Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Solitary Confinement

I gave myself a time-out this weekend.  For the same reason, you give a child a time-out.  I needed some alone time to work on getting a better attitude.  It had kind of been building for several days and peaked about the middle of last week.  I knew I was in trouble when I found myself in a meeting and had the urge to snap at someone who challenged my opinion in a tone that I felt was a tad angry sounding.  I have a pretty thick skin, but I was feeling a bit raw the other day and couldn't let the words roll off of me.  That's not like me.  I've worked in uber-competitive environments for years and can usually look someone in the eye and calmly state my case.  But in this instance, I felt a full blown, hysterical Hula attack bubbling up my throat that caused me to count to three and silently scream for Jesus to take the wheel and drive me straight into a field of rosebuds and grazing unicorns instead of that Thelma and Louise cliff I was headed to.

By Tuesday, everything anybody did ticked me off, and by Wednesday, I waved a white flag and told my coworkers I was taking a vacation day on Thursday.  It was either that or wait for someone to hog tie me and drop me at the county line.  I spent four days doing as little as a could to please anybody else and thinking a lot about priorities.  It was good.  I'm a lot nicer this week.  At least I think I am.  Let's just say no one's challenged that notion yet. 

While I color outside the lines a lot, I generally play by the rules.  I show up when I'm supposed to.  I go to church.  I vote in every election.  I pay my bills.  I pay Papa T.'s bills.  I volunteer.  I sit on committees.  I attend meetings.  I exercise.  I order the grilled chicken instead of the burger.  I don't drink to excess.  I don't do drugs.  I read books.  I teach myself new things.  I'm the room mother, the Project Graduation volunteer, the committee chair and a vacation bible school decorator.  In general, I do what I'm expected to do.  And I have a good time doing it.  But somewhere in the past few weeks, I started developing this resistance to do what's expected.  Why be responsible when so many other people aren't?  There's no trophy for it.  No big prize.   Other than self satisfaction and contentment with a life well led.  Which is a big deal, but I just wasn't feelin' it last week.  I reached the point where I didn't care about anyone else's problems, I didn't want to hear anyone else's opinions and I certainly didn't want to do something that someone else could have or should have done.  I was just spent.  Tired of being responsible and tired of being nice.  Do you ever get tired of being nice?  Where you don't want to smile at strangers, you don't want to say thank you and you don't want to overlook the smallest slight?  Where you wanted to tell that cranky clerk at the doctor's office exactly what you thought about her rudeness or you wanted to call up every  mean girl from high school and tell her what a b**** you thought she was in freshman algebra?  And how funny you think it is that her butt is now ten sizes bigger than yours?  Yeah, that's where I was at.  So I checked out.  From Thursday through Sunday.

I painted chairs.  I shot some engagement pictures for a couple.  I cleaned a fence with Hubby and made some time for us to have a couple of meals together.   I ordered the chili cheese dog and the soda.  I did nothing related to my job.  I put Papa T. about third on the priority list and I finished a good book.  When I woke up Sunday morning to a quiet house after Hubby had left to sit with Papa T. I made the executive decision to skip church.  I edited photos, I baked a fattening pound cake with blueberry sauce, and I pondered the things that are important.  I was not in charge of anything.  I didn't give my opinion, and I pretty much didn't give a diddly dang about anything other than some time with family.

By the end of the weekend, I had remembered that it's important to take care of myself, that people's experiences make them the person they are with the opinions they have and that sometimes people grow and change for the better with time.  I also reminded myself that one really big lesson I learned with Sissy's addictions and suicide, you can't change people.  You can't make them do what they should do if they don't want to.  No matter how much I show up, how often I vote, how often I advocate for what I believe in or do what I think is right, I am not responsible for others' choices.  I just need to tend to my little corner of the world and not be judgmental of others' decisions.  Sister mercy, that's a hard one for me to adhere to.  Anyway, long story short, I'm a lot nicer today than my toddler self of last week.  I have resolved to adjust some behaviors and attitudes, and I'm out of the naughty corner.  At least for the time being. 
Coming Soon....pictures of my chair project.  Girlfriend can paint productively when she's got stuff to think about.          


Linda said...

Oh my! You have just written my life a few weeks ago! Although, instead of giving myself a time out, I just generally made my husband miserable for a few days! Your way is MUCH better and I promise to try to remember it when I just get plain sick and tired of being good! My mantra has to be "I am NOT Superwoman"...over and over again. It really is okay to not be everything to everybody, and to occasionally just have a day where you don't get out of your pj's if you don't want to! Glad your are back to being a grownup this week. Welcome to the club! And, thanks for sharing a part of yourself with us!

Janis said...

LOL..sometimes you just have to Lament like you just did in this post! One important thing you found out is...it's ok to take care of yourself first and not be labled selfish. Happy to hear your mood has lifted and your ready to be back in society.

the parishioner who doesn't do anything said...

Have you seen the parody "Cletus Take the Reel"? If not, find it on the Internet and watch it. (And Cletus might be spelled wrong because you know I can't spell.)
And be careful about spouting off in the doctor's office. Mom did that a few years back and she hasn't found another dentist she likes yet, and the other woman won't make her an appointment. Just saying, you better be nice to those receptionist types. And mostly, I'm glad you took some time. I plan to take a lot of it in about 4 weeks. Love ya! Hope I get to see you this summer. :)