Thursday, October 29, 2009

temper tantrum residue

Yesterday morning I had a temper tantrum that rivaled any 2-year-old screaming at the top of his lungs, face down on the street, with his exasperated mother looking on in horror. I'm not sure where it came from. Things had been fine. I woke up at 6. Wrote. Got Iz up at 7, with the daily tears and despair about being overtired. Got her out the door, with the usual last minute insanity of outwear choices, shoe options (I refused to let her wear rain boots and then carry sneakers AND flats to alternate during the day), making sure she had her phone (that I charged) and her homework (some was left on the table). Then, it was Jack's turn. He's been staying up super late lately, coming out close to 11 to give me lovely good night hugs and kisses, but that missing sleep leaves him exhausted and cranky as all hell the next day. Yesterday I just couldn't wake him up. So, I stopped trying for a bit. I was also in the basement loading up monster loads of laundry, which set me back time-wise.

So, in the end, Jack had 20 minutes to get out the door. And of course, all his pants were in the laundry. He had nothing to wear. That's not quite true—he had 3 options, but none of them were apparently remotely considerable. He was tired and started to freak out. Time was passing and as he carried on about pants, the breakfast he had no time to eat, and what a horrible mother I was for not getting him up on time, I lost it. LOST IT. Screaming at the top of my lungs, I stalked off, slammed the door to my room and started throwing things. Pillows. Laundry. Blankets. Ripped the shower curtain down. Jon got Jack dressed, squeezing him into a pair of too-small pants by cutting open the waistband. At that point I was past caring that they were brand new and I had been planning to return them. And then, still fuming, I still had to take him to school. The faster I walked, the slower he moved, trying to dry his eyes so no would would know how upset he was. I got him to the school's front door 7 minutes after school started, but apparently not late enough to need to sign in.

I got home, burst into tears, threw myself on the couch, slamming my head against the arm with no cushioning. There's now a sizable bump towards the back of my skull. I realized later on, in yoga, as I was lowering myself to the floor from plank pose, and a pain shot into my hand, that my elbow was swollen, and a huge purple bruise was covering the back of my arm. This morning my palm is puffy and my entire forearm is tender to the touch. All the result of a slammed door that whipped back at me.


So, what happened? I had never lost it like that before. I was literally stamping my feet and shaking by the time I was done. Fortunately, no one saw me at my worst. But I scared myself for a moment or two. I think I'm handling things so well. On the surface everything is getting done. Homework's finished. People get to where they're going (almost always) on time. All my work is turned in on schedule. We've got food, clean clothes, regular bedtimes. I'm making FLOW contacts every day, keeping on top of PR as much as possible. I'm making films, tweeting, posting, emailing. I volunteer at 2 schools, practice yoga, even made fresh whipped cream at 7 this morning for Iz while Jack got up early to test run his new bubble bath.

But just under the surface—I think you'd barely need to scratch it—I'm shredding apart. This last ramp up to FLOW's release is fraught with anxiety and doubt. I have to get up and talk in a couple of weeks at a book launch party. What will I say? Will anyone come? What will I wear (that's the one that's troubling me most at the moment)?

Will people buy the book? Will anyone pay attention? Will I get to do another project? Will I have the energy and desire to go through this again?

I DON'T KNOW. And I hate not knowing.

I think I figured out where the tantrum came from.

Day 29 will be all about breathing.


Jeremy said...

When you bottle up pressure, of course there's going to be an explosion. It's ok to let it out, to give a voice to doubts. That way those doubts can be countered by those who know that things are, in general, going to work out great. Sure, there will be bumps in the road, but those are just minor diversions and annoyances. On the whole, things will proceed successfully. And this applies to FLOW and your future projects as well.

Anonymous said...

My head is in my hands because I SO RELATE! You are not alone! Control is so hard to relinquish- it takes over our bodies, mind and soul. You hate not being in control- I have read it since we have connected on FB. The sad thing is you know what you have to do to let it go but it is so damm hard to do.

About six months ago, I was going through a rough time with neighborhood mother/friends and it was affecting every aspect of my life. One morning at 6 am, my spin instructor handed me a book called Positive Thinking Every Day- inside she wrote: "Never let anyone put out your love for life". From that moment on, I decided to strive to not let anyone take away my light again.

Don't do it Elissa, you have worked too hard. Your night will be just that YOUR NIGHT. And your light will shine and the people who come that night will be there to support you, temper tantrum lady! Because you are just like us but more accomplished than most!

Give your kids and John and yourself extra hugs tonight!