But I noticed it. And I kept trying to self-correct. And yet I still kept failing. Again and again.
Sometimes that’s all we can do.
I was short with my Mom and got frustrated with her because she left me to wrap her Christmas presents for the family while she was cooking. She couldn’t do both things at once. But she never asked and just assumed: a) it would get done (magically?), or b) I would do it for her. In retrospect, she was just doing the best she could. The two quiches she'd been working on for what seemed like all-day long had to get done before we went to my sister’s for Christmas dinner.
So I raised my voice and got testy and felt aggravated. There were 45 minutes til we needed to walk out the door. "So I guess you want ME to wrap this stuff, huh??!!" I half-shrieked. "Huh? Well do you??!!" I was now yelling.
And yes that sounds pretty stupid now but that’s what I did.
Then once we arrived at my sister's house I got bugged with my Dad because he kept shoving his new iPhone in my face and kept asking me to do inane things with it.
Things that didn’t matter. Like how to delete useless data like wrong addresses that Google had auto-populated in the Maps app because he’d mistyped them at some point. How to delete all old text messages so he didn't have to look at them anymore.
I kept telling him to just use what he needed in the damn phone and ignore the rest. But he persisted. And I got mad and my sister intervened and told us to chill out. We were in her house and clouding what was otherwise a very sweet and cheery Christmas dinner vibe. She pulled the "I'm the hostess and you two idiots will behave in my house" card. And she was right.
We were all together as a family. My Mom and my Dad, whose wife had died earlier this year, and my brother’s and sister’s families, nieces and nephews. That was what was important. Who knows if we would ever have this special time together again. People die and move away all the time. I should have been focused on cherishing the moment. But I wasn’t.
Again I had a little internal pep talk. Coaxing myself to relax and enjoy the moment. "Ok, you're fine. Let's just chill out and enjoy the rest of the night with everyone."
But no. I wasn't done yet.
I got angry a little while later because I felt overwhelmed by all that I had to do the next day. Today. Which is all of: 1) Go to brunch with my Dad, 2) Watch my nephew’s 6th-grade team compete in a Christmas basketball tournament, 3) Go to Trader Joes, 4) Walk my friend’s dog, 5) cross a bunch of 5-10 minute tasks of my any.do list. Some of which are semi-fun or at least neutral tasks. When I examined my schedule later last night it actually looked like a pretty fun day. A day that 99.9% of the world would probably kill for.
But again I lost my cool and got huffy and intense with my Dad and everyone else in the room. Which included my sister and her husband who could barely prop his head up on the table or keep his eyes open because he’d been at work since 8am while the rest of us were on vacation and somehow had come home and helped my sister create the beautiful family dinner she had prepared. He was truly exhausted and justifiably so.
Why do I write this? Because in hindsight I realize that I have it pretty freaking good. And that I just need to practice what I preach and posted today on my Facebook page: “kindness. always. just be kind”. Some heartfelt gratitude wouldn’t hurt either.
Right. That's all good and well and totally spot on cognitive correction. Those are exactly the types of thoughts I do need to keep in mind. And usually do.
But sometimes we just can't bring it. We can be conscious of precisely what we should be thinking, saying and doing. And yet somehow, simultaneously our beings develop bizarre "evil twin" versions of ourselves and still act out. Like petulant tweens. And that is frustrating as hell.
Yet it's part of the human condition. Mine anyway. And I remind myself to aim for "progress... not perfection". Just keep trying.
Today is a new day. It’s sunny and the sky is blue and the birds are chirping outside the big bay window. Beautiful. I’m going to try again today.
That’s the beauty of a new day. We can look back and learn on what didn’t work yesterday with some clarity and perspective. And take a breath and inhale some peace into our hearts. And try again to do our best.
I’m going to be a “better me” today. Here goes.