Sweet, honest Natalie.
We had a bit of turbulence throughout our morning today. No gales or typhoons, mind you, but enough rough patches that I ended up expressing my displeasure in a rather loud way that may or may not have involved yelling into a pillow. The girls convened with each other in whispers and then tiptoed into the other room, emerging several minutes later with the above letter held in front of them like a shield. There were giggles, kisses, and plenty of “I’m sorry”s nuzzled into forgiving ears, and the girls cheerfully got back to their day. I, on the other hand, spent the next hour in mental self-flagellation.
I have never been not frustrated as long as I can remember. I don’t know how much of this is my personality and how much of it is from growing up in an environment where perfection was expected with the understanding that I would never be good enough to attain it. I still don’t get how a too-heavy sense of responsibility can coexist with utter helplessness, but the mix has stewed under my shoulder blades for nearly all of my life.
Most of the time, it’s just sort of there, not doing anything worse than fogging up my sunglasses. Other times though—for instance, if I’m tired or hungry or, God save us, both, or if I have to call any form of customer service, or if (hypothetically) it’s the second morning of post-vacation summer break and the girls and I can’t remember how to occupy the same house without sounding like screech owls—in times like those, the simmering mess bursts like lava up my throat, and the only way I can find to direct it is out. Thus the mistreated pillows and the formal requests from my kindergartners to please not be so grumpy.
There have been some Conversations around here lately about my similarity to Vesuvius, and while I’d be happy to cut back on the lava eruptions, I simply don’t know how. My coping arsenal consists of two strategies: 1) remove self from the frustrating situation, and 2) put a lid on it. The problem is that #1 is rarely an option—I often feel helpless in the face of existence, and there aren’t many socially acceptable ways to take a breather from that—and #2 usually just results in the lid rocketing out with the rest of the molten angst. All new frustration! Now with projectiles! Hard hats recommended!
Ergo my question: Which direction besides downward or outward do you channel chronic frustration?
Revised question upon realizing that you probably don’t have a stratum of helpless negativity simmering somewhere south of your clavicle: How do you deal with turbulent mornings without earning a cease and desist letter from your six-year-old?