long ago, in an event hotel far, far away…
I remember very distinctly sitting in a hotel room, angry and sad, looking across at my friend Mollena, who was also angry and sad. We were angry and sad at each other, in fact, due to some communication glitches that got blown into full-fledged perceived insults and ended…well, with us sitting there, completely aware of where the mistakes/misunderstandings had been, but still, angry and sad.
I think it was her who said it: “You know, we teach this shit. You’d think we’d be better at it.”
Over the past couple of days I’ve had a few situations that have not gone as I might have liked them. Possibly the only advantage I had was that there was a part of me able to step outside of the situations and see the big picture, to understand at least my own reactions. Ah, you are feeling X because Y happened and that’s a trigger for situation Z with a side of Q with P sauce…
In some cases I could even see some of the other side: Ah, they’re reacting that way to that statement? That reveals some interesting insecurities. Wonder what kind of baggage they’re carrying there?
In all of the cases I was able to, at a minimum, extricate myself from the situation and stop it from escalating. In some it even went on to much happier places.
But that didn’t do a damn thing about the feelings. The anger, hurt, self- and other-directed blame, the natural reaction I have to want to fucking hit something when I get truly pissed. Even with that nice birds-eye analytical view, I was still furious in all these situations, at some point.
You know, the kind of furious where you try to just breathe. To just get through one…more…second without breaking anything. Where you have to basically throttle your brain. No, that’s a blaming thought. No, that’s a guilty thought. No, that’s extrapolation.
Bringing myself back to the here, the now, over and over. While feeling the waves of anger, guilt, and shame just wash over me. Hearing my own voice, as I’ve taught in classes over and over, describing how to get past drama, past a scene gang aft agley, past the past.
You know, I teach this shit. You’d think I’d be better at it, and maybe, maybe I am getting better at it, just a little.
But in case anyone’s wondering: it doesn’t get any fucking easier.
3 thoughts on “Practice”
Thank you for the brutal honesty in self-reflection. There’s some minor comfort in seeing the words and struggles in one’s own head and heart brought forth by another, for although the burden grows no lighter, seeing others with a similar one may alleviate the sense of isolation in the struggle.
Practice, my friend, and find a partner to whom you can say; “I’m having a feeling.” Then having that accepted as that, and nothing more, or less.
And you’re the better man for seeing it, Gray. My tongue does not bleed often enough. But, I’m old and people consider the source.