Friday, April 5, 2013

Possibly vs. Definitely

Okay I lied, this isn't going to be fun exactly. But wait! I promise it won't be traumatic or angst ridden. This is simply a funny observation I had this morning that I thought I would share.

This morning I woke up feeling kind of blah. Yesterday I'd felt my lip getting a bit numb but hoped it was just one of those freakish things that would go away. Alas it didn't, and I came to realize this morning, the day before our Special Assembly Day, that I had a cold sore forming. I'll spare details except to say it wasn't going to be one of those cute dainty ones that likes to hide inside your mouth where no one can really see it. Oh no, front and center, top lip. So I did like any 30-year old woman would do. I ran to my mother. Naturally she had something for that and went to her room to get it. She brought out a small tube of topical Lysine.

We were discussing what had caused the cold sore and at some point she said that my system was out of whack. I said that was a possibility. She immediately contradicted me and said that no my system was "definitely" out of whack. Y'know, in that tone which indicates this is an absolute and can not be argued with. We then proceeded to have a brief exchange that consisted entirely of non-verbal communication. The gist of it was this:

Me: *crossed arms and shifty eyes* Translation: Yeah whatever, it could totally be like 5 or 6 other things that went through my head.

Mom: *deep sigh* Translation: Ugh I've annoyed her again though I have no idea how. But I'm totally absolutely and without any possible dispute correct in what I've said. Maybe I should launch into an explanation of why I'm correct about how crappily (Yes this is a real word, it is a verb which means "to care for oneself in a crappy manner.) she takes care of herself.

Me: *shakes my head and nods at the same time towards the tube of Lysine* Translation: Never mind you're right about everything let's just carry on and tell me what to do with the stupid tube of Lysine.

Mom: So what you do with the tube of Lysine is....*launches into demonstration*

The End.

Mom and I have many things in common, but some things we're just polar opposites on. There's something about how we're wired to think, that is just completely contradictory. And I think at least one huge aspect of our differences can be summed up this way: Possibly vs. Definitely.

I am much more comfortable in the land of shades of grey and colors than I am in the land of black and white. When she said my system could be out of whack I immediately thought of a variety of additional reasons and filed my system being out of whack in among the possible candidates. And bristled at my mother's certainty that this one and only cause was the definite culprit.

Is this to say I never see things as she does? Or never believe in something absolutely? No of course not. But it should be a testament to how deeply I believe something that I believe in it definitely.

So what about you guys? How do you prefer to see the world? In possibilities or in definitives?

*Footnote: I am not a mind reader and I feel compelled to point out I can only vouch for my portion of the non-verbal conversation. My translation is based on 30 years of experience knowing her but could be flawed nonetheless.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hemoglobin 212

This probably won't be very easy to read. I know writing it won't likely be. I promise to follow up soon with something more light-hearted!

As most of you who know me well are aware I've had a couple health issues over the last few years. Most recently anxiety issues and I was diagnosed with a panic disorder. Before that I got Bell's Palsy, from which I've recovered somewhat. Most people say I look like I did before, but I know I'm still not the same.

Anyway when I was in the hospital they'd done a lot of tests and in the end the neurologist said there wasn't any reason they could find for my condition. Without doing far more extensive (read: expensive) testing, the best she explanation she could give was that this was a result of stress.

Which brings us to the real topic of this blog entry. We all have stress in one way or another. But I would say most of us likely have a particular stressor that when we experience it, something just kind of snaps within us. I believe I've discovered mine.

While you all know I've gotten sick, most of you don't know what happened shortly before the outbreak of my symptoms.

Only a couple days before I felt the first few twitches in my face that precipitated it breaking down completely, I had to physically get between my daughter and my husband. She'd done something that made him mad, and I saw him chase her down and knew instantly if I didn't intervene it'd be bad. I'm not going to go more into what happened, because, well, I don't want to. The rational part of my brain also feels compelled to point out that the timing of events does not necessarily prove that this incident is directly responsible for the problems I would have later, but c'mon, I'm sure it didn't exactly help things.

Fast forward a couple years later and I'm coming home from the beach with friends. We're getting into our car and overhear a father screaming aggressively at his child in the back seat. The Mom sits there seemingly coolly while I'm eyeing the situation. My heart is pounding and adrenaline is going through my system. I've never felt like the fight or flight expression is more accurate. I either needed to get out of the situation immediately, or I need to go protect the kid. Protecting the kid won't really help anything however since in reality I'm powerless. So driving away is my only option. I hate that I can still hear that kid's voice begging his daddy not to hit him.

The most recent incident is kind of what cements the idea in my mind that this is a pattern for me.

Last Saturday I went out to eat with friends. We were sitting outside the restaurant, it was just us and some other family.* All of a sudden the mom pulls her little boy, around my son's age, away from the table and shoves him  face first into the wall of the restaurant. She beings aggressively telling him something, at this point my ears are ringing and I'm just getting snippets of what she's saying. She leaves him there and goes back to the table. He starts sobbing and she tells him he can rejoin them when he decides to act "like a human." Right because crying over your face getting shoved into a wall by your own mother, is totally in-human. Again fight of flight. This time I couldn't get away. Nor could I fight no matter how much I wanted to smack this woman in the face.

I don't know if it's what's happening that's so deeply disturbing, or is it the powerlessness I feel?

I also want to provide the disclaimer that I know I'm not the parent of the year. Part of why I think these situations get to me the way they do is that I understand what it's like to reach those levels of frustration with your child. So while I now trust myself not to go too far, I know how easy it is to snap and push that line.

I need to stop now because getting this far was pretty unsettling, but if you've made it to the end with me, again you deserve cookies.

But I leave you with these questions: How do you handle situations that make your blood boil? Are there ever ways you can choose to fight and have it end constructively? What if you're in a situation where neither option is available to you? How do you cope without it reducing you to a totally panicked state?

*With the exception of my husband I don't know personally any of the people mentioned in his entry. They were all strangers to me.