My Perspective: Angry Won’t Win

My Perspective Angry Wont Win

It was a gorgeous last Saturday.

 

The sun was shining, the temperature finally represented the month on the calendar and we were ready throw a party. We just needed a few last minute items from the store, because you can’t have a birthday party without ice cream.

 

E and I walked hand in hand, laughing and talking about his party. Once we entered the store our smiles quickly faded.

 

We stood at the entrance and watched in horror as a mother beat her child in the produce section. I’m not sure how many times she slapped him, because I lost count. The store was silent, but for the sounds of her hand making contact with skin and his screams. As the three year old crumpled to the floor crying, his mother yanked him up by the back of his pants and put him back on his feet.

 

I felt like I had just been slapped. Did that really just happen in my hometown grocery store? What is this world coming too?

 

E cuddled closer to me, scared and confused by the entire situation. He even started getting teary-eyed. Immediately I leaned down and hugged him to me. “I feel sad for that little boy,” he said. “Me too baby,” I replied, holding him even tighter.

 

Sadness and anger swept through me as I watched everyone else just go on about their business, even myself. We all did nothing, but watch the horror unfold. Not one of us came to that little boy’s rescue.

 

As E and I continued through the store we had to stop right next to the little boy, his mother and someone whom I’m assuming was his grandmother. The little boy was still crying, tears streaming down his cheeks all while his grandmother berated him, calling him a cry baby and telling him to shut the “f” up.

 

I want to say something to scream at her just like she was screaming at him. But I couldn’t, because I was scared. First of all the woman was a mountain – 6 feet tall, and probably 200 pounds, and if she had that much rage in her heart what would she do to me or my son? I couldn’t risk it, and there wasn’t enough violence to call the police {which made me even madder and sadder}.

 

Choking back tears, I turned to walk away, but not before I saw something miraculous. Out of all the people standing there – store clerks, mothers, fathers and others it was a little old lady who finally intervened.

 

She intervened the way little old ladies do – by doting on little kids. “Awww, it’s ok little guy,” she cooed to the boy. “It’s ok.”

 

For a moment I braced myself as the grandmother turned toward her readying myself for the worst. “You want him? You can have him,” she shouted.

 

Seriously?

 

You know an hour later I had the perfect comeback to that statement, but at the time nothing …

 

I wanted to tell her that I would take him. That I had friends who have lost babies and can’t have babies, and have so many babies, but would take another, because that little boy deserved better.

 

He deserved a freaking chance – a chance to know love, kind words and a life without violence.

 

But I didn’t I just stood there silent, and held my son.

**

The next day, I needed to go to Wal-Mart. Seriously NOT my favorite place to go, but it’s close to the house and I needed a cake mix and some eggs to make cupcakes.

 

Quickly I grabbed all my groceries and made my way to the checkout.

 

As I approached the line, a man was standing just outside the lane talking with his wife, debating which line to choose. I totally understand this as the Wal-Mart checkout is often the abyss and you can spend hours lost in one line.

 

No biggie.

 

Eventually they choose. Picking the line I was standing in. They put their purchase on the conveyor belt, but continue blocking the lane. I attempt to make my way around them and up to the checkout so I can set my purchases on the conveyor belt behind his. At which point, he gets in my face yelling at me. He starts going on and on about how there are people in front of me and I just need to wait my turn.

 

Now…any other time I probably would have kept my mouth shut, and moved to another line, but…after what happened a day earlier there was NO way I was going to let another angry person bully me.

 

So I politely said, “Oh, I’m not cutting in line. I just want to put my stuff on the counter.”

 

Silence and stink eye.

 

He continues stink eyeing me all throughout his purchase.

 

And when he was done I told him to enjoy his movie and have a nice day.

 

At which point he yelled “FU, kiss my a$$.”

 

Awesome, but at least I said and did something.

**

After the two incidents my heart is just broken by the world in which we live.

 

Why are people so ANGRY?

 

Is the economy?

 

Is it stress?

 

Or are they just angry people and will never change?

 

I don’t know the answers, but I do know one thing if you are going to be a bully and an ahole you better expect that I WILL be standing up for myself and others. I’m done letting angry win in this world.

Picture Perfect? My Messy Beautiful

Ok…so maybe just maybe I drank the Kool-Aid and have become a Momastery groupie. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve listened to Glennon’s book Carry on Warrior during my morning commute, and there were many a morning I reached work either crying or laughing. If I’ve talked to you over the past couple of days you’ve probably heard me rave about her honest, inspiring and hopeful story.

 

NEVER has a book touched me so deeply. Perhaps that’s because her life is very similar to my own. Maybe not the addict and arrest part {sorry spoiler alert}, but the others…I’m sure you can figure out which ones.

 

So, when Glennon put a call out on her blog to ask us {the Kool-Aid drinkers} to help her promote the paperback version of Carry On Warrior by sharing  our Messy, Beautiful stories, I jumped at the chance.

 

So are you ready? This is my Messy Beautiful …

 

Messy Beautiful Project

 

It stares at me from the shelf in our living room every day. Four smiling faces perfectly captured with a camera click. Visitors and Christmas card receivers have commented on how perfect the photo looks. “It’s like the one that comes in picture frames at the store,” said a friend.

