His words of encouragement, love, affection and support were strong and loving. Why couldn’t I hear them? What is wrong with me? All I could do was recite everything that had gone wrong in the last two hours. Did I have some waking black out? The other night, I had an epiphany. This “ah ha” moment came on the heels of a one sided difficult conversation. My best friend was on the side of the non-difficult. You can guess which side I was on.
Indulge me while I set this story up by telling you some previous information. I had been driving a pretty old, run down van for several years. Having two young adult girls meant having three cars. So, I took the hooptie (for those of you who didn’t grow up in the 80’s – define hooptie) and gave my girls much more reliable rides. My beloved mini-van, among other issues, had no air conditioning. When this spring rolled around I realized I’d better trade up – even if it was just a couple of notches.
The end of April I traded in my old pile of steel and was the proud owner of a vehicle I couldn’t call a hooptie! I was relieved to have a safe vehicle that had air conditioning! That feeling of safety was short lived. Several short weeks later, I hit a deer, and totaled my new grocery getter.
To make this long story a bit shorter I’ll sum up the weeks that followed. I rented a vehicle while my insurance company assessed the damage. That rental broke down and I rented another one. My insurance ran out on the rental before I bought another van. My mechanic, who took my trade in (my original vehicle) offered to let me use my old van until he could find me a perfect replacement. Super nice! But! I was right back where I started, no air, right in time for some extreme heat! Shockingly, I took this all in stride. I didn’t get upset at all. I knew in my heart that it would all work out.
After five weeks of waiting on insurance, switching vehicles and hoping each week would bring the perfect replacement vehicle, it finally happened. My mechanic found an amazing van that would suit my kayak and bike transporting needs perfectly! I bought the vehicle and began to relax. Once again, I had a reliable vehicle that had air and was excellent for everything that I needed it for!
The second day I had this new vehicle I took it out to the lake and kayaked. I’m not a superstitious person so I went to the very lake where I hit the deer and totaled my other van. Here are the actual text messages to my best friend that followed…
9:30PM “Aaaaaaa!!! I have a: hole in my kayak!! A little bitty one but it took on tons of water over the two hours that I kayaked! I am draining it now very very slowly LOL! It should be something I can fix pretty easily!”
9:42 “Aaaaaaaand now my new van's gate is broken. I have to put ties downs on it so it won't fly open. This lake is cursed! LOL! This is a lake I was headed to [when I hit] the deer in the first place!”
9:59 “And then I almost hit another dear! Oh my God!”
The wise crack about the lake being cursed was just a joke, but my ordeal made me wonder for a brief moment. My BFF called me as soon as he got the messages. He was caring, kind and offered support. But I couldn’t hear it. I ranted and raved and freaked out. I went on to tell him that I couldn’t figure out my @$#%&! tie downs, so I had to tie them inside the van by hand, and and and… on and on I barfed anger and hate about the whole situation from the time it started until now. He tried, many times, to gently guide me back to calmness but I was not having it! By God! I was the victim here!
After we got off the phone I continued to throw my tantrum in my house – to no one but myself. After a short time I “woke up”. I sat and breathed and meditated and soon it would come to light that I was being a bit crazy. The next realization was how loving and supportive my BFF was and how incredibly blind I was to it. The doozey of a “duh moment” that was about to ensue was a hard pill to swallow.
The awareness that I have OFTEN reacted this way and made a mountain out of a molehill flooded my consciousness. Not only that, during my “anger blindness” times, I’ve wondered why people weren’t there for me. I didn’t know why they walked away and wouldn’t support me when I was in need. I wasn’t in NEED, I was irate and crazy. And people have tried, but I alienated them with my attitude and anger. Yuck. That wasn’t fun, but they say that embarrassment is a gateway to growth. Oh what a growth time this was!
I promptly texted back my BFF and apologized. I told him how I saw that I had done this in the past and that I’m going to try to catch it the next time. Of course, true to form, he sent a sweet text back telling me we all go through it and it’s no big deal. But it was.
VULNERABLE VS ANGRY
You may be asking why I’m making such a big deal about this. We all get angry right? Yes! We do! And it’s healthy to be angry at times. In fact, I often give my coaching clients tools to let out their anger (in safe ways of course) But, it’s what I was “doing” with my anger. I realized that night that when support had arrived I was choosing that moment to be angry instead of vulnerable.
You see, vulnerability isn’t something that comes easy to me. I am the rock…usually. I cry alone…usually. That’s my role, or that’s what I’ve convinced myself of. In the last two years I’ve tried hard to reach inside and be vulnerable instead of angry. I suppose this wasn’t an epic fail, only a step on the road to learning.
RAPUNZEL RAPUNZEL LET DOWN YOUR GUARD
The other night was actually a huge leap for me. Seeing, so quickly, how my anger was hurtful to me and to others was a big step toward letting down my guard. Taking moments instead of days (or if at all) to allow myself to be vulnerable is certain progress. I am hard on myself, but I am taking that “win” in and using it as a springboard for bigger personal development.
Healing, at least for me, can come slowly. I’m not often patient with myself, which is another personal growth item on my list. My hope is that the next time I endure frustration and pain that I allow myself to cry on my BFF’s shoulder BEFORE the rant. Baby steps.
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