Know who’s a total bad a**? Michael J Fox. His may not be the name that leapt to your lips, but let me explain. A few years ago I saw an article about him and it talked about how, as his kids leave for school every day, he yells “MAKE IT A GREAT DAY!!” He believes that we all have the power to choose the kind of day we’re going to have. New choices, every day. I love that.
It started like this…
I woke up this morning with a hangover. That’s what I’m calling it anyway, even though the strongest thing I had to drink last night was seltzer (black cherry, because I believe in living on the edge). The only other option is that I’m getting sick – again – and I’ve already used up my one allotment of sick this fall. Not again, man. I refuse.
Once I was moving, I tried to touch up a wall in my house with some paint. There’s spackle where a cabinet was until a few weeks ago. The painter is coming…but not for a few more weeks. So I painted. And when I finished, I stepped away and realized that I’d done a pretty poor job AND painted it the wrong color. Who does that? Lets agree not to speak of this again. I have a strong hunch no one in my house will notice. Except my husband. That would be the same husband who had encouraged me NOT to paint because, well…I’m a terrible painter. (I spend time talking to myself every time about how patient I’m going to be. And then, about 20 minutes in, my true nature emerges and we end up with a splatter painted floor because I “forgot” to adjust the drop cloth. Again…)
And then….there’s a fight brewing in a group chat on my phone. I have recused myself and it’s not even about me…and still it’s upsetting. How old am I going to have to be before I can listen to a conflict between other people and not get sucked in? Will this happen approximately NEVER? That’s my guess. Never. So my tummy is knotted and my head is hurting and I’m not even involved. This is how well I handle conflict….NOT WELL. I don’t think it’s my fault…growing up as an only-child-introvert-in-a-single-parent-home, conflict resolution was not something I got much practice at …I mean…who would I fight with?
And then there’s Facebook. Facebook is reminding me a lot of middle school these days. There are all these groups squaring off in the cafe. People are taking shots at the same folks they went to the mall with last Friday and they’re saying some awful things. Many of us are afraid to speak up because we don’t want to be the next one in the sights. It’s ugly. Combine keyboard courage with post-election anxiety and you have a recipe for disaster. It’s all good though. Because I’m pretty sure we’re only one or two more Facebook debates away from solving the whole damn thing.
And on the flip side….
I woke up today. I woke up today strong and healthy and my headache is probably because there’s a storm coming in. That’s awesome because we’re in a serious drought and all of the wells around me desperately need the water before the ground freezes. And also before the rust stains in the toilets become permanent. (Urban friends, I just lost you, right? That’s ok. It’s a thing, I swear.)
I painted the walls the wrong color, but have I mentioned those walls? They’re in a little alcove in our family room that is all for me. Our friend is building me a little writing desk out of cherry (my favorite) so that it fits into my little nook and he’s bringing it by today after work. The shelves above it are already full of pictures of my favorite people, signs with sayings I love, and a few other treasures. This all came to be because, when we decided to take the big, ugly old cabinet down a few months ago, my husband looked at me and said, “What should we use the space for? Would you like a spot of your own?” and I got all teary because I really, really did…but I hadn’t realized it until that moment.
The argument brewing on my phone is brewing. And I am uncomfortable. I do not like being uncomfortable, but it doesn’t actually hurt me. Maybe this will be the time I figure out how to keep a little space and not get sucked in. Maybe I’ll figure out that I do not need to feel every feeling right along with all the people around me. Maybe not. Maybe it’s not about me anyway, and it’s more important for them to say what they need to say than it is for me to be comfortable every second of every day. (Although I would really like to be comfortable every second of every day. That would be awesome!)
I have seen some nastiness on social media lately, it’s true. But you know what else I’ve seen? I’ve seen people I love and respect articulating their thoughts and opinions and creating conversations built on respect. I’ve seen people asking questions of one another. People with vastly differing views saying “ok…help me understand..” and then trying to understand. I’ve seen people pledging to stand by those who are afraid. I’ve seen hope. I’ve seen courage. I’ve also seen those Joe Biden memes…have you seen those? Totally worth a look…hysterical!
Same day, different lens…thanks to some Tylenol and a little perspective. Thanks Michael.
“Look at the choices you have, as opposed to the choices that have been taken away from you. Because in those choices, there are whole worlds of strength and new ways to look at things.” – Michael J Fox