Have you ever had one of those days, ok maybe more than one she ashamedly admits, where you just find yourself feeling angry about everything? I have noticed lately that it’s happening to me more and more. People always said I was such a happy person, always smiling and saying nice things. I was the happy little homemaker, loving wife, caring mother, and multi-talented, yet never masterly at anything, woman. I worried that my kids might get sick or have trouble in school. I worried that my bread might not rise because of a draft in the kitchen. I worried that my sewing project wouldn’t turn out as well as I needed it to. I worried about money, bills, and having enough groceries. I worried that the people I loved didn’t know how much I loved them. I worried that the world wasn’t a safe place for my kids to grow up in. That was a lot of worrying, and yet, I was a happy person. We never had a disaster. We worked through the tough times. We were young and as troubling as some of those things were, there was always the good times and the outstanding times. I was Scarlett O’Hara believing tomorrow was another day.
It’s not who or where I am now. You can blame it on menopause, although I fortunately haven’t suffered a single symptom from it. You might say I was living blindly to reality, but I wasn’t. It could be old age, although I don’t feel that old. It’s not a very nice world out there. Its making me speak more honestly and shocking even me. I find myself saying things to my grandkids, after several warnings that someone is going to get hurt, “Well, I told you so!” when they do. Yes, I still hold them and kiss them, but in the back of my mind I am thinking it’s a cruel world out there kid…get used to it. It’s those moments when you see something about to happen, nothing dire mind you, and you think to yourself, “Should I warn them? Do they realize what’s about to happen?” and in the time it takes you to decide, it happens. It’s everywhere. There are the constant irritants. How about the ridiculous questions you get asked when you go to the doctor? Tell me this hasn’t happened to you. You go to Urgent Care out of desperation because you know you are dying and it’s going to take at least two days to get in to see your family physician, all the while trying to avoid the ER. You sit in a waiting room with people who are sicker than you are. You see the triage nurse who gives you that disgusted look when you say you’ve been sick for more than 24 hours. Then you are put in a room to wait for the doctor. The first thing he says is, “Hello…Mrs. Burton”, with a pause because he had to glance down at my paperwork, “How are you?” I used to automatically say, “Fine”, kicking myself for not being truthful. I never was a whiner or complainer. Now, they get a sarcastic, “Well, I’ve been better!” That is usually followed up with the doctor saying, “So, what seems to be the problem?” Since I would like to be treated fairly and get back out of there with a prescription for a cure, I don’t follow that up with, “Well, if I knew, I wouldn’t be here.” No, I tamp down the sarcasm, play the docile patient, list my symptoms, again, and hope they give me something good so I can get back to my life. I see illness as a roadblock to getting things done. I keep picturing that meme of the woman who says, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
I can have the patience of Job in explaining or teaching something to someone who is honestly interested and trying. I don’t have patience for someone who just wants out of the work, doesn’t care about how well they do something, or is flippant about the whole thing. I am too old for a dressing down by ANYBODY and yet not too old to be told I said or did something wrong in the right way. I don’t like people who hurt other people on purpose, especially those that try to tell you that you hurt them unintentionally, by hurling nasties at you. We can talk it over. I can be civil. I can be apologetic, but don’t play games with me. I don’t forget anything, ever. You will give me a stewpot of things to chew on and I will mix me up a mess of fire to light up your world.
That never used to happen. No, if you hurt me I’d cry, then I’d get over it. It was probably my fault. I’m sorry. Always sorry. Multiple times. I’d forgive over and over. But the older I get, the closer those lines get drawn. I don’t like being angry. I despise feeling hurt. Where I always saw the good in people, even those that didn’t deserve it, I find myself suspicious of intent and agendas now. I still try to not jump to conclusions or make assumptions, but the trust in people and the way of the world is tainted. Not because I choose to be negative, but because I have learned a lesson. A hard one for me. There are bad people out there parading around as good people. There are situations and people that get ugly quickly and relationships that can’t be repaired. It isn’t all happiness and light. There are those who use religion as a front or an excuse who do the most evil things. You don’t have to look far to find the hatred or bullying of others. The more we preach acceptance, the less accepting we are. There are those who will lie to get anything they want or to shame someone else into doing their bidding and there are those who think nothing of throwing people under the bus.
Yet, I have hope. I hope that someday I will not have anything to be angry about. I hope good people once again outnumber the bad and the influences on our children and on us are positive and reinforcing good things. I guess that’s why there are still only days of being angry, not months or years. It’s why I can still find joy in a child’s laughter, get a kick out of something cute they do or say, and why I pray we are giving them a better life. I can appreciate a sunrise or a sunset. I can still feel awe and wonder. It’s why I can still be passionate about things and am willing to take chances for something I believe in. Anger isn’t a pleasant place to reside. Ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s time to burn that house down and build something new.