Reactions from my friends on Facebook to yesterday’s post were variations on a single theme: “You call that a meltdown?”
My favorite comment came from a friend I’ve known since childhood; after a hearty laugh, she said, “I can hear you saying ‘Chill out’ in that snooty tone that means you’re annoyed. If you ever do have an epic tantrum I want it on video and a blow-by-blow description.”
Later on in the thread she said, “Stop envying the front seat. We are the ones with bugs in our teeth when the ride ends!”
Don’t you love having friends like that? Friends who know all your quirks—and still love you? Friends who can laugh at themselves, too?
Yesterday’s post, and the comment thread on Facebook, felt like light on a shadowy part of my soul.
Here’s some of what I said on Facebook:
This is why I write: to expose the critical, controlling, shaming voice to the light, to pry open a window so fresh air can rush into a stuffy room, to let friendly laughter lighten the burden of judgment.
In that moment, in that tiny moment when I lost control, I felt shame way out of proportion to what I’d actually done. And when you live with such a tight rein on yourself, it’s hard to accomplish much that’s worthwhile. There’s a lot of truth in the saying, “well-behaved women rarely make history.And then there’s our scathing, but largely unvoiced judgment of others.
I’m so glad for all my freer, first-car friends. I figure by the time I’m about 80, you all will have helped me loosen up. And I suspect Willa is first-car, all the way.
I may not often live with bugs in my teeth, but I hope to spend more time in the relaxed and friendly second car, and less in the uptight, self-and-other-judging third.