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Archive for the month “February, 2012”

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).



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.


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.


Understanding Gisele (Day 28 of Lose The Temper)

Oh Hello,

Good weekend — I didn’t lose it. However, apparently last night poor Gisele let it rip and threw some Patriots under the bus.


Oh dear.

What do you bet that beautiful lady is feeling pretty terrible this morning. I mean, did you watch the Super Bowl? All of those guys were trying so hard. Did you see that guy at the end try HIS HARDEST to catch that huge big hail mary Tom Brady passed? She must feel terrible, and I bet you her husband isn’t pleased with her.  No bueno Gisele.

But apparently there were people heckling her about the loss in her hotel, which couldn’t be fun. I bet she was exhausted and has been stressing for two weeks about this game — whatever, how easy could all of that be? And she has a small kid and I think a step-kid. I could see myself doing the same thing. Well — I don’t think I would blame it on the guys. All those football players kill me with their effort, strength and enthusiasm. No, I probably would have let it rip on the hecklers in a different way, like this:


Something like that.

Not now, now I probably would breathe through it. And if I were Gisele, I would breathe through it and then take my husband home, go into the huge screening room (don’t you think they have a huge screening room?) and show the replays of him spiraling that ball beautifully through the air over and over again — like almost nobody else in the world (except old Eli). But, because she lost her temper, maybe they had a fight, or maybe she got in hot water. I hope not. I hope he understood, like my husband has in the past, that sometimes it’s really hard not to say the meanest thing.

Okay, back to work.

Have a good one.


Friday Movie Day (Day 24 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello!

I really wish I knew more about how to work this blog because I want to link and put pictures up, but I can’t figure it out! I will though. Where there is a will…

So sometimes on Fridays, I review movies for Sam Seder’s podcast — The Majority Report. I LOVE doing it. First of all Sam is a smart and funny guy and I am proud to be a part of his talk show which is really about politics. I love being on a podcast because it makes me feel cool — like I’m apart of the system of  how the future is going to roll — but mostly, I love watching these movies. The rule on the show is, you have to be able to stream the films off of Netflix. I studied documentary film in college, so for this job, I have been drawn to the documentaries and I have to say, I am so rejuvenated by watching them. Documentaries are hard to catch in the theaters, so Netflix is a blessing to this wonderful kind of filmmaking.

How this relates to losing one’s temper is —  in watching a good documentary, you are reminded and educated about how complex the world is and how much more interesting it is than your own life. You gain perspective — and you learn so much — that is the best part of it.

When I got divorced and was in the really sad and horrible part of it, someone told me that the way to deal with trauma is through education. She said that I should go learn something — ANYTHING,  and the act of learning would lift me up out of the misery of my own life. So that day (I was living in a college town) I looked for a lecture to attend. There was one on FISH and the state of our oceans. I went to the lecture and sure enough, I was transported. Suddenly I wasn’t soaked in my break-up — I was concerned, worried about and motivated to help in the efforts to save our dying oceans. I came home feeling alive, and when a marriage is dying, feeling alive is very important.

Now nothing remotely close to the end of a marriage is going on in my life, however, watching these movies is making me feel alive — because I’m learning — and I think that is going to have a positive effect on my life in general, so here is the list of documentaries that I have recommended on The Majority Report:

Bill Cunningham New York – fascinating and fun look at the life of Bill Cunningham, photographer for the New York Times.

A State of Mind – A look into communist Korea while watching 2 gymnast prepare for the Mass Games.

For The Bible Tells Me So – How the religious right have used the Bible to deny human rights.

Man on Wire – About Philippe Petit’s walk across the Twin Towers on a wire.

These movies are all FANTASTIC and deeply interesting. The one that moved me the most (although, they really all did) was For The Bible Tells Me So. Everyone in America should see that movie.

Okay. Have a great weekend. I am particularly motivated and actually I feel quite confident that I will not lose my temper and some of that feeling is because of these movies. Watch them and you will see why.

Go Giants!!


I’m Sneaking One (Day 23 of Lose the Temper)

Oh hello,

I am at the library where I am working on my book (which is at a place where I really need to work on it and concentrate) — or I have been since ten. But I had a thought so I’m sneaking in a little blog.

I haven’t lost my temper at all in the last three days, and I think it’s due to one thing: WORK.

I was thinking about it, and the last time I lost my temper was January 9th. Work-wise I was waiting for my editor to give me notes on a manuscript I had sent her. Waiting, doing the holidays, cooking, cleaning, sometimes lying in bed looking out the window. I was idle. I was in limbo and therefore I was very attuned to all the little BS stuff, or big stuff, but stuff that because I had nothing else going on I could really sink my teeth into and maybe get agitated by. So if something happened with the kids or an ex-spouse or the republican debates, I would take it on and try to make something out of it that felt as satisfying as, well, writing.

My power shrink told me when I feel like I am going to lose my temper to go write something, but in a bigger picture, I think that anger is dampened by doing something you love and care about every day. And if you get paid to do it even better. It’s like your interest in something blows away the urge to get mad — at anything. Maybe you might get a little mad, but your energy is already used up POSITIVELY somewhere else.

Maybe it’s a self-esteem thing? The time in my life when I worked as a waitress, I was happy as a clam. I never got angry. I didn’t have a lot on my plate (no husband or kids, or even a boyfriend?), I was doing little movies and slinging spaghetti, but I was happy and working ALL THE TIME. (By the way — I would be a waitress again in a second. Loved that job.)

I am racing because I am going to see our kid in Titus Andronicus at his school (proud proud proud), but I think when people say work is the meaning of life they are on to something. Maybe people are workaholics so they don’t lose their temper! Working is in our blood, it’s what humans have done non-stop for millions of years – there must be a damn good reason for it besides just getting food on the table.

Okay, more soon.


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