We have a division of labor in this household. By mutual agreement, my husband is responsible for: taking out the garbage, killing any insects that violate the sanctity of our domicile, keeping meticulous track of various professional sports teams and then inflicting this information upon me, and doing the laundry. I wage a constant battle against the clutter that manifests on our counters and kitchen table, make breakfasts and lunches for the kids, drive everyone to all the places ever, clean the floors, and formulate our survival plan in case of zombie apocalypse. There is some overlap, of course. We alternate cooking dinners and pinch-hit on the other stuff when the other person is out of town or otherwise unavailable. It’s cool.
For some reason, though, on this one particular day, I completely lost it. Actually, I know exactly the reason. It was one of those days where I had neglected to eat well, drink enough water, exercise, shower, or attend to myself in any way. (Do you have a mental image? Good. Burn it into your brain. BURN IT.) I was feeling a tad resentful. When I wasn’t pulling driver duty, I was at the computer or hunched over my phone, working. I felt gross, tired, hungry, and bitchy. Every bit of the shittiness I was feeling was a direct result of my own choices, but I was more in the mood to externalize my personal responsibility. It’s so much more fun, sometimes, to sit around wondering why bad things happen to good people, than to acknowledge that I could do something about it any time I wanted. So, this is the state of mind I was in when my kid decided to give me crap about not doing laundry. “Daddy says you don’t do it very often, so I’m worried you’ll screw it up.” Daddy happened to be out of the country at the moment, lucky for him; thus I was on laundry detail. This is nothing, right? Just an offhand comment by a child trying out her snark button. But it was the very worst thing to say to a dehydrated, cranky, frazzle haired woman in stained pajamas who had only consumed four Triscuits and a cheese stick since 7 a.m.
Unsuspecting husband in another country gets this text from me: “Don’t do my f*cking laundry ANYMORE! I’d rather live in filthy clothes than have it thrown in my face!” Let us pause to imagine his befuddlement as he tries to decipher what in the hell this means. His reply: “Are you okay?” Followed by: “I love you. I love you. I love you.” Thumbs flying furiously, I fill him in on my day and by the last text, I feel like the idiot I am. He says: “Please do something to take care of yourself.” And right then, the veil drops and I get it. If I am not doing everything I can to be the healthiest person I can be, I am being a humongous asshole to the people around me who love me. It is actually incredibly selfish. I realize I’ve fallen into the role of martyr – the role I’ve hated since my guilt-ridden Catholic childhood. I realize that I can choose to drink some damned water and have a bowl of cereal. I can let go of this big, stupid ball of victimy anger.
I did the laundry. I didn’t screw it up. No children were harmed.
3 Things That Were Good:
1. My laundry freak out led to a conversation about taking care of myself which led to me going to get my hair done, which was long overdue. And now it is sleek and shiny, and I have promised to care for it, and myself, diligently.
2. I road tripped to SoCal with Barbara Sirois Doyle in order to interview several fine actors and one world class musician (stay tuned), and when all the work was done, we sat on the beach in Malibu enjoying lunch and cocktails. It was a golden day and the air was soft and smelled like saltwater, and I remember taking mental Polaroids. I could hear the snick in my head. Remember this moment. Remember this feeling. This life is good.
3. Today is my birthday, and I am spending a goodly part of it writing in my Tiny Office Pod. It is sunny and crisp, and I can see all the leaves blowing around in the backyard through the window as I snuggle beneath a fuzzy throw on my small couch and type. I’m grateful.
2 Things I Did Well:
1. Rose to the occasion. There’ve been so many exhilarating and moderately terrifying situations I have found myself in these past few weeks as Sweatpants & Coffee grows. I’ve discovered the way to cope is to breathe deeply, rely on the talent and wisdom of friends and loved ones, and to repeat under one’s breath, “Damn, baby. Be cool.”
2. Wrote without self-judgment. I’ve written some truly terrible sentences this past week, guys. Real stinkers. But that’s how good writing starts. Smart people tell me so.
1 Thing I Am Looking Forward To:
I was going to say Mockingjay, which I really am looking forward to seeing. But more than that, I’m excited about the birthday nap I’m gonna take.
What is your Joyful Meditation this week?