I won’t belabor the point. It happened quickly, it happened unexpectedly, and it wasn’t good. I’m chalking it up to Christmas stress – has it come early this year? – but the fact is, I got kicked when I was down, and now I’m feeling grinchly.
You know those days when nothing is what it ought to be? (Meetings fall apart, big bills arrive, your computer crashes when you’re on deadline.)
I was already in a funk and chatting with a friend. I was hoping for a nice, pleasant (and diverting) distraction from a heap of worries, but I said something that set her off. That triggered a reaction, and that triggered a reaction and… one misunderstanding led to another until I exited the conversation – feeling slammed.
I’m guessing she didn’t realize the impact her words had on me. I’m also guessing something is going on with her, and I was too obtuse (and self-involved) to notice at the time. Suffice it to say – when you put two adults together and they’re both in a bad mood, stressed to the max, or down in the dumps – you’re likely to wind up with raw nerves, poor communication, and both retreating to lick their wounds.
And then there’s fucking Christmas.
Now come on. You know I adore the holidays. But must we really be prepping for Retail Mania as soon as the Halloween candy goes on sale? Must we really be selling trees on Thanksgiving evening? Must we really be bombarded by tinny tunes and cyber promotions and blinking lights on the neighbors roof? The very thought of decorating, cooking, shopping (not to mention more bills) is enough to make me want to hibernate until Punxsutawney Phil decides to show his furry face.
I’m feeling a creeping Scrooge-like pall stalking my every encounter with artificial cheer. And while we’re supposed to be perky and sparkly during December, what if we’re not? Can we at least admit now and then that life ain’t easy – and without risking the wrath of the positive attitude crowd?
Usually, I have emotional reserves to fall back on, even when I’m pooped. But the reserves are AWOL, stiletto therapy is of no avail, and I’m waiting for the other (ahem) shoe to drop, though more have dropped than I have (tired) tootsies to accommodate.
Let’s face it. There are days when we feel our vulnerability more intensely. There are days when sleep deprivation, work stress, chronic pain, money worries, kid conundrums, family issues, dating disasters – or all of the above – take their toll. There are days when the Internet goes down and it’s the straw that broke the camel’s back, or the heating system stops working and you’ve just forked over a grand for some other crazy repair.
So how do you deal – short of an M & Ms meltdown?
These aren’t tragic moments or dramatic ones, but they are enough to push most of us closer to an edge – and leave us edgier at that. Especially this time of year.
Then again, maybe I’m being too sensitive. Maybe I’m being not sensitive enough – to my friend. I may have to dig out the Santa hat and faux-ermine scarf, smile for a stupid selfie, and hope to mend fences over idiotic pics and a change of subject.
And I can fall back on my Scarlett O’Hara approach to life: Tomorrow is another day.
While I’m at it – while we’re all at it – let’s recognize that any one of us is subject to an unanticipated series of snarls and snafus that can leave us drained, demoralized and down. That doesn’t make us a permanent buzz kill; it does mean that we’re human.
Image of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Wiki, Public Domain.
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