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Wallowing

By Amy SpitzleyI wasn't happy the other day. The small things were getting me down. The car, finances, other people's success, the lack of my own. I didn't want to hear anything about anyone's trip to Disneyworld, new book cover, or garage remodel. I wasn't even going to say please. I was grumpy, and I was wallowing in it.

Now, this is not the politically correct way to approach a bad day. We are, according to most of society, supposed to make the best of things, turn our frowns upside-down, make lemonade out of lemons and all that sh — ahem — stuff. Oh my bad day, though, I would've sliced and diced the bleep out of that lemon and squirted it at anyone who challenged me. I would've aimed for the eyes, too.

I was giving the finger to every shiny-happy bumper-sticker and lapel button out there, and that was fine with me.

I have no good reason for my attitude that day, but here's the kicker — I don't think I need one.

Days like this happen, people. Days where you want to punch all those glass-half-full types in the nose just to see them bleed. Would you do it? NO! I wouldn't either. But that's not the point. We think these things because we have one huge genetic disadvantage over the smaller mammals in the world — we're human.

Humanity brings with it a lot of good stuff, but bad days are part of the package, too. We often wear our hearts on our sleeves, and sometimes the sleeve gets dirty and the heart itself is sporting some serious dinginess.

I warned my family the other day. They knew not to push me. My kids are human beings, too. Go figure. They will have to grow up among other human types, unless the Vulcans really do make first contact. We're messy animals. Like pigs in the mud, we wallow in our emotions until we finally sigh, heave ourselves out, and start a new day.

And that's the thing. Grumpiness is not the worst thing we experience, but tomorrow is a new day. That's our cultural get-out-of-jail-free card. We have a built-in do-over.

Now, don't go crazy. I'm not telling anyone to go postal here, just to enjoy the occasional wallow. There's something strangely freeing about not trying to be happy all the time.

Go on. You know you want to. Be one with the mud.

  • Bob

    Stop talking, stomp, slam doors and all in all behave like a petulant child. Though I love her lesions I am no Mary Poppins. I also find that if channeled right frustration & anger can be very effective tools to get things done. The garage never gets cleaned when I am happy. I just try to go back when it is over and make sure my kids know the problem was mine not theirs.

  • Bob

    Stop talking, stomp, slam doors and all in all behave like a petulant child. Though I love her lesions I am no Mary Poppins. I also find that if channeled right frustration & anger can be very effective tools to get things done. The garage never gets cleaned when I am happy. I just try to go back when it is over and make sure my kids know the problem was mine not theirs.

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    Amy …Why would anyone take the time to defend wallowing in self-pity? Warning family to stay out of range of squirts of lemon to the eyes or the finger doesn't say much about being a positive influence on those nearest us. As Bob suggested none of us is a Mary Poppins, but at least we should have the brains to channel our self-pity into something productive. As J.W.Gardner said: “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”

  • Ed Hahnenberg

    Amy …Why would anyone take the time to defend wallowing in self-pity? Warning family to stay out of range of squirts of lemon to the eyes or giving the finger doesn’t say much about being a positive influence on those nearest us. How about a thumbs-up? As Bob suggested none of us is a Mary Poppins, but at least we should have the brains to channel our self-pity into something productive. As John W.Gardner said: “Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality.”

  • stellamichel

    Great post, Amy! So right-on! I truly enjoyed it.

  • Anonymous

    Great post, Amy! So right-on! I truly enjoyed it.

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