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Archive for the month “January, 2012”

Fessing up (Day 20 of – Lose the Temper)

Oh hello,

Well… not the best weekend for me really. I didn’t “Lose my temper“, but I wasn’t zen Buddha-on-the-mountain for some parts. I could feel my blood boil twice to the point where I think by almost anyone’s standards it would count as a strike against me, once on Saturday morning and once on Sunday night. Here’s the thing though — am I supposed to confess every tense moment where maybe I didn’t handle something with the grace and mellowness of Obama??? It was a complex weekend!  But maybe so. Maybe that is the point of all of this. The point of this year-long project is to exorcise will power not just over the big blow outs (which, I would ike to say, are not that frequent – since I started this blog, people are now asking me, “Did you lose your temper yet? like I was Mike Tyson), but the smaller impatient-mood-swingy-fed-up moments as well.

Here was my problem this weekend. I reacted to everything. I’m a reactor. I have a sizable emotional response to almost everything that happens to me. Almost nothing rolls off my back. I am the opposite of a duck. I am a hedge hog. It can be a good thing, like, I am really fun when an awesome song comes on the radio because I don’t take it for granted — I dance and thank heaven for the band, and maybe I’ll hug the person next to me out of sheer joy. Or as I told you, last week, I wept taking our beloved bird, Bobby, home from the store. I wept because when we took him, he had to leave his little, green brother. His left-behind brother was clutching the side of the cage and chirping desperately, “Please don’t take him!” Tears streamed down my face as I signed the bill for the bird food. I couldn’t hide it from Kate and Daniel the bird breeders who were standing there looking slightly embarrassed for me. “Separation happens in the wild,” Kate said trying to be comforting. And when something unpleasant happens I react to that as well. Living with me during the last election must have been a nightmare because Sarah Palin ENRAGED me.

So last night a NY Times article about private school education in NYC  gave me a grand moll anxiety attack about education in general. My own kids education… my attempts to try to make that experience as good as I can for them… Is it good enough? Is is not? Am I doing all that I can? What about Mandarin? Somehow, that lead to my book that is unwritten… snowball, snowball, snowball. And then I lost my mind a bit. I tried to watch Downton Abbey to shake it off. I tried to disengage from the topic, and everyone in the house (not counting kids –  they were asleep and untouched by this episode). I FORGOT to meditate which had WORKED for me the day before… I was unsuccessfully disengaging from that article for HOURS. I just couldn’t stop my anxieties and worries from running wild, and, needless to say, I wasn’t pleasant to be around. What I wanted was for God or Glenda the Good Witch to come down and say, “sweetie, it’s all going to be okay. I promise.” But they didn’t show up  —  and I couldn’t find that voice in my own self.

I think what Wonder-shrink would say is, it doesn’t matter if you are freaking out, you can’t take it out on anyone. And that is right —  but I failed because, I’m still learning. And truthfully, the thought that I may not be able to give my children the best possible education on the planet makes me want to cry and get mad at someone. See – I’m a reactor. 

Anyway, do I have to start again? I didn’t yell… I was just dark and stormy.

Tomorrow I begin a new program for writing my novel. It’s called, the can’t-go-to-spin-class-program. There simply isn’t time for me to do a whole gym thing, get to the library, write the amount I need to, and do all the kids stuff — but I’m scared because a good spin is KEY to staying mellow. Whatever! Some of this feels like boring navel gazing!!!! Ahhhh! But I started it so…

Until soon.

Xxx

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Bobby Love (Day 16 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello,

I’m in love, I’m in love, I’m in love with a wonderful bird!!! (you have to sing that to the tune of “A wonderful Guy” from South Pacific.)

Man am I in love with our son’s bird, Bobby. I won’t go into it, because you get it, I fell in love yesterday — simple — just look at him. I feel like I have a new baby (in a totally different way than actually having a new baby, but still.)

