Four Minutes to Losing My (Positive) Mind

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.

Did you hear me screaming?

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy


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 rewiring, 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.

Life Coaching Tips

– 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 reminds me that I’m like  her and Daddy and how everything 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 whatever 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.


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