Do you ever have a day when you’re determined not to enjoy one second of it? Like it doesn’t matter what happens, if the clerk smiles at you while you’re checking out at the grocery store, if that nice woman in the blue scion lets you cut into traffic in front of her—you are determined to be stormy?
I call these days “rage days.” Rage days are distinct from bad days, mainly because nothing bad actually happens. The bad thing, for lack of a better scapegoat, is you.
I had a rage day yesterday. This rage day did have a distinct color to it, in that it was more of a “misery day”—the predominant emotion being misery rather than anger, but I still think it fits with the “rage day” principles. No matter what, I’ve decided I’m going to suffer. All things considered, it was actually a really nice day. I started out in a good mood. I was having a GREAT hair day, which always puts a spring in my step. What clued me into the fact that this was a special day was the fact that nothing terrible happened at all, yet I dismantled that great mood with the efficiency and accuracy of a professional.
By the time I fell asleep last night, you would think I was the most pathetic human being on the planet, that my life was the worst life of anyone in the world (Ohhh yeah. In THE WORLD. *eye roll*), and that there was just no hope for me or for the world or for mankind anymore. As much as I find my behavior last night completely ABSURD, at the time I really felt like everything was hopeless.
Why? What happened? I’m tempted to shrug it off as just “one of those pesky rage days again,” but I think that’s a cop-out. I hold the sometimes controversial belief that we’re always doing what we want to do—including emotions—and boy, rage day is a perfect example. The only rational explanation is that I wanted to feel worthless, hopeless, depressed, anxious, upset, and all of the emotions that remind me of Ron Weasley in HP 5 marveling, slack-jawed, that any person could feel “all of that at once.”
Again, whyyyyyyyyy???????????? WHY do I want to do this to myself, over and over again? It’s not like it’s FUN or anything. The only answer I’ve got is the metaphor of the snowball. It all began with one thought. The reason it doesn’t happen every day is that the thought is a very particular one. It has to be just right, at the perfect time. If the beginning thought hits the thought bullseye, it sticks. Now my smoothy-smooth mind has a little bit sticking out for other thoughts to catch on—and let the snowballing commence!
In this case, I am pretty sure the thought was a doubt. I would call myself an optimist, in general. I tend to tow the line of “everything is going to work out alright in the end, you’ll see.” Yesterday I was having a hell of a time writing. I wrote probably twenty pages of crap—which is not actually a bad thing! Most successful writers talk about how much crap you have to churn out before you write anything good and trust me they’re right. The point is that you have to just keep slogging through to get to the gold on the other side. That said, I think I was on about page…18? I was just about to cross out yet another sentence (I handwrite when things get dire) when the thought just popped into my head:
“What if it’s not going to be okay?”
BOOM!!!! Done. Might as well just go to bed because the rest of the day is now crap. For the rest of the afternoon, I just kept trying not to think the thought that had stuck, which is of course completely useless. It was all I could think about! From that point, more thoughts came. “Am I moving in the right direction in my life?” “Do I really want the things I say I want?” “Have I made a huge mistake moving to LA?” They just kept coming until I felt heavy with the weight of the thoughts that had stuck to me.
I know that this blog gets really existential, and often, so I thank you for bearing with me. I do promise that my point has nothing to do with the melodramatic nature of my thoughts. Rather I am fascinated by this sticking thing. I wonder about this “perfect thought.” Personally, I think we humans spend a lot of time trying to keep our vulnerable places shielded, so as not to succumb to the curse of the rage day more often than is practical for being a productive member of society. However, once in a blue moon, the stars align and a thought nails us right in the soft spot—KERBLAM! KO! Dude, it is a huge pain the butt, but at least you can no longer deny that you have stuff there that needs some attention. You have become aware of your sticky place on a self you like to think is smoothy smooth.
In the light of today, I’m grateful for yesterday. I am grateful for that little “heads up” about some issues I have to work through. Honestly, life recently has been so great, I can get complacent. Not to say that it’s wrong to enjoy the good things, but I’ve learned that even when the sun is shining it’s still useful to notice if there are rain clouds on the horizon before you plan a long drive. Life, dear friends, may be short…but it’s still a long ass drive.
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