Thursday, August 18, 2011

Inflamed, Part 2

When last we saw our plucky heroine....

So I'm there with Lynne, and she says I need to let go of the feeling that life isn't fair.  Which immediately set my blood to boiling, because I KNOW THAT.   If I had a dollar for every time I've had this exchange:

kid:  That's not fair!
me:  Life's not fair.  Get over it.

I'd be several hundred dollars richer.  This one is a no-brainer.  I know that life isn't fair.  but I was so mad, so instantly angry:  It is SO NOT FAIR that I have to let go of the feeling that life isn't fair.  Which, if I hadn't been so mad at myself, would have cracked me up.  I was also irrationally mad at her, because who was she to remind me of something I already knew? Of course I know that life isn't fair. But obviously from my reaction, she was on to something, so I gritted my teeth and was pleasant for the rest of the appointment, waiting till I could get in my car and drive and think.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that she (or Louise, or whoever) has a point.  I've been simmering about a couple of things that aren't fair for awhile now.  Mostly they are too tedious to bore you with, but one you already know about, so I'll use that as my example. I'd been planning that trip to Europe for a long time.  I love to travel, and we don't get to do it nearly as often as I would like. 

But then my dad passed away, and we came home after eight days. (We had planned to be there three weeks.)  It was my choice.  My dad would have wanted us to stay-- no one loved to travel more than he did, he would have understood.  My sisters assured us it would be fine if we didn't come back.  Dh, MadMax, Nell and I were sitting in the room of the hostel where we were staying in Munich, and all three of them said, "It's your decision.  Whatever you decide."  And I decided that we should cut the trip short and come back for the funeral.

No one made me do it, and even now I don't regret it.  Not only was it the right thing to do, but it was wonderful.  I had irreplaceable times with my mom, my sisters and their families, my dad's wife, relatives I hadn't seen in a year or more and family friends I hadn't seen in twenty or even thirty years.  It was great.  But I couldn't shake the regret, the disappointment, that my long-awaited trip had been cut by nearly two weeks.  And, to be entirely honest, my disappointment over missing the trip was growing with time instead of dissipating.

So it occurred to me as I was driving along, that there is a difference between knowing that life isn't fair, and accepting that in some individual set of circumstances.  It truly wasn't "fair" that our long-awaited trip got cut short.  But since I know that life isn't fair, and that there's no reason to get upset about it, I hadn't let myself feel that.  I'd been sitting on those feelings, because I know you're not "supposed" to have them.  It made me impatient with myself that I was thinking that at all.  Grownups don't get upset when life isn't fair.  I was both feeling "it's not fair" and not letting myself feel it at the same time.

I don't think I'm explaining this very well.

It's a complicated set of feelings, and I'm not sure exactly what to do with them.  What I did today was just let myself rant and rave for a few minutes, and try to get it out of my system.  I'm still not sorry we came home; I'm glad we did it.  And I'm disappointed and angry that we had to cut our long-awaited trip short. I need to let myself feel both of those. and then let it go.

I already feel calmer and more at peace about it.  Now I guess we'll see if my arm gets better. :-)


  1. Oh wow, there's the knowledge and then... there's the KNOWLEDGE isn't there? Gah, processing our lessons is sometimes just SO damn much work. I totally get it. And you're doing very well with this extremely complicated situation.

  2. That's a tough one. And you're doing good. Is there any chance you can reschedule the trip?

  3. Oh, well, honestly, the trip isn't the biggest one I've been stewing about, it's just the only one I felt comfortable talking about here. If we were at a restaurant and sipping margaritas, I'd tell all, but there are some things I'm not posting here.

    We will re-schedule the trip at some point, but since we had already paid for most of this trip, and we can only afford to do a trip like that every several years, it will be awhile before we can try again. It's amazing how much writing this post helped, though--it was extremely therapeutic.

  4. Another well said, Barb.

  5. Thanks, Carol-- and thanks for your other comments, too. Stop by anytime!