I will say for the purposes of this blog, that I believe that having an animal in the house will have, and already has started to have a profound effect on tempers flaring. All of us have become so calm because there is a sweet, angelic, bird around. In one day, the experience of living in this apartment has deepened. There are concerns where there used not to be. There is awareness. The peacefulness and sensitivity of this creature has penetrated everyone. Not that this household was a nut house two days ago, no, but I truly believe that ever since that bird came through the front door, we are experiencing empathy in a way we were not before. I can not IMAGINE raising my voice around this bird. I will never.

So Bobby love, who is really our son’s bird (I HAVE to remember that — BUT HE IS SO SWEET ALL I WANT TO DO IS CUDDLE HIM!), might be a five-inch helper to me in the pursuit of never losing my temper again — or at least for a year. Funny that he is a love bird, no? Life works in mysterious ways…

Xxx

The constancy of stillness (Day 15 of Lose The Temper)

 

Oh hello,

Haven’t lost the temper so far, and it feels great. I am now seeing, even after 15 days, that if you begin to practice behavior on a daily basis, that behavior gets stronger. I am now used to the idea that I can’t lose my temper. Not that I won’t, but the idea that I can’t is real for me — not just an intention, its active. I am telling you —  this feels very much like quitting smoking. Once I started thinking of myself as a non-smoker, that idea became more important and, dare I say, more powerful than smoking — which is wild to me, because I loved smoking. And was addicted.

I know that I have to address this thing out there, and I don’t want to. It’s meditation. Ugggggggggghhhh. For the last couple of years I have been hearing more and more about meditating, and I have successfully avoided even considering it because it seems to me like a big bore. But then, the day after I decided to not lose my temper for a year, I was snuggled into my bed with the latest issue of O magazine and there on the WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE page was a picture of Oprah herself (wrapped in a lovely looking blanket that I want if I ever do meditate,) sitting with her hands crossed and her eyes closed  – quietly meditiaing.

Ughhhhhhhh. Is this the universe telling me something in it’s sing-songy voice? “Oh Isabel, you want to try this no temper thing? You better try mediating…Oprah does…”

Apparently it’s awesome and grounds you and you experience peace that stays with you, makes you a better person – you find your power. I know I should do it — BUT I DON”T WANT TO!! It’s seems like a drag to me. I don’t want to sit still. I don’t want to say a mantra over and over in my head. I HAVE RESISTANCE.

You are supposed to do it for 20 minutes in the am and at night. I feel like I don’t have that time. I bet I do, but I feel like I really don’t. I want to watch food tv right up till the last-minute before I get in bed and read for 7 minutes. Or have sex! If I start meditating before bed my husband will fall asleep and I’ll never have sex. I bet that isn’t true either. Apparently you have better sex when you meditate. He could meditate with me? Ummm.

Should I try it? I think I have to. Uggghhhhhh. I will and let you know. Funny about resistance, it’s so powerful. I think I give in to everything, but I don’t.

 

Small note: I have to start writing my book soon  – big time. I am in a reasearch mode now, so I can blog-out a little, but I worry that my writing all day will take away from blog. Hope not, but maybe. Will keep you posted. I want to do all these interviews and learn how to post videos! Maybe if I meditate I’ll be able to fit everything in – Oprah does.

 

Xxx

 

 

Sleeeeeep (Day 13 of Lose The Temper)

Oh hello!

I have one message for today and that is that I am now CONVINCED that sleep is the key to all happiness and certainly the key to avoiding losing one’s temper.

There are libraries full of articles, books and studies proving that sleep is imperative to a happy and healthy life and more evidence of that is easy to find with a simple Google search. Don’t we all know that sleep is incredibly important? This is not some earth-shattering revelation, I don’t need to cite articles — But I will tell you this; I almost lost it last night because of one thing — sleep deprivation. So, I guess we could read a few more articles, like this one:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/health/31brody.html

The boys’ father was here for the weekend, so my husband and I went to a friend’s birthday party in Connecticut on Saturday. The birthday boy’s wife (deftly) re-created a college pajama party. The idea was to travel back in time twenty odd years and party like it was 1991 — which I did. Oh boy . . . Well, it was fun. We danced and played beer pong and did jello shots. Yup, I said jello shots. Pizza after midnight, you get it. No kids to worry about, so you could trick yourself into not minding your own bedtime.We’ll sleep in!” I think I recall myself shouting to my husband over “Jesse’s Girl.” And then I might have howled, “Whoooo hoooooo!”

