I had a meltdown this morning. All by myself, in my kitchen. I don't cry - I mean really cry - often, but this morning the tears flowed and I threw myself a good ole pity party. Why can't we sell this house? Why can't we catch a break? I don't want to be here alone all winter again while Paul works in NY. That sort of thing. It sucked. I hate, I mean really HATE feeling like that, and have spent a better part of my adult life learning how to avoid it.
I'm not talking about denial, I'm talking about accepting what is, and finding a way to deal with it. It isn't always easy to do, believe me I know, but the way I look at it, I have a choice. I can spend the day in my grubby t-shirt and pj bottoms, feeling sorry for myself, or I can force myself to take one step towards feeling better. This morning that first step was a shower. It kinda forced me out of the t-shirt and pj bottoms (I've only gotten into the shower fully clothed once and that was when my kids were small and were fighting in the shower. I stepped in with my clothes on and surprised the hell out of 'em. They stopped fighting and then cracked up. It was one of my better Mom moments). When I got out, I was faced with standing there dripping wet, or grabbing a towel and blow drying my hair. One slow step after another. I even made my bed. Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project claims that this one small task makes her feel better (http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2008/12/make-your-bed.html) and she's right. I knew the Breakfast Babes were meeting for coffee at the usual time and although I wasn't feeling very social, I told myself I needed to get out of the house. I was sure my arriving naked would cause everyone in the place to run screaming for the door, so now I was forced to get dressed.
See a pattern evolving? One small step leads to another small step. Thirty minutes earlier I had no intention of joining the girls for coffee, but now I was showered and dressed and the idea of getting out the door was easier. I was even starting to feel a bit better. Still feeling low, but... lighter. You know?
After coffee I treated myself to two new paperback books (The Lace Reader and The Year of Living Biblically) and in the car on the way home I gave myself a good, old-fashioned pep talk. Not "everything's gonna be fine", but "go home, go through that pile of paperwork that's been mounting up, plan a nice dinner for Paul, vacuum the kitchen and keep the faith". I did the paperwork and the vaccuuming, shopped for dinner and am working on the faith thing, and I have to admit, I'm feeling a whole lot better.
I've tried to teach my kids that life is all about the choices they make and then accepting the consequences - good or bad. I want them to know that when life knocks them for a loop - as it will - they can choose to fall into the "Why me?" Black Hole or they can choose to fight back. Fight for the good thought, fight for that tiny sliver of silver lining, fight to formulate a plan, fight to take that first step towards the shower. I guess it's my job to show them how it's done.