I spend a lot of time working on owning my emotions and declining invitations from my small self to her pity party, which is tough because my small self is a great party host. Her parties go on forever and she buys really good chips.
I spend a lot of time doing the messy work of digging into how I feel to find the root and then creating space for that root and then finding ways to acknowledge that root verbally without a bunch of passive aggressive side stepping, blaming or shaming.
To excavate what's below the surface of my reactions - it's fruitful labor. I emerge with the same understanding again and again.
All my reactions come from my own pain and the story I create about my pain.
The small things that perturb me are wildly relative in the scheme of what is happening on this planet.
Being human is a tender, vulnerable feat.
Growing love is the real work, the freeing work, the holy work.
I believe this in my core.
Sometimes I just really want to project all my bullshit onto someone or something else.
Sometimes I just really want to sidestep emotional responsibility and abandon clear communication.
I've discovered a great way to do this and I'd like to share it with you now.
For those moments when you need to be unaccountable - project your feelings onto your cat.
My cat's name is Dublin. He's intensely handsome. He's equal parts frisky and elegant, sassy and sophisticated. He gets pissed off when we remove him from the counter top or kick him out of our room if he bites our feet in the middle of the night. But none of this matters. Because when you're projecting your feelings onto your cat, his feelings are unimportant.
It goes like this:
You say to your husband,
"Darling, Dublin is super agitated this morning."
"Oh really?" your husband asks, concerned. "What happened?"
"When the child came into our bedroom four times last night to ask for a foot rub, it woke Dublin up and you know how he gets about sleep."
"That's too bad," your husband says and then he walks over to Dublin, who is napping deeply on top of his kitty palace.
"Also," you add, "When your ex-wife texted you that really rude text yesterday - Dublin got extremely worked up. Because you know how much your ex-wife and her rude texts infuriate Dublin."
"I do," your husband nods, while the cat rolls over to let his belly show.
"Lastly," you continue, "Dublin was bitching to me this morning about the dining room table and how you always leave your mail spread out across the entire surface. When it's time for breakfast, Dublin looks at the surface of the table and then he looks at the surface of your desk and he wonders why you don't just put your fucking mail on your fucking desk. His words. Not mine."
Your husband lifts Dublin up from his resting perch and they both fix you with a piercing gaze.
"I'm sorry, Dubs," you say under your breath when your husband has left the room. Your cat blinks. You take this as a sign that it is okay to do this occasionally.
Then you return to the brave work of mining your complicated, beautiful, emotional underworld.
I am a Portland, Oregon based writer, filmmaker and choreographer. I believe stories dissolve the grip of isolation and return us to each other.