 

I smile politely, and exhale.

 

That damn photo.

 

Easton Family 2012

 

It resembles so much more than just a family.

 

There’s a story in it.

 

A painful, healing, heart wrenching story.

 

On the day that photo was taken, I’ll admit I was tightly wound.

 

Family photo day does that to a mama who just wants everyone to not freakout and smile when the camera is in front of them. However, all this pressure causes the mama to freakout herself turning her into a raging photo-nazi.

 

I was channeling my photo-nazi that day.

 

Since no one in my family likes their picture taken except me {I’m a narcissist}. I felt the need to make sure we looked presentable, which in my mind means no shirts with writing, including Hawkeye t-shirts, and some semblance of color coordination. This would be an achievable goal until you add the clashing of the redhead and the fact that it was fall and 90 degrees…yes 90…our wardrobe choices were limited.

 

I spent the morning braving the mall and returned home to find pants that didn’t fit the little one. Shirts that didn’t fit the big one and my husband looked at his shirt rolled his eyes and walked away.

 

At which point my blood was boiling. Plus I still needed to decide what to wear. After dumping the laundry basket on the floor, and choosing a shirt that smelled like a smidge of sweat mixed with laundry detergent I was ready.

 

The photos went well, as evidenced by our smiling faces.

 

However, I could have posed for photos all day {you know because I’m a narcissist}.

 

Everyone else had a mean case of the hangries.

 

Instead of going home I made the brilliant decision to go out to eat.

 

Yeah, that did not end well, and it set all our tempers off like a wildfire in a prairie.

 

Eventually, we ate.

 

Silently.

 

We made it home.

 

Silently.

 

I said “fine” a gazillion times while my eyes bore holes into my husband’s head.

 

Things were not fine.

 

They hadn’t been fine for a while.

 

We were struggling all of us, and that day of trying to be perfect just threw us all over the edge.

 

See that little redheaded one in the photo…yeah he has constant PMS {preschool moody syndrome} which manifests itself most often at Target. In front of a crowd of shoppers he will just drop mid-sentence and start flailing his arms and legs, screaming for popcorn. If I pick him up during this time, he will resemble a wild animal, biting, kicking, spitting and pinching.

 

At that point I just leave him lying on the ground, nudging him out of the way of carts and passerby who look at me with disapproving eyes. You know because I’m THE worst mom EVER!

 

Then there’s the big guy {not the seven year old} the tall one who decided to marry a crazy lady. Yep, I’m certifiably crazy. I even have the medical record with the six stays in psych to prove it.

 

When you marry a crazy lady, you run the risk of actually thinking you are crazy too, which leads to all sorts of crazy in the household.

 

One minute I’m the…ahem…perfect wife. The next I’m crazy lady. I attribute this to generations of crazy that have seeped into my body, handed down to me by grandparents and my father who also had his fair share of hospital stays.

 

I have an unofficial diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder.

 

What does that mean? Well, basically have you seen the movie “Girl Interrupted” with Angelina Jolie? That’s me. I didn’t see the movie, perhaps because I live it every day.

 

The definition of BPD is …

Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which people have long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as feelings about themselves and others.

People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly.

People with BPD also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people may change quickly. A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other symptoms of BPD include:

Fear of being abandoned

Feelings of emptiness and boredom

Frequent displays of inappropriate anger

Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting

 Intolerance of being alone

Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

 

Yep that’s me. Through a specialized BPD class at the University of Iowa Hospital, I received counseling. I’m not “cured” as one NEVER is with mental illness, but I can cope. I don’t take meds, because in reality it doesn’t help, and with my past history of suicide attempts the doctor won’t allow it.

 

So, each day I work through it. I use tools I learned to help me through stressful situations. It’s kind of like in the Hunger Games when Peeta asks over and over “Real or Not Real.”

 

Yes, I’m comparing my life to the Hunger Games.

 

Living with crazy for 11 years {almost 12} and being subjected to this “I love you, but I hate you” syndrome has taken its toll. We are both weary and tired. He walks on eggshells so as not to wake the crazy in my head, and I try my damnedest to just be cool. It’s a stressful situation that is made worse by the fact that my eldest son has been passed the genetic short-end of the stick too.

 

He suffers from ADHD, ODD and presumably my same behavioral disorder.

 

His brain isn’t wired the same as other kids. It’s especially hard when I see my friend’s children, the smiles on their faces, the love they have in their heart, the carefree way they play and just enjoy themselves. I wish this everyday for our family.

 

But that is not the hand we’ve been dealt. Instead we worry during every school day, playdate or social situation. Even a family photo shoot could turn into a minefield of insults and violent outbursts. My worry has weighed me down, like a bag of rocks.

 

We walk a fine line with him too.

 

Our new normal is a life filled with medications and therapy appointments. When I asked the therapists if he will ever be able to go without his medications or therapy, they shake their heads no, and so my worry will be infinite.

 

I often have horrible nightmares that my son could hurt himself or someone else. He’s only seven, but with a family history of mental illness and being a white male, and with a theorized diagnosis of a personality disorder, statistics show the odds are not in his favor.

