The Mondayest Tuesday Ever

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Hello! Greetings from a day I wish were already Thursday, but alas, here we are suffering through a Tuesday. Nothing is really wrong? There’s just a lot happening, I’m processing everything right now, and it leaves one tired and longing for a cool beverage on a sandy beach to have a bit of an escape from it all.

Only this time of year, you have no choice but to hop on the crazy train and ride it through the rest of the calendar.

Physical pain always amplifies any emotions we are feeling, so I think my case of the merps is probably more related to that than anything. The universe has decided that in exchange for my bulletproof immune system, I will have one serious injury a year. Last year it was funky finger, this year I tore my achilles tendon. It’s not surgery serious, and I’m not in a cast or anything, but the pain is a burning one, and I’ll take the ache of a broken bone over hot lava burn any day. Since medical advice is for dorks, I still worked my three and a half hour night shift on my feet. Stop shaking your head, it’s fine. I don’t have another double hustle scheduled until next week because I have to go terrorize Atlanta. My minders will be strict with me there and hide my skates.

As far as the emotional stuff goes, I’m still in my head about a lot of things because I’m on this quest to figure shit out so the second half of my life can be even better than the first half. I guess it’s just me being very aware of how I behave and how I can take more ownership of that. One of the biggest breakthroughs I’ve had over the last couple of months has been realizing what’s in my kingdom to manage and what’s not. I lot of what people lob at you is really them working out their own shit. I’ve become really adept at spotting projection, and not owning any of it if it’s not mine. Surprisingly, that’s allowed me to become much more compassionate with these people, because it’s hard to find the fire to fight someone in state of such obvious fear or pain. Last night I found myself telling someone who was just DRAGGING me, that I get they’re hurt, and I really want them to have a nice life. No one deserves to be miserable. If you have everything you have asked for, and you’re still obsessing and or raging, that’s on you. Nothing external is going to fix that.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. Being empathetic and compassionate doesn’t mean giving someone a pass and letting them walk all over you. It’s just detaching yourself from whatever they’re trying to hitch you to that’s creating internal chaos for them. When I lash out at people, I want the pain of whatever is happening to stop. I want to close the open loop of suffering. I say what I want to say, I feel heard, I walk away. I think this is what separates people who move on faster from people who obsess and crave vengeance, even after they’ve checked all of the boxes on the list of what would make them happy and fulfilled.

Both have their good and bad qualities, I guess. I come off as cold and calculating because I compartmentalize my emotions. When the pain stops, I stop. Goodbye, good luck, I don’t need to hear from you again. All emotions on the matter cease. This also isn’t so great because not having a vengeance chip at all makes me seem complacent or ok with someone’s shitty behavior when I’m not. I just don’t have the energy to care about a lost cause.

Until a couple of days ago, I used to see the more obsessive type who crave revenge or ‘justice’ of some sort as somewhat unhinged and weird. Why on earth would you subject yourself to constant scab picking and pain when your life is pretty great? Well, it’s because they’re craving closure so they can move on but they don’t know what it is they even want so they just rage and obsess hoping they find it. Hey, it has its place. This is how mysteries get solved. These are the people who toss their house to find something they’ve lost and won’t give up until it’s found. People like me just replace it and find it five years later.

It finally dawned on me Sunday when I was listening to the kids talk about personalities and how our family dynamic plays out. 2/5 of us are stoic compartmentalists. Use your brain and figure it out, why are you a whirling dirvish of feelings? 3/5 of us are emotional and check logic at the door. Being heard and validated are the closure sought.

So when all of these flailing feelings come at me from the 3 who lead with that, I stand there and slow blink. Then I start debating them to death which angers them more. I can’t deal with all of that energy so I shut it down and walk away. They don’t feel heard and validated, so I’ve now made the problem ten times worse. I am now a robot devoid of basic human emotion, and I think they are insane. The truth is what we’re both experiencing, whether it’s rational or not, is a real feeling.

Let’s be clear, bad behavior is bad behavior. No one deserves to be the brunt of anyone’s rage or to be abused. For me, when I’m face to face with this behavior, I tend to become the cornered rat and match the energy coming at me, but I tire of it quickly and walk away. The walking away is what escalates it. My attention equals validation.

Our behavior does play a role even if we’re the innocent party. Instead of my usual, “Here’s why you’re wrong about everything and stupid,” Power Point presentation, I was just like, ok this person is clearly losing their mind over something and it has to do with me indirectly. This is a very real feeling for them in this moment. So I acknowledged their feelings, asked for clarification, and then moonwalked on outta there. I was surprised at how empowering these recent experiences have been. You can say, “I hear you, but this is not mine to carry.”

Look at me learning how to be less of a dick.

I’m also processing some emotions I thought I had dealt with that are bubbling up again because there isn’t distance to box it all up. It’s real and it’s right in front of me. I’m just sitting with them and feeling all of the things without too much judgment of myself. My mantra this week is ‘feelings aren’t facts.’

At the end of the day, I remember life is good. If my biggest problem is ankle pain and the inability to communicate effectively with my nemesis, well that’s not too bad. Growth and progress ebbs and flows. I had two months of really great energy and momentum, now there’s some realities that need to be dealt with, and doing things the same way that haven’t worked in 15 years isn’t going to magically start working. Nothing has to be resolved today, so let me think things out and give myself grace to process.

Ok, that’s enough group therapy for today. I’m going to go sit outside and read my book for a little while, and hopefully when I come back it will magically be 4pm and I’ll be on my way to the ATL.

Heads up Chicago peeps, I am going to be in a literary festival at the end of September in the western burbs. I’ll have more info on that coming up. I am doing a podcast tonight. I’ve been podcasting every week, but not publishing them because I think they sound stupid. NO MATTER WHAT I will publish tonight’s. There’s also going to be a new chapter of ‘When You’re Far Away’ up this Friday.

Have a great week everyone!

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Jennifer Gulbrandsen