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One Cobble at a Time

Crisis, Stress, and Being a Frog

Sandra Tayler's Journal

responsible woman

A cobble by itself is just a small stone, but when many of them lay together they create a path . My life is made up of many discrete parts. I have to find ways to fit them all into place so that I can continue to journey where I desire to go. This journal records some of the cobbles that create my path.

Crisis, Stress, and Being a Frog

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responsible woman

When Howard and I were first married, we moved into a new home. It didn’t take us long to meet the neighbors. We quickly became friends with a family in crisis. They needed our help and we gladly gave it. But over the course of four years that same family was always in crisis. Not the same crisis, it was a revolving parade of feuds with neighbors, tight money, rebellious teenager, and quarrels with coworkers. While it was possible that they were just being slammed with a series of bad luck, I slowly realized that no amount of help from me would move them out of the constant crisis zone in which they lived. Somehow the patterns of their lives created the crises through which they swam like fish in water. I began to believe that they simply didn’t know how to live without crisis. If it was removed, they gasped and flailed like a fish out of water until the flailing landed them in crisis again. I sometimes hoped that they could learn a different way of living. I’m not sure that they ever did. I moved away and lost contact in that pre-facebook era.

My life this week has been crazy. Nothing has been a big crisis, just a hundred small things, most of which popped up unexpectedly despite my efforts to plan ahead. The sad thing is that this crazy week was normal. Most of my weeks are filled to overflowing with a hundred small tasks. I try to simplify and reduce, yet still end up feeling overwhelmed. When I visit with my friends, I have an ever evolving list of things I am managing. I get really tired. Often. I have to wonder how I am creating this insanity for myself. I say I want calmness and quiet, but my decisions keep landing me back in busy-land. On energetic days I love busy-land. On tired days, I don’t know how I do it and I have to believe in miracles. If I want to come up and breath calmer air rather than swimming in stress. However in order to do that I have to transform myself like a tadpole transforms into a frog. In theory being a frog is better, but transformation is always scary and frequently frightening.

The good news is that it feels like we’re poised for a period of calm. The things I managed this week were structural things which should make the rest of the year easier. I hope. Perhaps I don’t need to transform. Perhaps I’m already a frog and I’ve just been swimming up from the bottom of a deep lake after a winter’s hibernation. Surely I’ll surface soon.

Mirrored from onecobble.com.

  • I've known individuals in much the same situation. Somehow they're always in trouble - little squabbles with friends blow up into huge fiascoes with people they're suddenly swearing never to talk to again. Relationships are plagued with constant drama and hard feelings. Jobs never last more than a year as they somehow develop interpersonal problems with not only their manager but nearly every coworker.

    It can take a while of knowing someone before this pattern becomes apparent, and I still haven't ever figured out what lies at the root of it in any particular case. There's a pretty snarky phrase that gets used sometimes - "the only common factor in all of your failed relationships is you" - but there are some people who would benefit from considering the possibility that everyone else is not constantly out to get them, but rather that there's something that they are doing to cause problems with everyone around them.

    That may be the one commonality, actually - the kind of people that find themselves in constant crisis and drama aren't the kind of people who step back from the situation immediately at hand and try to figure out what they can change to make things go more smoothly in general.
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