“Cut, one bold long red line.. scratch another line.. a mammoth of a cross.”
It took him 3 minutes and 33 seconds to go through my heart felt article that I had spent eleven hours, fifty five minutes and twenty seconds writing.
“STUPID”, plastered in red right next to my expression of hopes, fears, dreams & vulnerabilities. He spent another half minute in deepening the S in STUPID. Straightening his glasses he looked up at me, cringing his brows he said, “Why is your mind so complicated?”
My english professor Mr.Acharya, was the most critical human I had met. Despite his demanding nature, he was my favorite person in the world. He could cut through any grease and reach the blood diamond, in a matter of seconds. He always presented the simplest solutions for every problem and they would always start with, “You’re thinking too much..”
I often attract people like myself, who are constantly struggling to shape the chaos in our heads in pursuit of some sort of an intellectual organized solution that would one day bring forth world peace.
Lets analyze a regular pattern around an everyday problem.
My internet isn’t working and I have to submit a report the next morning. I’m worried. I try the oldest trick of the universe, turn-off-wifi-turn-on. Doesn’t work. Now, I’m more worried. Quick check to make sure I paid the bill. Affirmative. Every logical solution has been tried. Wifi still seems dead. Frustration is rising, logic is leaving the building. Last resort. Verizon helpline. An hour later, they’re still thanking me for my patience. Frustration is at 80%. 1am. Tiredness is not helping. Caffeine. Defeated. 2AM. A long frustrated break-up email to Verizon. Cannot send, no internet. Frustration at Max. Loud yell part I. Impulse kicks in. Loud yell part II. Pick up the first thing and throw. Smash. 3AM. Now, I have an incomplete report due, a sleepless night and a broken glass vase that I have to clean. Oh! the internet is back.
There is not a single comeback that could make this situation feel better. Sadly, we face situations like this everyday & we’re mostly autopilot mode to check.
Do you know the secret to happiness?
No. I thought so. Neither do I, neither does anyone you know nor anyone they know.
But here’s something that has proven a 80% success with me.
A Safe Word
I am aware that 50 shades has ruined that for us, for eternity. But, think about it as the speed-breaker right before you switch to autopilot pattern.
Scientifically, this has proven to have the same effect as trigger words. Similar to any other ape, once you train your monkey mind to consciously practice this, you’ll soon start receiving a little nudge to act, before you react.
I have a type. I like critical men who insult my intellect & tell me I’m ugly. You can call it Daddy issues, I call it Keeping Growth Handy!
Speaking of another critical man in my life, my husband. A die-heart perfectionist, extremely hard working & slightly obsessive compulsive.
I often found myself entangled in bizarre fights around ‘why-isn’t-the-kitchen-counter-not-dry’ which would quickly escalate to me defending ‘role-of-a-women’ in marriage. I would drift to autopilot defense mechanism & lose every argument to my talented lawyer husband — but, what I lacked in logic, I made up for in tears.
This had to change. My pattern had to work in my favor. I decided to introduce a safe word for myself in every argument with him. Each time he critiqued any of my work, right before my feminist inner self would take over — I would squeeze my wrists and softly whispered my safe word to myself.
Pie. Sweet, delicious. Granny’s best friend Mrs. Fernando famous Pie after mass every Sunday afternoon. Home. Christmas. My first slumber party. The time my dog jumped on the table and ate the pie.
How do you bring anger back after this?
I can never win to a lawyer, who’s drilled by experts for five years to challenge every fact. But, I can make him laugh and remind him that he’s not on trial.
We’re gifted with the complex brain in the universe of apes, rather than using them to our rescue, we often times get victimized by it. Connect with that little corner where all your happy memories are tucked away. You’ll find your safe word there, hidden behind a pile of wishes, desires & dreams that are yet realized.
Don’t worry, Eat Pie.