Thursday, July 18, 2013


It's not often that I get grumpy.  I get frustrated, and angry, and anxious, and occasionally withdrawn, but grumpy?  Not very often at all.

However, tonight I am genuinely grumpy.  Fussy.  Crabby.  Irritable.  Surly.  Here's why:

1.  It is hot.  It is so freaking hot.  I don't have central AC, which is fine, but the heat index of over 100 with over 70% humidity has taken a bit of a toll.  I have a fan in my bedroom, and a little AC unit thing in the living room, and a ceiling fan in the kitchen...and honestly, 99% of the time it doesn't bother me at all.  This week, though, has been killer.

2. I'm so freaking tired of the news.  This happens to me every now and again.  I just get completely burned out and disillusioned with the world.  I try taking "media breaks," but it's hard when your friends and colleagues are politically minded, sharing articles and making conversation at work.  It's hard when you just want to hear what the traffic conditions are as you're stuck on I-70, so you turn on the radio.  It's hard when you want to laugh and watch a funny video of a sneezing baby panda or a cat riding a vacuum and your YouTube suggests videos with headlines that make your heart hurt.  It's hard when your client is 15 minutes late and you can't start a task, because you know they're coming, so you pull up Huffington Post on your phone and are bombarded with headlines of "Chilling Photos of Bombing Suspect's Arrest Emerge," and "Trayvon's Mom: 'I have no clue' now how my oldest son should stay safe" and the whole sickening Rolling Stone issue, and 3 Planned Parenthoods closing in Texas, "College Rapist Punished with Essay, $75 Fee."  (Yes, I also saw the article entitled "Pizzeria Owner Denies Masturbating in Kitchen After Security Picture Leaks"...but you just reach a certain point where you even feel angry about that, you know?).  I know this passes.  It always does.  But in the meantime, when I'm this hot, it's just hard.

2.5 (Because this is closely related to #2)  There was also a link on Huffington Post to a series of pictures about why dogs are awesome and why you should have a dog.  I clicked it this evening, because it was better than racism, glorified bombers, and rape.  It started out adorable...cute pictures of dogs doing cute things...but then it turned into this thing that was all sentimental and cute and made me cry, because when I'm grumpy, my emotions just bubble right below the surface.  I mean, for real?  When did I become the type of person who cries at pictures of dogs?  

(Uhhh...I've always been that person...but don't tell.  Shhhhh....).

3. I got my butt kicked by a small child.  He seriously wore me down.   Hour long tantrums in which
furniture is hurled, it takes 2 staff to clean out a room and 2 staff to hold the kid, and the child screams inappropriate things for 45 minutes...they'll wear you out really quickly.  As an aside -- my favorite quote ever from a very angry, tantruming child?  It's a tie between: "Fuck you, you fucking swamp monster!" and "You're a potato head!  I hate you Mrs. Potato Head!" and "Wait until I rip my underwear!  You'll be sorry when I rip my underwear!"  There were a couple good lines tonight, too.  The kids are really hurting and mad, so I shouldn't laugh...but sometimes, at some point, 30 minutes into a killer tantrum, when you get called a swamp becomes pretty much the funniest thing ever.

4. I had a migraine before the tantrum, and it was totally my fault.  I stopped at the grocery store this morning on the way to work, and I bought a bottle of Starbucks "Iced Coffee + Milk" that was in the check-out lane while I was there.  There were two different ones - one that had a blue label that said "2% milk and lightly sweetened" and the other said it was caramel flavored with a yellow label that said "2% milk and lightly sweetened."  Not being a fan of caramel, I opted for the blue label one.  I DIDN'T see, however, that at the TOP of the bottle, in little letters on the blue label, it said "low calorie."  Even though companies and scientists and the FDA and researchers and whoever say that artificial sweeteners don't cause migraines, I can tell you with absolute certainty that they do (for me).  Also, I find that this stuff hides in things where you wouldn't expect it, and while it IS always labeled as "lite" or "low-calorie," sometimes, those words are hard to find.  I bought yogurt the other day that I then had to return because I got mixed up between the "low-fat/2% milk" yogurt and the "low-calorie-will-make-you-feel-like-death" yogurt. 

I realized what I had done because of the taste (and it DOES taste different), but even just the couple sips was enough to trigger a migraine.  It makes me grumpy that (a) this causes me migraines, (b) everything has this crap in it, and (c) it's so hard to identify.  Let's come up with one word, or one color, or something so that it's not a guessing game. labels with the words CONTAINS ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS in bold, nice and big would be perfect.  Thanks.

5. I have this really complicated interpersonal situation going on that is stressful.  It requires me to practice drawing very firm boundaries, repeatedly, in a very direct manner.  This is hard for me.  It makes me uncomfortable and anxious, and I feel really mean.  I know that this is something that I have to do, but the other person isn't making it easy.  It isn't easy for either of us.  All my other ways of attempting to navigate the situation have been unsuccessful, however, so for my own well-being...I have to do it.  Reminding myself that I am worthy of this is hard. 

6. I officially fell off the gratitude train.  Starting and cultivating a daily gratitude practice has been the most helpful thing I possibly could have done.  It gives me perspective, and it helps me to stay grounded.  Today, though...I'm not feeling quite so grateful.  I'm hot.  I'm tired of the fact that the world sucks.  I have Post Migraine Funk Syndrome.  I am tired from navigating pissed-off kids.  I am tired from stressful interpersonal situations that make me question myself. Gratitude is the sugar for the lemonade.  Without it, your lemonade will be drink-able, but it's going to suck a little bit.

But I am grateful for my dog, because he is hilarious and loving and cuddly.  And I am grateful for watermelon, because it is cold and juicy and delicious.  And I am grateful for the fact that tomorrow, I get to wake up and start all over again.  I am grateful that none of this grumpiness needs to carry into tomorrow.  And I am grateful for the perspective that, even if it does, I will get to start again in the next moment, and the next, and again in the one after that.

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