While my default happiness setting is far, far higher than it was pre-epiphany (and my fuse far longer), I’m not immune to the occasional public outburst nor am I unwilling to pull on my stomping boots at a moment’s notice.
When it’s happening all the time, it’s a bad thing. I know, because: (a), it used to happen to me all the time and it was, indeed, a bad thing; and (b), I lived long enough to see three otherwise reasonable and gentle men devolve into red-faced, screaming poopoo-heads when confronted with such INTOLERABLE HORRORS as someone asking a question they deemed inane, someone doing something in traffic they deemed inane, and television.
No, really, television. Because yelling at the TV, that gets shit done.
Here’s the part that’s good about me acting like a gigantic ass on an ass tear (rhymes with “bare,” not “beer”): it means I’m getting better. In fact, the first time after my Crohn’s hospitalization that I knew I was going to be alright was when I leapt out of bed and roared at the attending nurse for…I forget. It was stupid, and in fairness to me at the time, my brains were right scrambled on mega, mega-dee-degga doses of full-bore steroids. (My doctor had to come in and have a little talk with me about how steroids work…and don’t.) (And yes, I apologized and was nice afterward. Well, nicer.)
When I first get slammed with a Crohn’s flare, I’m weak as a kitty and, provided I am not completely sleep-deprived, pretty meek and grateful. There’s a little inappropriate anger ramping up to the flare which is about me, pissed off at being inconvenienced again, but mostly, I’m good. When I’m really, really sick, I’m great. Grateful.
Then, when I start to get better…ta da! It’s rassum frassum about the littlest thing. Maybe it’s pent-up rassum frassum, me letting loose because I’m angry at myself for being weak and getting myself sick in the first place and screwing up all the things I wanted to do that I couldn’t because now I was sick, dammit. Not really sure about this, but it’s a good thing to meditate on.
Yeah, I know, meditation. Again.
I didn’t want to get into that in this piece. Hell, I don’t want to get into it at all. I made a promise to get back into yoga three weeks ago and the furthest I’ve gotten is transferring my yoga mat to the car. And that’s without even unrolling it first to see if anything started growing in there during its four years of non-use.
What I wanted to address was indicators lights vs. wailing alarms we learn to accommodate, even as we, I, become less accommodating to my highest self and other people, period. You know how that battery first goes on the smoke alarm and you’re all over it, but there’s no 9-volt handy and you keep forgetting to put it on the list, or you put it on the list but you keep forgetting to bring the list with you to the store, and a year and a half later you have someone over and they’re, like, “What’s that beeping?” and you’re, like, “What beep, oh…yeah, the smoke alarm just went out and I need to get a new battery.”
Uh-huh. Or maybe you’re a real Virgo and you always have a backup wardrobe of batteries, but there’s a mole you ignore, or a gently-tightening waistband you too-hot-dryer rationalize away, or whatever. As my friend, Mark Silver, put it so succinctly in his most recent newsletter (which you should subscribe to, because it’s one of the few good ones, especially now that it’s finally HTML, and hallelujah!), “Humans have an almost infinite capacity to tolerate pain and suffering, thank goodness.” (As an ellipsis freak, I might have swapped out the comma for greater humorous effect, but then, I am a clown and he is a gently witty Sufi master, so really, it’s pretty perfect.)
I can catch myself in my rassum-frassums, which I guess is an evolutionary step forward, albeit an incremental one. I’m not sure how early I’m catching them, though, and how much collateral damage I’m creating along the way. The BF was raised on a farm in Indiana, which is to say he’s a bit of a stoic when it comes to sucking it up; I think it was a good two years until I saw him blow his stack, and even then, it wasn’t much of one. Sanguine, that’s him. Or knotted up inside, perhaps. When you’re that stoic, it can be hard to tell yourself, I’m guessing.
Me, I don’t have to guess. If something’s really wrong, it should be noted and dealt with. If the something that’s wrong is me, it should be noted and dealt with even faster.
Oh…and whatever you do? Don’t pour coffee on the problem…