If (or when) you behaved like this in college, you were kind of alright. You could sleep in, eat eggs and bacon, go back to bed, play Hacky Sack, listen to Blues Traveler and then whatever. You might not see anyone else except your room-mate and people who went to the same party. You could all be exhausted together and go to the movies. But I bet you weren’t even exhausted because you were 18.

BUT I’M NOT 18!!!! So yesterday (after totally not sleeping in because I can’t do that anymore because I’m not a teenager) was one long, uncomfortable yawn. For the first 3/4s of the day it was fine because the boys were with their father and my husband and I shuffled around doing this-and-that with no incident. But then, daddy went back to Ohio and I took over without my usual trusty 8 hours. I was ill-prepared for the kids transitioning from dad to mom, for cooking dinner, overseeing baths and an unscheduled, late-afternoon trip in the cold to the bird store to visit “Bobby,” our LOVE BIRD who is coming to live with us for the next 15 years on Wednesday.

By 8 p.m. I was dangerously close to losing it. The little guy was being wildly contrary (his reaction to a dad weekend being over) and I found that I couldn’t take it the way a good and tolerant mother should — the way that with enough rest I usually can. Divorce is tricky to manage, there are subtle and not so subtle feelings that the kids have about it and you need to be ON YOUR GAME to deal with it  — and that means sleep. (It’s not that they are reacting to our divorce 24/7, it’s usually just during transition times, where you have to be prepared for justified and understandably bumpy moments. I was not thinking of these impending moments when I was holding court on the beer pong table.)

I didn’t lose it in a trip-the-light-fantastic way (the ones we are trying to avoid) because when my husband heard me struggling during bath time he called me in to watch five minutes of the Giants game. Husband is aware of my vow to not lose my temper, so his ears are pricked up for the danger signs, like if he hears an “Arrrgggggh!” from me, where he once may have thought, “She’s the mom, she knows what she is doing,” he might now step in, and that IS VERY IMPORTANT. It is very hard to parent alone — and sometimes I don’t know what I am doing.

“Chill out love, the Giants are up by one, look how awesome Victor Cruz is.” (Victor Cruz, the wide receiver for THE GIANTS, is awesome by the way).  This invitation to mellow out was enough for me to breath, reboot, go back, give a big hug to contrary-I-miss-my-dad kid in apology for the “Arrrrgggggh” and read a bedtime story before COLLAPSING in front of the amazing, entertaining, and heavenly Downton Abbey.

I have to face the 1990’s music that at 42 (almost) all I want to do — (and should do?) is be in bed with a book during the 10 o’clock hour with kids sleeping next door and husband somewhere close by. “Jesse’s Girl” at one in the morning — no longer such a good idea. “Jesse’s Girl” in a spin class at 10 am — still a really good idea.

So, Sleep. Right. I think I got that one now.

Xxx or Zzz

“Jessie is a friend,
Yeah, I know he’s been
A good friend of mine
But lately something’s changed
That ain’t hard to define
Jessie’s got himself a girl
And I want to make her mine
And she’s watching him with those eyes
And she’s lovin’ him with that body,
I just know it
Yeah ‘n’ he’s holding her in his arms late,
Late at night…”

In The Night (Day 10 – Lose The Temper)

Oh hello!

I have just woken up and I have to get the kids up and go to school, but I have to tell you — I lost my temper — IN MY DREAM!!!

It was so real that I thought it was life. The dream involved my ex-husband, his wife (both of whom I am in totally great relations with. We haven’t had a tiff much less a knock down fight in years. All is very well in that department), LAURA LINNEY (I am quite sure because of Downton Abbey) and my boys.

