Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Emotional Rescue

I read the last post (and fixed a few errors, sorry 'bout that) and was struck by the idea of seeing rage on my (proverbial) emotional horizon. What a bizarro locution. But it's a feeling I imagine a lot of Moms (I'll get to Dads--or men in general--in a bit) know a lot about. It's fresh for me, because today it was right where I couldn't miss it.

I've been feeling sad* and worn for a few days now. I'm coming off a round of antibiotics that make me feel kind of puny, and feeling crummy on a physical level is a touchy thing for me because I come from the Shake It Off school of coping with illness--though, for some reason, I tend to believe that 1)if I barf or 2) if I run a fever, all bets are off and I can do crazy stuff like take to my bed and (God forbid) ask for help; if I can barely move my arms and legs, though, it's No Excuse. Go figure.

But today's been rough: BabyGirl didn't make it to the potty in time five times. FIVE TIMES. I didn't know she pees that many times in one morning. But there are five pair of wet panties in the washer to back me up on this. (She hasn't complained about hurting when she pees so I don't think it's an infection). Plus, talked to a friend about the sad thing and that was hard (not talking would have been hard, too, of course) and it annoyed BabyGirl enough so that she tried to get my attention, which is rarely good. So we watched WAY too much of Bob the Builder and about 5 minutes of the Teletubbies (also WAY too much, in my opinion, because: creepy). We went to the grocery store (no accidents, yay!) and I let the child have a bag of cheetos from the checkout line and I let her eat them for lunch (mostly, she also had a pickle--I'm sure that's what Floyd Landis eats for lunch, right?)

As the morning turned to afternoon, I could feel the pressure building in me. I ordinarily tolerate stuff like replying to the Where's Daddy? question a dozen times in a half hour. No problem. This time it bugged. So did her garbled version of the It's Raining, It's Pouring chant, repeated all the way to the store, reprised now and then in the store, and then repeated more on the way home. (What was I thinking, teaching her that?)

The good news is this: I felt the pressure building, like an enormous belch, and decided that we'd have Quiet Time a little early. And the girl, smartest toddler ever, cooperated. AND after I'd read a story, she looked at me and said, go lay down, Mommy. So I did. No rage, not a bit, just a little reading and blessed sleep.

And, for the record: when I do go into a rage, I stomp around and yell, sometimes having trouble stopping the stomping and yelling. I used to slam my fist into things until I figured out that it hurt like hell and scared people.

Here's my observation about male rage: I grew up around a lot of it so I know what it tends to look like. Men tend to turn it into a fucking Crusade For Justice, Dammit. You hear, essentially, I! AM! BEING! REASONABLE! HERE! and I! AM! JUSTIFIABLY! ANGRY! and so on, whether it's because somebody hit their car and drove away or a kid spilled milk. My inclination in the face of such behavior is to disappear, whether I'm in the room or not, though now and then I'll sack up and say, hey, justly or not, you're being a dick right now so can it.

And another reason I'm so damn familiar with that sort of rage is because I've seen it in myself. And I don't like it, not in a box or with a fox. Not here, there or anywhere. It fucks with people's heads in a way that's worse than just plain ole MY! DAY! SUCKED! AND! I'M! PISSED! kinda anger. And I hope to stay the hell away from it, as best I can.

*The sad thing: Monday we went to the funeral of a five-year-old who died of cancer. I can't write about it just yet, except to say that I never, ever, ever want to do that again, even if it was a beautiful ceremony. Shit, now I'm crying.

Sometimes rage is what comes when you're not dealing with your other feelings.


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