Day 400: The Finger and the Velvet Hammer
Monday, January 31, 2011
Flipping someone the bird outside of my car is a waste of a perfectly good finger.
But that’s what happened last November [when the sugar hit the fan]…
I was standing in front of the elevator, someone walked up behind me [for the 15 millionth time], and said “Take the stairs.”
I had just come from the gym – tons of anger bubbled to the surface and my middle finger sprang up like a geyser [I know. Right? Can you say – anger issues?]
Full-on finger has never really been my thing – even in my car –
Because I am desperately trying not to end up on the nightly news by getting my asparagus kicked by some trucker and I am too busy driving as slow as humanly possible [so I don’t kill any squirrels.]
Once a suicidal squirrel dodged under my tire and I think I needed therapy.
But enough about dead squirrels…
The other day in response to the Food Critic blog, my friend called me the Velvet Hammer. [Cool, huh? Like way cool.]
As a Home Depot groupie – I think all tools are good tools – and hammers are the best. [Seriously, if Home Depot merged with a coffee chain I might consider moving in…]
But I am definitely a non-apologetic hammer kind of gal. Velvet-y? Not so much.
When my neighbor came over to inform me that it would be better for him if I raked my leaves the day before leaf pick-up so “my” leaves didn’t have time to blow near “his” grass, I told him, “It would be better for him to get off my land and mind his business. That if I wanted someone telling me what to do when I got home, I’d get married.”
And just like in the fairy tales - the leaf fairy spent hours piling leaves 7 feet high next to his front curb.
Oddly enough, he has never spoken to me again. [Such a sad loss…]
I know. Right? Anger issues, which boil down to
Don’t touch my stuff or tell me what to do with my stuff or I will tell you to suck it
Or argue to have the last word
Or fight to be heard even if you don’t care about my feelings. [Yes, these people exist. The phone company. My bank. My family, etc.]
That’s it in a nutshell – my anger issues are very specific and well-hidden [like my original hair color], unless the right button is pushed. Otherwise, color me happy [to be left alone.]
And the fact that I can be aloof [read: mind my business] and my gift for seeing humor in things made these issues hard to find.
But they were there…
Extending myself beyond my comfort zone in the spring and summer of last year dredged them up like buried caskets.
I mean dating random people from the internet [‘cause they might be serial killers and I wanna live and I hate dating]
Or inviting people into my home, pretending I am a social butterfly [‘cause it requires me to do far too many things at once – like talk and breath and feign interest]
Or revealing details about my personal struggle – perhaps for the first time [which can be daunting.]
By the time the sugar hit the fan in November, I was giving people the finger and arguing with the Food Critic and other tools [that I never even thought were tools before.]
It was like I woke up and I was angry and I could suddenly see things I never saw before.
And it was hard to process the onslaught of emotions.
It was even harder to admit that
I let words that my mother said to me like “I hate you” or “I will kill you while you are sleeping” or you are “useless” inform all of my anger and self-loathing and my relationships thusfar.
But here is the thing.
The thing that is crucial.
Now, that I have exposed all of my secrets [at least the ones I know of], they no longer rule me.
I have the power and they do not.
And that is the point.
The whole point.
So when my friend called me the Velvet Hammer it made me giggle inside because that was indicative of some serious progress over anger-induced responses - and a hard-won title for sure.
But I’m not gonna lie – I argued with the Food Critic for the first 8 months of last year. It was just so important to me to be acknowledged by someone who did not care.
Because I thought having the last word meant something.
Now, peace means everything.
Peace and good skin and walking around naked when I remember to close the curtains, and gardening but not naked – that would be tricky.
I am just not emotionally-entangled with every brain fart that other people have anymore
Which opens up the door to a ton of choices that don’t involve my finger.
I always have the power to choose. Always.
But I’m not gonna lie – there was a brief moment last week that I wanted to metaphorically put my foot dangerously close to the Critic's asparagus. Instead I just stated my case, and walked away [like who knew that walking away was even a thing?!]
Progress. Good old-fashioned, velvet-y progress.
But I’m not gonna lie – I might have a finger reserved for my neighbor if he ever dares to tell me what to do on my property.
I reserve the right to finger or not to finger
I’m just sayin’.