May 5, 2015

A Stubborn Refusal to Laugh: Truth Telling Tuesday

Last night at the dinner table I couldn't keep myself together. I didn't cry or yell, but the deflation I felt left my body in a huff of frustration. I was hoping to have a quiet and involved conversation, with everyone contributing and listening at the appropriate times.

See, we used to do Highs and Lows during our evening meal as a way to connect with each other and gather information about each other's days. Especially from the girls who aren't always willing talk about their day's experiences and feelings. In an effort to gather data from Paige, who seems to be struggling with some recent anxiety, I wanted to use the non-direct "game" to try to gather some clues as to where this might be coming from.

Of course, as a seasoned parent, I should know by now that expectations are dangerous gambles, ones that usually do not pay out. There is little control for how things will go when it comes to children.

Dinner was not full of thoughtful conversation connecting us together, it was loud and chaotic with me struggling to keep the conversation on topic and no one really paying attention. I was upset and frustrated and worked up so, like the adult that I am, I finally sprang up from the table and huffed into the kitchen. (I'm incredibly mature like that.)

I should have let the moment go where it wanted and released my grasp on needing to pull the conversation somewhere specific. Sometimes you just have to let go of the idea you had in your head of how things are going to be, and just let things go where they want instead. I should have done that. I should have let go.

But I didn't.

I got all annoyed and offended and put out that people weren't listening to me and taking me seriously. Instead of a serious discussion about our days and how we were feeling, dinner was full of loud noises and giggling and a vocabulary lesson courtesy of my husband's joke that had the word "ass" in it. My mood was much too serious for the evening and instead of letting their laughter lift me up, I pushed myself further and further down into serious grumpiness. I refused to budge out of my annoyance that dinner was not going as planned and into the much lighter tone at the table.

I do that sometimes. It's like I can't let go of my surprise (turned annoyance) at things getting silly, but instead of just going with it, I dig in my heels and fight it. I refuse to let go of whatever I wanted to be going on and enjoy myself, and instead make myself more and more miserable until I either completely explode in anger or deflate in exasperation.

The deflation feels a lot like giving up, unlike giving in to the moment which feels like changing my attitude and perspective and laughing with my family.

It's sad to me, that I can be so stubborn like this, unable or unwilling to change my attitude on a whim and be silly. Yet, at the same time, there's still a part of me that is disappointed that we didn't have the conversation I wanted and that no one seemed to take me seriously.

Of course, since we weren't going to connect as a family with a serious discussion of Highs and Lows that I was hoping for, I should have seen and seized the opportunity to connect as a family over being silly and chaotic.

Still, I wouldn't turn down an apology, or even just a hug or two.

xoxo, christine

I am trying something new, Truth Telling Tuesday, posting every Tuesday a truth about myself. I think on of the best way to connect to other people is to share our truths. I feel the most connection to someone who has gone out of her way to be authentic and unafraid to share who she is and what she wants and how she feels. Her truth. So I'm going to try that out here. Sometimes the truths may be serious and deep and other times silly insignificant. I have no idea how this will go, or if I'll even keep doing it. But I just wanted to give it a try, to give myself a push into sharing my truth.

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