I lost it! I yelled and screamed and cried and hit —  Laura Linney. Isn’t that awful — I adore her! But in the dream she had let my children go to a play date in another town without asking me and I didn’t know where they were. Whatever, now that I am writing it down it all feels loony, but the  point is, when I lost my temper in my dream, I was SO upset and sad that I had screwed up my vow. I was so mad in that dream – whoosh.  And then I woke up  – sweating (hormones? fear?)  – and was SO HAPPY AND RELIEVED that is was all just a dream — I ripped the covers off and ran to the computer.

But I gotta go now. I’ll reflect all day and maybe post something later if I have any big, insightful ideas.

I’m going to be on The Majority Report with Sam Seder today at noon! Google it if you can to give a listen. It’s fun. I’ll tweet it too.

Have a great day!!!!

(By the way – losing your temper in your dream doesn’t count — right?)

Xxx

Day 7 — Lose The Temper

Oh hello,

Nothing of note in the temper department happened today – very steady and jolly day if I do say so myself. Perhaps that is because so many nice things happened? Hormones? It’s Wednesday — the best day of the week? Got lucky? This blog thing is working? I’m mellower than I thought?

The day started with a WONDERFUL art show in the boy’s school. They go to a public school on the Upper West Side and this semester the 4th grade had STUDIO IN A SCHOOL teaching the kids to be creative, observe, to use all different kinds of materials, to explore and expand on ideas that they are already thinking about in their curriculums. http://studioinaschool.org/. It’s a program that pairs professional artists with educators and it’s amazing. My favorite piece of art that son #1 produced was a self-portrait of himself as an American Indian in colonial times – he had a bad-ass mohawk. Then after school today, son #2 and I met the newest member of our family, a sweet, two-month-old LOVE bird named…? Any suggestions? I feel a little nervous about having a bird, but my grandmother Mimi had many birds. Love birds, a cockatoo, a African Grey parrot, an owl that lived in their book shelf – so it’s in my blood somewhere to have a bird in the house. And in general I think having animals, taking care of creatures, deepens the ENTIRE life experience for everyone in the household, so here we are. Bird arrives next week sometime. (Also — this is an after thought — maybe with a bird in the house I will be reminded to an even greater extent that yelling and anger are not the best paths to choose when trying to sort out one of life’s knots. We shall see.)

Okay, so I have two big subjects to talk about here, but I’m not going to tonight as I didn’t do enough work on them today, BECAUSE I was watching a movie. Yup — right in the middle of the day. THERE WAS A REASON! Before you think I was just goofing off, I will tell you that I am going to be reviewing Netflix movies on Sam Seder’s podcast, THE MAJORITY REPORT, once a month and this Friday is my second time doing it. Sam is so funny and political and his show has great guests, is smart and fun – so I’m thrilled to be involved in any way. It’s basically all politics, but sometimes, on Fridays, I’ll be chatting him up about movies to stream. So I had homework today.

Okay, Top Chef is on. Gotta tune in. More soon about these two subjects I’m thinking about. One was inspired (sort of ) by Oprah and one by Diane Von Furstenberg — whom I adore.

Xxxx

My hat is off (Day 5 of the project – Lose The Temper)

Oh hello,

I would like to start this post by taking my hat off to people who blog everyday. I want to, I committed to, I thought the only thing that would keep me from checking in on this thing daily would be if something exotic and exciting was going on, but then it turned out that over the weekend what kept me from blogging was that the kids had to eat three times a day. By the end of yesterday (we did go to the dentist and I baked 56 corn muffins for kid’s class snack) all I could manage was to fall on the sofa in front of The Bachelor.

HOWEVER, I did think an awful lot about the blog and the temper (which I did NOT lose I will say — and I could have twice — I don’t think it would have been an astronomical losing of the temper, but a small one that would have counted. To keep my cool, I employed deep breathing, taking 5 in my bedroom to affirm my vow, and I washed three or four dishes.)

