Raise your hand if you've ever behaved badly . . . okay, there are too many hands. I can't count them all. As I am finally finished with the heaviest workload of any semester I've ever taught, I am now at a point where I can get some sleep, in theory, and I can do a little self-examination of my recent behavior. I am normally a very low-maintenance woman. I'm quiet. I'm laid-back. I'm stoic, not much ruffles my feathers. It takes a loonnnnggg time to get me to lose my temper, but when I do, look out.
So, yes, I have been working way too hard. Yes, I have been getting too little sleep. Yes, anyone who knows me, knows I turn into a major bitch when I don't get enough sleep. That said, the occasional outburst is to be expected, but a long-slow bitchfest that lasts for days, is not acceptable. I am an adult. I do know better. Recently, however, I have been reverting to the petulant child that has lived in me for over four decades. I recognized her the minute she resurfaced, but I couldn't do anything about her. I couldn't when I was little either. I remember very clearly as a child, getting angry or hurt about something, having an outburst, and then holding onto the anger, long after letting it go would have been appropriate, and would have been good for me. I remember being stuck in the anger. Seeing everyone around me moving past the incident, but I couldn't let it go. I couldn't laugh, smile, get over it, I just stayed stuck, with my arms folded, my lower lip stuck out, and pouting, to make sure the whole world knew, I wasn't over this yet, and neither should anyone else be.
I have found myself recently, thinking and feeling negatively about acquaintances. I have had ill thoughts about people's motivations, which is very bitchy, petty, and not like me. I had a particularly mean rant on my son's voice mail for perceived slights and misbehavior, only half of which he was actually guilty of. I didn't pull an Alec Baldwin, or call him any names, but I did call his character into question. Then I mentally beat myself up for days for being a horrible mother. Next "I showed myself." This is an expression I heard often from my mother, while I was growing up. She'd say, "quit showing yourself." Which meant, quit misbehaving, quit showing the world what a little brat you can be, quit drawing attention to your bad behavior.
I showed myself this weekend. I was tired. I was not happy. I didn't feel like doing what I had promised to do. Yet, the adult part of me knew, you don't back out, you don't let a person down, you keep your promise. So I went through the motions, clearly the petulant child, wanting desperately to rush through the obligation, get it over with, and yet again, not slowing down, just wanting to move on to the next task like I'd been doing for months. It took me a good two hours to get over myself. It took me two hours to quit showing myself. In the process, I know I must have hurt a dear friend, and that was never intended. By the time it was all over, I had gone back to my normal self. I had finally relaxed and was enjoying the evening, but at what cost? It's been years since the brat in me has come out so forcefully. Can I blame the hormones of the change for all this? Can I blame overwork and exhaustion? Or am I just human and sometimes, I'm a pain in the ass for no good reason? I'm sorry.