It’s 7:00 on a Friday morning and I’m sitting alone in a hotel’s breakfast nook. I’ve done the daily reading, said the Lord’s Prayer and the Serenity Prayer in eyes closed silence. Did some deep breathing. Found God momentarily in a metal flipping machine that make waffles.
Step 2: came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
But then the people start showing up, and I can feel myself tighten and anger, like the place was mine and mine alone. So I breathe deeply and exhale a number of times. This is a community eating area, not my kitchen. If people want to sit and talk, that’s going to happen. If others are flipping waffles independent of me, why should I care? It’s not like I was going to eat waffles until all the batter was gone. Or was that my unconscious plan?
It’s my default setting: judgment. Point at everything else so I never really get around to myself. Which is a fool’s errand, as my brain is always at the ready to jump in with its own two cents. I’m discontent, or at least I feel discontent, so therefore there’s something wrong with me. Why can’t I this and why can’t I that. I’m letting it get to me, and by “it”, I mean everything.
When I was a kid and the other kids would tease me, my mom always offered the same advice: don’t give them the satisfaction. Which I interpreted as, “suffer in silence”, and “internalize the slights”. In other words, the taunters were right; just don’t let them know that I know that they’re right.
Which wa all backwards, thinking-wise. I know that on an intellectual level. However, getting my head, heart and gut to go along with said knowledge has always been the problem.
Nowadays, nobody’s teasing me. Nobody’s calling me out; nobody’s pointing and laughing. Unfortunately, my Star Wars Defense System is still fully operational, even though the control panels are currently unmanned. Launching counter-terrorism attacks at ghosts is the most abstract way I can describe mumbling mean, hateful things to myself and those around me while pouring a plastic cup of orange juice. I must look like a crazy person.
No, not a crazy person. An extremely unhappy person who has internalized all the meanness that’s ever been thrown his direction and mutated it into all sorts of wrong-sized thoughts and actions.
So, while I wait for my second waffle to finish baking, I count down with the timer and try to see how many calming breathes I can take in two minutes. Much like this fluffy breakfast concoction, I must turn it over if I’m to have anything other than a gooey, sticky mess on my hands.