My first thought came while I was driving home yesterday. My husband was working in the car, I was at the wheel, and the three kids were watching Turner And Hooch in the back of Big Beauty, our minivan. Now, I don’t usually allow movies during the day in the car, some of the best ideas I ever had, came in the car but they wouldn’t have if I wasn’t staring out of the window letting the mind roll around. I want the kids to have good ideas. But, when both of us have to use full concentration, I toss one in so we don’t get in an accident while 20 questions devolves. I say, “toss in” like I’ll put on anything. Not true. I happened to spend about 30 minutes at Blockbuster Video last friday carefully selecting old movies from the 90’s that I thought they would like (My Girl — BIG mistake for the boys. Truthfully, I didn’t know that the kid dies of bee-stings. It was very upsetting. I’m okay with it because life is life and I think its good to cry in movies, but it did upset them mightily. White Fang — SUCH an A. They all loved it, I loved it ((again)), its beautiful and action packed and it was so satisfying. Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom. AWESOME! They all loved it and laughed and laughed when the little side-kick-kid did anything. And Turner and Hootch — A home run. Big dog, Tom Hanks — need I say more.)

SO, they are watching and I am half listening to . . . Tom Hanks yelling AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS for the whole movie. Talk about losing the temper. He is losing it at the dog, his friends, some woman, for practically 90 minutes. If I yelled like that for 90 minutes I would be in jail. I took note of this yelling (that the kids were laughing their fannys off at) and started to think about all the yelling that other people do besides me. I thought of the last episode I watched recently of Downton Abbey, when The Earl of Grantham (the most mild-mannered, fair, divine man) totally goes ballistic on his butler John Bates — unjustly. I thought my favorite scene in WE BOUGHT A ZOO, when Matt Damon and his son in the film have a knock-down yelling match at each other. I thought in the car, if I got in a fight now with my son like that I would flog myself to no end — yet in the movie I was thinking, “Wow, they are really communicating and getting their much-needed-to-be-released-feelings out. Bravo! Then I thought about watching the football coaches — all of Sunday — yelling their lungs out at their players on the field (g big blue). I thought about Cher slapping Nick Cage in Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!” I thought of Michelle Pfeiffer yelling in MARRIED TO THE MOB and Alec Baldwin yelling back at her. I thought of the many (brilliant) TEACHERS I had in art school and in acting school that yelled like there was no tomorrow at us, and some even storming out of the room. All I thought about those people was that they were geniuses.

So here is a secret: I think I like to yell and admire people when they yell. OH NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! Isn’t that terrible? But it must be true. I think there is something about yelling and totally losing it that I find passionate and real and sometimes, funny. That has got to be a first-step admission in my road to yelling recovery, right?  However, although I sort of do like to yell, it’s vomit. That’s what amazing-shrink-Milton said and I believe it. Sure it’s fun, sure it’s sort of sexy (I don’t know, is it sexy? Maybe not), it is certainly EVERYWHERE (just spend the next five minutes thinking about all the yelling and losing it you have heard in the last two days — even in movies. Unless you live in an ashram I bet it’s a lot,) but it’s unacceptable.

It’s like smoking really — it can make you feel cool, you get addicted to it and then you have to quit.

I thought I would get to my second thought in this post, but I think I will save it for tomorrow. I am going to experiment with this THING I’m thinking about today and tonight, and then I will report. (Hint it has to do with Oprah…)

Xxx

When there is nothing of note… (Day 3 of Lose The Temper)

Oh hello!

I think I am going to check in with this blog every day (barring any weird circumstances, or maybe vacations) even if I come nowhere close to losing my temper because I said I would. And I actually think that this blog in itself is a deterrent from letting it blow.

So — if nothing of note happens, if I breeze through a day with no flare ups, I’ll just do a really short post like — all good. And today was all good.

