I’ve always thought of myself as the mellow one in the family. I’ve never, in a fit of anger, broken up pieces of wood in the basement with my bare hands, and I only backed into my grandfather’s car once when I was seventeen-years-old. I chalk that one up to being young and impetuous. Occasionally, I yell, but I consider that more like “talking loud”, and I only do it because most people around here don’t listen to a word I say.
In my opinion, every family needs a floater – a person who is flexible and who can stay fairly stable (mentally) with the ebbs and flows of life.
Yes, in my situation, that person is me. My husband’s job is one of very high stress. He works long hours, and what he does calls for a great amount of responsibility. It’s been that way for twenty-five years. Don’t ask him to deal with young adult angst. When he gets home, he literally melts into the chair in the living room, his computer on his lap, a stack of papers by his side. His brain goes into “cruise” mode, his eyes close, and his head bobs back and forth from time to time.
I’m the one who has to be ready – sort of like a firefighter, I always say. Things are usually calm, and I can watch “House Hunters” and take my cats for walks on their leashes – fun and (what my husband calls) leisurely and almost counterproductive stuff like that – but every once in a while, the shit hits the fan, and I need to spring into action, like when somebody forgets their dance shoes and it’s minutes before the show, or worse, when someone rips their pants in front of the whole cafeteria, or worse worse, when someone gets cheated on by their girlfriend, or worse worse worse, when somebody crashes the car, or gets really drunk, or fails a major test, etc. etc.
No doubt, I’ve taken on the role of Gandhi for this household. I am the Socrates, the Dalai Lama, the Confucious – and I know this may be pushing it, and some of you may call me a blasphemer, but since I’m not Christian, I don’t really care – the Jesus, the Gloria Steinem, the Mother Teresa, the Pamela Anderson. OK, that last one’s probably going too far. My boobs are NOT that big.
Basically, I have to keep my own head on straight so I can support others. I have to make sure everyone gets fed, and I have to come up with really important and uplifting things to say like, “Put away your damn laundry,” and, “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, dream, discover.” Mark Twain – I’m distantly related to the guy. I gotta use that one.
It’s not easy being a household peace guru either. It takes work and sacrifice. It requires a conscious effort, and strategy.
Ipso facto, I walk around breathing deeply. I simply pretend that I’m inhaling the goodness that is Ryan Gosling – his smooth character AND his body, mostly the area from the top of his head to his knees. That method works well for me, go figure.
I eat chocolate and sometimes, peanut butter and cheese sandwiches because I like that stuff. Happy me, happy everybody else.
I exercise vigorously and sometimes violently. We have a punching bag at our gym. I use it. If I don’t get time to blow off a little steam every day, somebody’s gonna get the prong from a plastic fork in their meatloaf.
I try not to take anything personally either, and I try not to let other people’s problems become MY problems. If someone starts flipping out – like if they are whining because I won’t give them a ride to school – I just go to another room, lock the door (or put a heavy chair behind it), turn my iPod on full volume, and listen to the sounds of Guns N’ Roses. Welcome to the jungle. Watch it bring you to your sha na na na knees, knees…
I try to anticipate problems as well. That’s a BIG thing. There’s no food in the fridge? I get some. As I’ve said in the past, the meat guy at Loblaws is pretty cute. Thus, it’s a chore I’m fairly willing to do.
Of course, I also have my cats. They are the real key to keeping the peace. I pat them. Other people pat them. The cats pretend to like us. We buy into it. They play a very large part in maintaining a state of semi-sanity among my family members.
All that to say that Justin Bieber has recently changed his name on Instagram to “Bizzle”. Just “Bizzle”, rhymes with “fizzle”. I didn’t want to come right out and say how ridiculous this is right at the beginning of my post for fear it might drive some readers away. Anyhoo, now you know.