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You Set What On Fire?

I had a bad day which in of itself is not alarming and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, a relatively benign experience. But a bad day is a bad day no matter what. While the definition of a bad day isn’t the same for everyone my own are deemed “bad” when things seem to fall apart in all arenas–every planet is misaligned and it feels as if I can’t get anything going from the first sip of coffee (hopefully the coffee pot is working).

Something ridiculous can stir it up— a bad or missed call. The sense that you have let yourself or a host of others down. At work your boss seems unhappy with your performance and snipes or in the worst of cases, says nothing to you at all.

As a mental health professional my spirits can sometimes sink when I feel as if a person leaves my office not feeling heard or understood. I am left to reckon with my own human frailty and the truth that I can’t always make it better.

I don’t know when this particular day soured but the souring seems less important now than the genuine efforts I made to push the stresses and stressers aside.

At the end of one of these days, I know I can retreat to a  nice hot bath with a few scented candles, soft music and a lot of deep inhales and slow, patient exhales. It should have been easy to fill my tub, light the candles, turn on the ipod and breathe. But it wasn’t.

The ipod was out of charge so I had to look for the charger and when I finally turned it on, the volume was so high my heart jump a thousand miles. I couldn’t find a book of matches to light the candles and went on a search through the “junk” drawers—all eight of them. As I was trying to light the candles, the matches fell in the tub, rendering them useless. The journey to nirvana was increasing my anxiety exponentially.

I didn’t give up. It took nearly 45 minutes to get everything right including where to place the candles. Finally, I lay back and let the warm, fragrant water do it’s magic. And then I smelled it— an odious sulfur-like smell. Fortunately, it didn’t take long to realize that in my efforts to get my bath just right, I had set my hair on fire.

Yes, there is a lesson in all of this which could go something like this — sometimes a cruddy day is just a cruddy day and you need to leave it alone and just climb into bed and wait for morning. Or you can take a look inside and wonder why you and in this case why I needed to get everything so right and perfect. Had I not been so attached to the fantasy bath I might have just turned on the water, gotten in the tub and simply tried to soak the day away.

There are times when you just have to keep things simple. And boy am I ever grateful that I have a lot of hair. I’m waiting until tomorrow to see what I burned off.




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