One small strategy I am testing out is a weird one, but I think it’s working. I have noticed that the men in my life (husband, boy kids, friends) have a brilliant method of either pretending not to listen, or really just not listening to any hullabaloo that is going on around them. scrappy stuff, kids bickering. I’m like a NASA antenna for that stuff. One kid says, “Heeyyyy, that’s mine,” and I’m like a falcon sensing a mouse in a field. But now, I’m trying to follow the lead of the men around me and I’m pretending I don’t hear the aggravating noises and comments. It’s working. I’m pretending to tune out and what’s happening is, I’m not getting in the middle of kid melodrama and therefore, I’m lessening my chances for getting totally bugged out by kid melodrama. I’m filtering out the crap.

This used to aggravate me about men, now I think they are smart.

Okay. I’m reading People now. Apparently there was a murder at Buckingham Palace and I need to know all about that.

Xxx

Morning Madness – DAY TWO (of the project – Lose The Temper)

Oh hello!

So usually I will post on this blog in the evening because I will have to see how the entire day goes (and hopefully I will be writing my book that I am revising at the moment). Tempers can flare in the evening hours a little more readily, and I want to make sure I have gotten through the day before I report, HOWEVER — this morning marks the fifth consecutive day of what I like to call, A smooth send off.

I am talking about the getting-the-kids-fed-brushed-dressed-make-the-bfast-and-lunches-backpacked-beds-made-your-own-cloths-on-dishes-washed MAGILLAH that are the mornings most days. Whenever I talk about this particular triple Lutz that has confounded me (and often times brought me to my knees in tears and yelling) for the last six years people say, “Oh I think it goes on in every house hold across America.” And I think that is probably right. (But what about The Obamas? Is it coo-coo town in their house?)

I’m sick of it. I am sick of me saying, “Okay guys, we gotta go now, no messing around — where are the jeans? Have you brushed your teeth?” Well, that is fine, but what I am really sick of is, thinking they are on their way, going into my room to put a comb through the hair  and then hearing screams of laughter only to rush back into the kid’s room to see one holding a Nerf sword with a pair of underwear on his head. THEN – I lose it. Not HUGE lose it, but unhinged enough to feel my blood boil and perhaps tell them that orangutans could accomplish these simple tasks with greater accuracy then they do. “HOW HARD CAN THIS BE????” I might yell down the hallway as I storm into the kitchen to load the dishwasher.

Well, the thing is, maybe orangutans can do it better, but what was starting to happen was that after we had gotten out the door, I felt so sad for having lost my cool at my little less-than-organutangs, that my day was ruined — and my fear was theirs was too. So sad that, like last week, not even a spinning class could shake it off. I cried in front of Juice Generation when I was getting my morning Supper-Dupper-Greens (taste not so good, but it might keep me alive till I’m 100.) So, in tears, I called my ex-husband.

Why AM I FAILING at this?” I sobbed. “WHY don’t they listen to me?”  “They must think I’m a JOKE! “I don’t think they care AT ALL! I am THE WORST AT THIS.” cry cry cry.

He is calmer than I am and hadn’t just experienced the morning madness, so he evenly suggested that maybe I try another way. Maybe I help them all the way through until we leave.

“But they are 10 and 7” I sniffed. “Maria Montessori says – Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” I worship the Montessori method and have been letting the kids button up their sweaters since pre-school. “Shouldn’t they be able to do these same five, easy tasks by themselves by now?”

“Maybe not.”

See — that’s the thing. I think I have it all figured out, but CLEARLY if I am yelling and they have underpants on their heads – I really don’t.

So this week I stayed with them. I didn’t hold the tooth-brush, but I sat on the little green chair next to the tub and gently directed them to the next endeavor on the list — like I was, well, a nurse? Maybe not a nurse, BUT, I had the calm of a nurse. And once I got that freaky-calm-feeling, I started to get off on it and took it on like a character I was playing. Sort of fake-it-till-you-make-it-style. Something about my just being present helped them do what they needed to do, and when they were doing it, I felt better, and there was a snowball effect. Happiness. Did I go to drop-off practically in my pj’s all week? Yes.

The best part of this, and it’s a wildly good part, is that I had five days of not feeling like the worst mother on the Upper West Side of New York, which I had been feeling with alarming regularity. The trick was I took advice I didn’t want to take. I didn’t want to change my thinking about how I believed the mornings should be conducted. It’s amazing how intrenched I can get in a bad method or idea – without really knowing it! But the only thing the mornings had to do was work – screw Montessori (just kidding, still worship.)

