embracing the messiness of life as it is



This is my predilection: I do not like personal drama. I will move away from it. I will stop looking. I will detach, quickly and immediately.

(I'm not talking about standing up for someone who is being hurt. I'm not talking about being a friend to someone in pain. I'm talking about people who shout just to shout, who argue just to argue, who bring the pain down on their own heads. People whose messes are made-up. You know who those people are.  I know who those people are. Drama queens. Living in their own world, making their own drama. Can't sit still, they've got to keep stirring everyone else up.)

But... here's the other side of that predilection, disliking other people's dramas:

(I am not a simple person.)

I am a drama queen. Oh yes, I am. I will shout just to shout. I will argue about the proper pronunciation of chamomile. I will make up messes (hurts that hurt) and bring pain down on my own head.

And I know this about myself. My dislike of other people's drama and my own propensity towards drama. I can look at this about myself and say: I am human.

And I kinda think know I'm not the only person who isn't simple. That in fact, we all dislike other people's dramas but cultivate our own. But maybe some of us practice drama a little more than other people. You get better at what you practice, whether it be stillness or drama...

So I practice stillness.

I've cultivated simplicity and serenity in my own life. My house is set up for relaxation, for peace. Yeah, it's a little cluttered in some areas (and I can never keep up with everything), but the living room is an oasis of calm. (It helps that the previous owners picked blue for the walls.) I feel the living stillness in that room, listening to the birds chirping next to the windows, the rain, when it rains.

And yet. And yet.

I have a kid who if one thing goes wrong in the order of the way things are supposed to go, flips a lid, bringing the drama in the most dramatic way.

(Transitions are hard. Always have been. It is getting better as he gets older, but  right now we're at the tail end of a Very Difficult period.)

And oh, I dislike it. It brings out my fight or flight response, so hardcore: totally turn away, detach (can't do that when a kid is screaming bloody murder and trying to hurt other people) or amp up myself and add to the drama (can't do that either, oh my. The first few times, I get caught off guard and start screaming back, but it really does not help. At. All. But I'm human. And sometimes I get caught up.)

What I have learned, through very difficult practice - most of which happened when Remy was a toddler, but I still get these ongoing chances to practice - is to somehow stay both detached and attached.

Detached: not taking the flipping out personally. Not flipping out myself. Not adding fuel to the fire.

Attached: still caring about helping him (learn to) calm down and actively working towards resolution, instead of just throwing my hands up in the air and walking away.

And that's REALLY FUCKING DIFFICULT for me. When I'm getting screamed at, my urge to scream back is super big, and worse. I now have a lot of practice not screaming back but when it comes seemingly out of nowhere, it's still really fucking hard to stay calm. And my urge to just drive away is pretty strong, too, but I have a lot of practice not following through on that urge, too.

And this is practicing embracing the messiness of life.

Growth doesn't happen without mess. And I want my kid to grow. I want myself to grow. I want my family, my love, my life to grow.

And all of that entails being in the messiness. Not detaching completely, but not attaching so fully that I can't step back, either.

It's a push-me/pull-me.

It's both/and  instead of either/or.

It's this moment, right here, whatever is happening.

It's saying yes to life, even when it is difficult, because that is what is happening.