I walked into my faculty meeting this morning and was greeted by total darkness. Funny, since the night before, I came home to the total darkness of a power outage. And when I had arrived home, I was already mad. Consequently, all the anger and frustration I'd been feeling for days and weeks and months suddenly came out sideways.
And it came out on my car tire.
I got out of the car. I threw down my purse. I stomped my feet. I shouted at no one in particular. And then I kicked the ever-living shit out of my front tire. I kicked so hard and long that I was either going to flatten my tire or break my foot. So, after a good 45 seconds of continual muttering, cussing, and kicking, I sat down on my front porch and came to a conclusion.
This is not the end of the world.
I went inside. I came up with a plan to charge my phone off of my laptop. I posted a couple of wry and sarcastic statuses. I enjoyed a game or two of WWF. I obsessed about when the t.v./air/lights would come back on (because these are my needs in order, by the way), and then I obsessed about going to sleep with the blinds open because 1) Someone might peep in and see me sprawled upon my couch and decide to kill me for the $12 in my purse or B) someone might peep in and see how disgusting my house is, decide my $12 is not worth the trouble, and bother my nice neighbors instead. Then I was slightly depressed that my house might be too filthy for even your average low-life meth head. Once I decided I would probably live, in spite of the open blinds, I closed my eyes, drifted off and waited to be jolted awake by either the television's reappearance or my alarm clock. And I got over myself.
So, as I rolled into work and noticed the impending darkness and the electric company truck, I immediately started checking out the nearest thing I could kick. I encountered an available person who was determined to make my morning turn ugly when I made a choice.
This was not going to ruin my day. It wasn't because I wasn't going to let it.
My kids (and others) totally freaked about the small things...
"I can't see my locker combination!"
"Do I need my binder?!"
"How will they cook lunch?!"
"Will we get to go home early?!" (which, face it, we ALL were wondering)
"What will we do about flushing the toilets?" Uh... toilets are not electric. Helloooo? (This was asked several times, even by some adults).
I answered each question as patiently as I could sans sarcasm, grabbed my 30 kids, a sack of markers and paper, and their writer's notebooks, and then we went outside to the no-longer-raining great outdoors and wrote some cool poetry. The whole time, the what-ifs and the whys continued to flow, and I took each one in stride with a smile. When someone, adult or child, began to piss and moan, I attempted to strike them down with a positive.
Eventually, someone noticed and said, "Wow... Naz. You are really taking all of this calmly. You're so happy." And I was. There are worse things that could happen, and although this was annoying and off-putting, to complain was not going to make things go any better or faster. In fact, it was only going to make me and all my students more miserable. In the end, all my kids had fun. Two even gave me a big hug and informed me that they were glad to have had this minor adventure with me and another presented me with some homemade chocolate chip scones. Scones are delish, by the way.
All day, I thought about that choice I'd made. It wasn't easy to force myself into happiness, and there's always a chance that it won't take. But most days, I'm going to try to remind myself that when:
I feel alone
Things don't go my way
I am running behind
I've forgotten my lunch
Someone has hurt my feelings
I make a mistake or fail at a task
The cat has thrown up on my pillow/couch/favorite book
I don't have any milk for my cereal
I'm not sure if I made a difference...
It's not the end of the world.
And if that doesn't work, I at least know that my front tire can sustain up to 45 seconds of uninterrupted kicking.