Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An Expert in the Art of Hate-Fu

"I'm furious, but I sure as hell am not going to waste it on a tantrum. I'm gonna mine it, save it,... I'm going to use every bit of it to take him down."  
"Wish I knew how to use that hate-fu."
 - May to Skye,  Agents of Shield.

This past week has been riddled with challenges. One question has been lingering around conversations so much that it necessitated a blog.

Disclaimer: I don't waste much time on 'hate'. It's a particularly strong emotion that takes up a lot of time and energy that I could put towards other things. That has its uses.

A friend asked me how I was 'really' feeling about the failed ongoing delays in adopting. I rattled off the usual (completely honest) reply, "I'm baffled and frustrated that a financially stable, happily married couple in their 30's, can't seem to 'get there' in 3+ years. It's not that we're 'waiting' for a baby. We want to adopt older, waiting, kids. I am at a complete loss. So I've done my best to shut that door, walk away, and not worry about it. It's entirely beyond my control at this point."   Usually the reply is, "Aren't you mad?! I'd be so mad if I were you! Hell, I'm angry FOR you!"

The answer? "Sure, I was really frustrated, but I'm somewhere else with it now. I'm to the point where 'I'm sorry,' can't fix it. Yelling, screaming, and throwing a tantrum won't help either. All I can do is wait - and either let it drive me crazy on a daily basis, or not."

"But how can you be so calm about it?!"

On another day, I also was out breakfast after yoga with a few friends and they chatted about Navy Submarine Wife frustrations. All very common and all things I 'get' in that way someone who has been in the situation can understand. But, while many vent to their sailors about it, I don't.  I figure he's already got a lot to deal with. He doesn't need me freaking out too. I am acutely aware that every communication we have may be the last, so I choose my words carefully. Long before we got married, we both agreed that words, once said, can never truly be taken back. You can apologize, but that's like putting salve on a wound. It can help it heal - but there is still a wound there. I realize he doesn't have a choice over his situation. It's not his fault - and screaming at the command or hating them only makes it even harder. At least for me. Conversation very quickly turned to "How can you be so calm?!"

As if to ice the (paleo, of course) cake, Trainer Guy walked up to me to start our session the moment I received word that My Sailor's return home has been indefinitely delayed. While I never know when exactly My Sailor is coming and going (and schedule changes are no big surprise in the Navy), I'll admit, the news was surprising -and disappointing.

I have to admit, Trainer Guy and the Navy had perfect timing. I couldn't have planned it better myself.  I was grateful to get the news just before my lifting session.

I had a way to flush out the stress immediately at my disposal.

Maybe the real question isn't, "How can you be so calm?!"

Maybe it's, "How can you be so patient?"

The thing about time is that it doesn't care if you're mad. It doesn't care if you're ecstatic. It's going to continue to tick by either way. It's arguably the only commodity we can't get back. So how I spend it, and what mind frame I'm in, is very important to me. Spending it angry or beating my head against a wall (any more than is absolutely necessary for self expression) is a waste of that commodity.

In some aspects of my life, I'm learning to be more patient (just ask Trainer Guy any day of the week about my First Pulls...). But in these situations, it tends to come naturally.

I take the unadulterated aggravation, express a bit of it, and file it away.  I have plans to let it out - so don't think that I'm swallowing it all.

This time, it'll be on Sunday - during the Power Lifting Competition. Usually, it's whenever I need it, doing something physical - going for a run, for example, or (as my current favorite tank top says) lifting heavy sh*t.

That doesn't mean it sits there and festers and takes hours off my life, or gives me a pessimistic view of life. It's actually out-of-sight, out-of-mind until I call on it, or someone brings it up. Both times it's a well controlled slow burn...

While my easy-going nature may make the ripples hard to see - I am human, after all.

Anger, like any emotion, can be productive. Discontent is often the first step to real, lasting change.  (When was the last time you changed something you were happy with?) But I only have so much emotional energy to invest every day. So, as one of my favorite characters/actors has said -

"To be angry is easy. But to be angry at the right men, and at the right time, and for the right reason…This is difficult.” – Armand Assante, The Odyssey.

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