Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Flying Off the Handle

I’m telling on myself, it’s the only way to keep me honest. For all of my good qualities I have equal and horrifyingly bad ones. Although I didn’t do really well in my college physics class, I did pass and I did recall something about this… I think. Well, it was either physics or psychology. Whatever. The point is, as much as I am trying to, and in many cases, succeeding in building my life on a strong, positive foundation, I still have character defects that keep me “on the path” rather than “at my destination” to a better me.

Temper. My temper is still a reckless creature that has its own life and mind. I try to keep it at bay, but it rears its ugly head far too often for my taste. Flared up by insecurity, stress, hunger, or simply the heat, my temper is rather like Sherman’s March on Atlanta, all encompassing and savage. I try to exercise to sweat out my rage, practice techniques to calm myself before things get out of hand, and even try to foster an environment where no anger exists, but at some point the temper surfaces and wins out for a brief time. I can say I am better than I used to be… sort of… but I’m still not great at “letting water roll off my back like a duck”. No, I sputter, swear, fume, and surge before I recover and reconnoiter what the root of the problem was that led me to that reaction. It is not easy admitting this, but I do believe that we all have anger in common. The degrees to which we express our anger is based on several factors, how we were raised, the circumstances in our lives now, but anger is an emotion humans share. I’m not proud of this defect and I’d desperately like to change it, but I try to reason that anger is many times a conduit to deep discussion and ultimately the start of a solution. Anger, if expressed, can be the culprit that leads to communication and possibly change. Still, I know I need to work on my temper, for my health and for the sanity of those around me. It’s a definitely a priority.

Unfocused. My head is filled with trillions of bits of information. Input comes from all over: the children, my work (six sites, eight plus blogs/articles/columns per week, interviews, three radio shows), Cub Scouts, Swim Team, Karate, friends, Facebook, Twitter, Empire Avenue, Klout, and, of course, my husband. Who or what do you think gets the least attention when he/it deserves the most? Yes, it’s my husband. Again, I don’t look good in this post, but I’m keeping it honest in the hopes of prompting a change in the right direction. I am guilty as sin when it comes to going through the motions of listening and not hearing what is being told to me by the man who is my partner, my lover, my best friend, the father of my children, my racecar driver, and the person I’ve spent a quarter century in love. It is a crime, a travesty, and an injustice that I need to correct stat! I need to decompress and focus when the man needs my attention. He deserves it. I’ve yet to figure out the way to zone in and let the information he is relaying wash over me and truly sink in so I can recall it, act on it, and simply remember it when pressed gently. At this I fail, miserably. I am often forgetting entire conversations, asking questions searching for information he just gave me, and misunderstanding most of what he tries to communicate to me. In all honesty, this all became an acute problem once we had children, but I cannot blame this all on them. I am to blame. I have yet to truly prioritize. I’ve written many times before, and I believe what I write, but I’ve never acted completely on the following philosophy: my husband and our relationship is my highest priority. Now, all I need to do is stop thinking of him as a “given” like in geometry when one is doing proofs, and treating him with the dignity and respect he deserves. It’s not like he doesn’t think the children need me less than him or that I’m not supposed to have a life, but he has felt like he doesn’t matter. The more men I talk to the more I hear this as a common thread. I value my husband, his place in our family, and his place in my life. I would not treat the head of the PTA like I do my husband sometimes, so I am making a conscious effort to try to stop and focus on him and his words. It’s the least I can do!

Weight. I’m not thin. There, I admitted it. Well, I’ve never been. I have curves and, blessed with height, fill out my frame well. But, as a new age decade looms in a little over a year, I find I pack on weight very easily and cannot take it off effortlessly. I do try to workout several mornings a week and we do try to eat healthfully, but it is difficult for me to find balance. As a writer I am at my desk pounding away on my keyboard for hours every week. I do the same to promote my work and do the radio programs I’m on weekly. I am driving my children hither and yon as nothing is walking-distance, and we do not have a safe area to ride bikes near our home without driving somewhere first. I know the secret to healthy living is eating less and exercising, but I am ridiculously hungry throughout the day. I understand protein and fiber fill me up, to eat smaller meals more often, and the like, but when my kids bring home goody bags filled with candy, I make a homemade birthday cake or the homemade pasta sauce I perfected beckons it is terribly hard to resist. One of the goals of Chief 187 Chatter was to encourage myself to gain a healthier me (consistent exercise, eating better, and dropping inches before my milestone birthday in August 2012). I’ve fallen short of several of my goals and the end of year one is quickly approaching. I’m going to have to step up my game plan and find a way to make a healthier lifestyle a priority.

It is important to me to keep the integrity of these posts. I do swear by the accuracy and truth of blogs such as Simple Joys, child rearing and marriage posts, as well as all of the other content, but I must balance that with who and what else I am. I am imperfect, flawed, real, and honest. I am a work-in-progress and for every victory I attain there are several failures littering my floor. But I do not give up nor shy away from the tasks at hand. Admitting them is the first step and I’ve done that here. With humor, love, a positive attitude, a willingness to change, and a platform to continue to work things out (Chief 187 Chatter), I am fully dedicated to the cause – me!


  1. Way to go Chief brutal honesty is powerful medicine !

    Rest assured you are not alone on any of the points covered, to varying degrees it is true to say I certainly suffer the same failings regards temper, focusing on a relationship is simply impossible for me and weight. For all that like you I try and dedicate a little time every day to making improvements to learn from my failures and make more of my successes.

  2. Thanks for coming out on the same limb as I, Art! It's comforting to have company! Together we can break these traits a little at a time...

  3. As your Southern Sister, I sure like how you phrased your comment about Sherman. Genius ;-). I know how you feel. Temper is something I battle with, and am helping my daughter deal with as well. I try to help her understand why she is mad, instead of lashing out at whomever is near her. She's more even keel than I am, and for that, I'm grateful!!