Four Minutes to Losing My (Positive) Mind
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
Did you hear me screaming?
Four minutes into a phone conversation with my mother and I was slam-dunked into how things used to be. Daddy must be driving her nuts again, because our conversation was driving me nuts right away. In my last conversation with her, she’d been worried that if my dad knew I was out of town, he might do something to get desperately sick or injured so that I’d have to drop my long-planned trip, breach my contract, and rush to his bedside. Not like it hasn’t happened before….
It’s a sigh of relief to get through any important personal event and my dad not do something to swing the attention in his direction. Like I said, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before.
Some people swear they’re just being realistic when in truth, they’re looking at every possible negative thing that could happen and fully expecting it to hit them between the eyes. They’ve aced that particular pattern…er, rut. In the metaphysical sense, they not only call it to them, but they go seeking it and practically begging for it to happen so they can feel vindicated that they were right in how terrible life is.
Here I am making great strides to stay positive and separate myself from people who are constantly focusing on the negative and how everything will work out to the worst possible manifestation and how bad everything is in life. I rant in my journal about the harder times but you know what? The negatives are such a small part of my life now, compared to what they used to be. On the whole, things are good, life is good, my kids are great, writing is great, spiritual pursuits are great, my day job is…there. Yeah, there are problems and inconveniences, but still. Okay, so things are mostly good and I’m very optimistic about my plans for the future and my transitional efforts. Good things are a-coming. And I feel really, really great about my progress over the past few years. Then I get a dose of “reality,” aka “Life is rotten and you shouldn’t expect too much.” What it boils down to is this:
– I promised I would look up some info for her and get it to her by this weekend, but with a great sigh she tells me that maybe she’ll have it by month’s end since I haven’t gotten around to it yet…after two days of manic errand-running and project completions. She doesn’t need the info for a couple of months….
– She doesn’t understand why it’s so hard to get an honest repairman—or any repairman at all—after a slew of hurricanes and that they can’t get everything fixed in a week. Every conversation since three months prior to the repair crew showing up has been prefaced with “So are your repairs done yet?” following by what I need to do to get a repair crew out here. I explain that just a little re- wiring, on things that were never properly wired to begin with, and they’ll be done. Her response? They probably won’t finish up when I want them to or they’ll make a mess or there’ll be some kind of problem. Just our luck that it always happens that way, she says. Never mind that I’m delighted with their work and that they made some suggestions that have turned out better than I could have imagined. Though the repairs have been expensive and no fun at all, the repair crew has been a blessing.
– She does understand my woes with Home Depot and all the grief I’ve had with them for the past 11 months, one week, and three days. This, she understands very well. When I mention that I hope to have resolution soon, she tells me that even if I do, it’ll just be something else to go wrong. I tell her to think positive and she re- minds me that I’m like her and Daddy and how every- thing always goes wrong for people like us. I tell her no, this is going to be done one way or another and I’m not going to have any more major issues like this, thank you very much!
– She also understands why hurricanes cause me so much anxiety now. After all, I’ll probably lose everything I own to one, just our luck….
– The last thing we talked about in those 4 minutes? I’ve managed to put it out of my mind. I don’t think I ever let it enter my mind, actually. Whatever it was was so radically negative, so over-the-top expectant of misery and failure, that I refused to consider the possibility. Something that had nothing to do with anything and I have no idea what’s happened to make her think of what- ever it was I just couldn’t even let into my brain.
But enough was enough, my blood pressure was rising, old anxieties starting to gnaw. I decided it would be best if I got off the phone before she asked if I’ve found a husband yet.