I better get ready for the weekend. This is the first weekend that will spend with my new vow of not losing my temper. It’s a tricky one because we might go skiing upstate. Bundling. Boots, mittens, coldness — ewwww,  I have seen even the coolest people on earth lose it in a crowded ski lodge. A couple of years ago I burst into tears of frustration at the rental desk. Shoal filled waters these ahead — but I’m ready. Will let you know what happens.

Xxx

LOSE THE TEMPER – Day one.

Oh hello and Happy New Year!

My name is Isabel Gillies. I am the mother of two boys and one step-daughter. I’m a wife, an actress and a writer and I live in New York City. I’m about to be 42 years old (in February) and as of this day, January 10th 2012 (well, now it’s the 12th, but it’s taking me some time to figure out how to blog), I am starting a project. I am not going to lose my temper for ONE YEAR – at any one. And I’m going – to keep me honest – blog on how it’s going every day.

So, I don’t know why, maybe it’s hormones, maybe it’s sleep or because I’m an actress —  but I on occasion can really lose my temper. I wrote about it in my second book, A Year And Six Seconds (and actually it comes up in my first memoir, Happens Every Day too). It’s probably because I’m a drama queen, or I’m insecure or maybe it’s in my genetics, but I am not (as I dream and wish I would be) cool-as-a-cucumber. I don’t have Obama-calm (so unfortunately). When I get mad or upset or afraid, I can really let it rip. When it happens, it feels like I’m getting injected with an evil-purple-bile-adrenaline — and I lose it. The meanest, most non-sensical things careen out of my mouth (at the people I love more than anything in the world) and I want to throw everything in the Hudson River and rip my hair out. And then I cry and feel terrible and like I was taken over by the devil. Like I was in a black out. I used to think it was cathartic or exotic and chic like Gena Rowlands in all those Cassavetes movies, but really no.

This is NOT the most fun thing to admit I will tell you. Nooo, no fun at all — because it’s humiliating. And the thing is – I believe I am a good enough person. I am positive, I can be measured, fun, I grow where I am planted. I’m loving and I love life and my kids (almost all kids really – even teenagers), my husband, parents, friends and animals (not snakes so much) cooking, TV in the evening (especially Downton Abbey), radio in the car — but there is a little nasty fly in the oil that messes it all up. Truth — not pretty, far from perfect, but I’m going to face it straight on. DON’T JUDGE ME! I’m trying to get rid of the f-er.

Now — I’m in my 40’s and this has been going on for a while so I have gotten in control of it to a certain extent — BUT, it still happens. AND I AM OVER IT. I lost my temper on Sunday, Jan 9th — not terribly, not unjustly, not at my kids (by the way, I will save you from the nitty-gritty, private details of my family’s life. I have a feeling we all get upset by the same stuff, so I am going to focus on how I handle my feelings, which can be outsized anyway to what has gone down, so what actually happened is irrelevant.) — but after, that night as I lay in bed wracked with guilt and feeling like a heel, I vowed to myself (and everyone else) that I would not lose my temper FOR ONE YEAR. I quit smoking (with the help of the patch) sixteen years ago  – cold turkey. I never had another drag. And I’m going to quit rage.

Can I do it? We shall see. I am going to talk to a lot of people (maybe even on this blog — maybe they will be brilliant and famous!) about losing tempers. I’m going to employ a lot of strategies to help me when I feel like I’m going to blow, (there might be recipes, music to listen to – yoga moves – not sure yet, but I’ll post it.) I have an amazing shrink on hand (that I only see once every three months, but he’s there in an emergency and I will relay any advice he gives). I HAVE WILL POWER — and the deepest and most sincere desire to have this fly, buzz away out of my oil and be gone – forever.

And I’m going to be 100 percent honest. So… Here we go. I love a plan.

Xxx

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