I was in a pretty great mood yesterday. We’d arrived home from a wonderfully relaxing vacation, but no one knew I was back yet, so no one could ask me to do anything. I had a list of things to accomplish, and, after the freak snow storm we faced down last week, it felt great to be out of the house in a t-shirt and khakis with the windows down in the car.
I had just rolled up the windows as I was merging onto the freeway when someone fired a high-powered rifle at an imaginary bulls-eye in the middle of my windshield. OK, I think it was actually just a rock or a bolt or something kicked up by the van in front of me, but it sounded like a gun and scared the living bejeezus out of me.
I swerved. I screamed. I’m not sure in which order. I pulled it all back together after a few seconds and realized that I hadn’t been shot, but that I was now staring down what looked like a really deep gash in my windshield.
I should have gotten right back off of the freeway to calm down, but I did not. Instead, with tears streaming down my face, I roared up on the tail of the van that may or may not have kicked up whatever projectile hit me. I tried to get a photo of it, somehow imagining that I’d call the company and demand that they pay. I attributed malice aforethought to the driver. As I drove dangerously close to him, I screamed like a B-list actor in a war film emptying my last rounds of ammunition as I charged the enemy line, knowing I’d be dead soon but determined to take as many of the bastards out with me as I could.
So, yeah, I kind of lost it.
You could say, if you wanted, and if you said it in a gentle tone of voice, that my reaction was wildly disproportionate to the incident that sparked it. You’d be right.
I did get off the freeway at the next opportunity, realizing both that I shouldn’t be trying to commit vehicular retribution and that I actually meant to get off at that exit so I could get my errands done. Shaken up, I pulled over for a few minutes to try to breathe and calm down.
Breathing, I accomplished. Calm, I achieved in part, but only because I plunged very quickly into a stormy mood that involved continued tears and sniffling.
It took all of my energy to keep that mood from settling in to stay. Picking up my husband was one of the errands on my list. He assessed the situation and wisely suggested that we get lunch, realizing before I did that I’d let a much longer time than usual lapse between breakfast and lunch. We got healthy food, but it took willpower³ to prevent me from ordering a Diet Coke. I was having the I deserve it feeling that has, in the past, triggered very bad emotional eating behavior.
So, perhaps I was pushing things by continuing on, after dropping him back home, to the grocery shopping errand. I filled my cart with unbearably healthy food, but then rolled right into the bakery section and stopped. I closed my eyes and sucked in as much of the air around me as I could. I was on the brink of treating myself to something that involved grocery store buttercream frosting, which I’m fairly certain is vegetable shortening with sugar and food coloring, and which I love like a junkie loves free smack.
But I walked away. I stared down the giant, garish blue and pink and green and orange and black swirls of sugary fat that a diligent baker had blobbed onto fist-sized stumps of cake and tarted up with sprinkles and edible glitter, and I walked away.
I am quite certain that I was talking to myself, but I really don’t care. I was reminding myself that eating was not going to un-crack the windshield, or make it any less painful to pay to repair it.
I was definitely feeling sorry for myself, feeling like I’m going to be having these crazy-lady conversations with myself over and over, day after day, for the rest of my life, and really resenting that fact.
Damn it all, I want this to be easy every once in a while. I want to exist in my body without feeling like I’m on the brink of losing control of it. Dammit, dammit, dammit.
I pulled it together, but sometimes the cost of doing so feels really high. I know it is worth it, but thanks for letting me mope.