There have been several times in my life when the first couple of lines in Kipling's IF have served to anchor my emotions or steady my gaze. My own little serenity prayer.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you
The need was heightened this week and I stood at a loss, bit my lip and walked away. It was tough. I told myself all the right things, don't take it personally, we're all just doing the best we can, treat everyone with kindness 'cause you don't know what battles they're fighting and so on and so forth.
Yes, there's a but. There was this fire welling up in me, and I had to go against what seemed like my very nature to give back what I was being forced to take. Ashamedly I have been known to excel at what some may call verbal sparring, mean on mean. I knew there would have been instant gratification to spit back the same venom which was being aimed at me. I have known the beauty of such a release and the crushing disappointment in myself immediately thereafter as I have watched the consequences of my actions. Experience has taught me this is not what I want.
It was hard.
To bite my tongue.
To press my teeth into my lip.
And I thought where does this go. Does this feeling settle into an organ, cause a disease? Does it infest or dissipate? It is as real as the clothes I am wearing. I can feel it in my gut. It travels up my spine, into my shoulders, my neck. It is stress and from what I hear it kills.
So I took it. I absorbed it and I called a friend and I bitched and I complained and I spread it to another in an I need you kind of way and I don't know if this is okay but it seemed to help. The friend seemed fine, and we ended up laughing and maybe I just needed to step back for a moment, to get away from the week.
I am so very grateful for the weekend.