, as I am hyper aware of not actually losing my temper, I am more tuned into how OTHER not so becoming parts of your personality can come out, even if you don’t lose your temper. Ah haaaaa. subtly.

(By the way, I just tried to spell subtlety for five minutes and couldn’t – hoping spell check will get me later, but as I do not have an editor on this thing, I am hoping spelling and other writing fouls will be excused.)

Yesterday, my child went on a four-hour interview at a school that would be wonderful for him to go to. It’s impossible to get in, so we’re not even going to talk about it, I mean I’m not going to talk about it here, but what happened to me during the process was outrageous.

I didn’t lose my temper at all, but I did sit in a coffee shop across the street from the school for two hours (waiting to pick him up), pretending to work but REALLY  indulging in a massive anxiety attack. If I were not myself but could see myself – like if I was watching someone else do this, I might have really judged them. I might have even told then to  – RELAX, you are being a maniac. Goodness I hate it when someone tells me to relax.

Then I did the horrible thing of hounding my poor boy about what happened IN THERE WHERE I WASN’T to the point where it was just disgusting. It was beyond my control. I was like a pit bull with its jaw locked.

Am I high? I know better than this! My own father told me to be mellow when he came out, but I am so freaked out about schools in new york or something, I let that sound advice go in one ear and right out the other.

You see — it’s like losing your temper — it’s the same thing. I was unable to control a need to, I don’t know, know everything? Control everything? How on earth did I miss the you-can’t-control-everything-class? I lose my temper when I am trying to control something clearly out of my control and now that I am not losing my temper, it’s manifested into weird, anxious bad behavior. No bueno.

How come I think the way I do it is the right way? Or the way I want it to go is the ONLY way it can go? If I just could just learn that there really are many roads to heaven instead of just saying that all the time, maybe I wouldn’t lose my temper or have anxiety. If I am the kind of person who thinks I have some faults, why do I think the way I do things is right? That makes no sense. I should actually assume that maybe the way I want it to go IS NOT the way it actually should go. I should open my self way way WAY up.

It’s amazing how you can think you are a relaxed person and really not be one at all. I’m relaxed about maybe four things. My acting teacher had a WONDERFUL expression when she wanted you to let the emotion of the scene take over – when she wanted you to lose control, she would tell you to – Fuck it. She would say Fuck It a hundred times so you could let go of whatever it was you were holding on to – and be better.

That’s it, we want to hold on so badly to so many things, ideas, notions, theories, expectations — but maybe what we really have to do is say – fuck it – and let go.

Back to work.

Xxx

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