 

We brace ourselves everyday for the craziness that may occur.

 

So on picture day when we were stretched to our limits like a rubberband we just couldn’t stretch any longer and we broke.

 

Words were said, doors were slammed, hearts were bruised and priorities were reassessed.

 

There were two ways it could have gone that night, as I sat there tears streaming down my face. I could have just thrown my hands in the air and gave up, walked right out that door without looking back.

 

But thankfully I didn’t.

 

I fought hard for our beautiful, messy, crazy and f-ing hard life, and held on tightly.

 

There was no way I was EVER letting go.

 

A couple weeks later after the dust had settled and life had resumed to its usual craziness, I received the proofs from our photo shoot. I pondered whether to even order prints, because each time I thought about that day my palms would sweat and my stomach would turn.

 

Then I looked at the photos. There were REAL smiles, laughter, and joy captured in every frame. I grinned remembering on that day I didn’t let go, and neither did he.

 

We were in this together no matter what life throws our way.

 

There was nowhere I’d rather be than with these people.

 

They know my crazy and I know theirs.

 

We accept each other just the way we are, imperfections and all.

 

Oh, and I will never schedule another family photo shoot as long as live.

 

You’re welcome honey.

**

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

Give it a TRI: Guest Post by GoTRIbal Founder Tanya

As a working mom, triathlete and everything in between Multi-Tasking has become second nature. However, there are some lessons to be learned when attempting to take on the world.

 

My super awesomesauce friend and fearless leader of GoTRIbal is sharing some of her insights and advice about women, multi-tasking and all the stuff in between.

 

 

Your mother was right.
Running with scissors isn’t good for anybody – unless you’re a woman.

Tanya from GoTRIbal

If there’s one thing you are probably really good at, it’s multi tasking. And let’s just call a spade a spade here shall we? If you are a woman, there’s a pretty darn good chance you’re good at it.

 

Test: Are you reading this while replying to work emails,  lacing up your running shoes, planning your friend’s 40th birthday invite list, and arranging your boyfriend’s (husband’s, sister’s, kid’s) next dentist appointment.

 

All this has caused the world’s advice and research on “work/life balance” to explode.

 

A friend of mine, Felena Hansen, CEO of a co-working space designed specifically for women, plainly and matter-of-factly says she’s not a fan of this ‘work/life balance’ phrase. “There’s no such thing,” she says.  It’s really just “work-life integration”.

 

But this post isn’t another deep dive into that topic. It’s more to notice the ease with which we, unconsciously almost, seamlessly accomplish this work-life integration through our multi-tasking activities.

 

And yes, I might even have a suggestion or two on how to excel at it.

 

Three Lessons to Excel at Mult-Tasking

1. Being athletes (and a huge number of other roles we all occupy) requires a base level skill in multi-tasking. I stretch my hamstrings while brushing my teeth.  Suffice it to say, my teeth probably don’t get the full treatment, nor do my hammies get the best stretch. But so far, neither have let me down.

 

Lesson: You have reached Super-woman status when you know & practice the difference between multi-tasking activities that are no-brainers & avoid the ones that have disastrous outcomes (texting while driving).  In other words, which are “just get’er done” and which are “I’m not liiiiiisssteeenninggg”.

 

2. My work is spent connecting people. Not just any people, but people with others who can help support them in living their healthiest, strongest life forever.  That means, my life is spent where healthy, active, Make-Awesome-Happen type of people are. (FYI: Brook is one of those people) In any 10 minute period, I’m listening, and then thinking “Who would this person love to know? Who would love to know THEM?”

 

Lesson: This is such tight work-life multi-tasking integration I should call it “Wo-ife”. This kind of multi-tasking is one everyone should aim for. The blurred line of what we’re Naturals at combined with what we can do for a living.

 

3. “Women are better at being able to stand back and reflect for a moment while they are juggling other things.” I didn’t say it, he did.  This really is magic when it happens. I like to think of it as self-awareness in the moment. Like when you’re talking with your husband (sister, kid, parent) for the 147th time about something, and you immediately think, “Wait, what if I worded this differently? Calling him a turd isn’t working.” Then you put the knife down.

 

Lesson:  I would argue that true reflection IS a practice not shared while doing other tasks. You just can’t do it WELL. But we can wield this multi-tasking power best in those moments where we catch ourselves in an action that’s not conducive to bettering our relationships, and do a quick presto-change-o so that we are.  

This is all to say, we can’t be masters of our domain all the time.

 

We try to be. But sometimes we blow it.

 

If we’re already good at something, we are supposed to work at getting better at it.  So, isn’t it right that we focus on getting better at multitasking multi-tasking?

 

Tanya from GoTRIbal

Tanya is the Founder of GOTRIbal, a premier active lifestyle network designed to make meaningful connections and bring relevant content to women who want to lead active, healthy lifestyles. She proudly multi-tasks while integrating her work-life every day.

**
I’m looking for more guest posters for my GiveitaTRI feature. If you are an athlete, wannabe athlete or have a message about body image you’d like to share email me at RedheadReverie{at}gmail{dot}com

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