Tonight my husband and I got in a fight that, to the outside observer, would seem to be over a slightly dirty colander. Of course, the argument wasn’t about a colander – is it ever about a colander?
The argument was about dirty kitchen counters, overflowing recycling and dinner plans. It was about shoes and jackets, mittens and money, and a pile of other things that needed to be put away. It was about kids, and schedules and work and partnership.
It was about how overwhelmed I was feeling, and the fear my husband had that I was going to yell at him about the chicken.
I know, confusing.
A little later, as I sweated away my frustrations on my bike trainer, Monster from the Broadway show Frozen started to play. It’s a new favorite of mine, but tonight I heard the lyrics a bit differently:
A monster, were they right?
Has the dark in me finally come to light?
Am I a monster full of rage
Nowhere to go but on a rampage?
Or am I just a monster in a cage?
I fear this is me. That my quest to keep this train from flying off the tracks regularly turns me into a monster.
After over 20 years of marriage and 16 years as a parent, I still struggle with how to ask for help. How to manage my expectations. How to avoid taking over all the things. And how not to stew in my juices until I leak a toxic mix of anger, sadness, and frustration all over the ones I love the most.
I know the fault is not mine alone. I know that I have asked for help only to be ignored. I have been given assurances that things will change that, ultimately, didn’t. I have been told things were taken care of, only to find that I was deceived.
Fortunately, my husband and I are getting better at talking it out without one of us running away or losing our temper (want to guess who’s first instinct is flight and who is more likely to fling something through a wall?).
I’m taking over some of the things that need my attention because, despite years of pleading, behaviors didn’t change.
But I still haven’t figured out how to look at some of the other things around here and, like Elsa, just let it go.
Photo credit: Disney