My horoscope a few weeks ago: "You are powerful - everyone senses it already. In fact, you are in danger of overpowering the room. A bit of humility will help others feel comfortable. Your graciousness will set a tone for the rest of the crew."
Later, I realized that I am indeed powerful: my family are very unhappy but too frequent guests at my pity parties. When I'm in a dark mood, the atmosphere at home is charged with tension. My dogs endure indifference from me, the worst form of punishment. My friends suffer, usually of the "I wish she'd shut up and blow up" variety. For those of you not familiar with that phrase, do a search on "SCTV Farmville Celebrity Blowup," in which John Candy and Joe Flaherty, dressed in overalls, interview fake celebrities, who then blow up real good. It's much funnier than it sounds.
When I say things like "Nothing's wrong; I'm just tired" instead of "shut up and blow up real good!" it's a sign that the family unit is in trouble.
I lecture my girls about a lot of things, including grace under pressure. I tell them how anyone can be gracious when things are going well; champions display it when things fall apart. I tell them to treat everyone with respect, to follow the Golden Rule, to demonstrate compassion. My words crumble under their own weight when I can't find joy in a loving family, a good home, fabulous friends and neighbors and good health.
I love the feeling of having something restored that we take for granted: electricity after a storm, a hot shower and warm, soft bed after sleeping on a deflated air mattress while camping, everyone making it home safely after the roads turn icy.
Much of my reflection has come because of the lightness I feel after having something else restored: I was offered a job today. I took a few years off to spend more time with the girls, do volunteer work (both very satisfying) and to try to make a modest living at freelance writing (fulfilling, but I could have made more money panhandling). I wasn't working then. I took another job that I loved and lost, and I was in a whole new ballgame: I was unemployed.
Remember Whoopi's infamous "it's not rape-rape" that Roman Polanski committed? What a stupid comment, which has no relevance to my circumstances except it still pisses me off. I've had way too much time to think about dim-witted comments like that and the galaxy between not working and being unemployed. I felt a bit weird at first about my husband supporting me when I wasn't working (especially since I never did really clean the house). But he cheered me on; I felt good about myself and what I was doing. Being unemployed sapped my energy and strength; I had the summer to spend with my girls but I ruined so much of it by obsessing that I'd never find work again. Because unfortunately, obsessing and worrying are core competencies.
However, I'm going to try to learn something from my madness. When my girls come home, I'm going to loudly tell them to shut up and blow up. We're going to dinner to celebrate, and hopefully I won't get too choked up to tell my family how precious they are to me. I'm getting all choked up thinking about it, so if you are in a Mexican restaurant in Little Rock tonight and see a woman blubbering, please stop by and blow up with us.
Speaking of choking up, knowing that someone out there is listening to me rant and rave is the icing on the cake, the bees' knees, the whole enchilada. Thank you, loyal readers.