Monday, October 13, 2008

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to!

So today’s question is, Can Pollyanna’s Have Pity Parties.

The answer is a resounding, YES!

Now one thing that those closest to me, my trusted inner circle..(You know who you are, you mighty blessings from God!)…know about me is that I always try to be boldly transparent, because there is a wealth of freedom in unabashed transparency so that will be my promise to you readers on here too. If I’m going to share with you the ups in my life then it’s only fair that I share the downs too…it’s the only way you can get a true view of who I really am…..and WHY I’m that way.

So in true Betty Davis fashion, (I never liked her, actually, I couldn’t stand the woman…but the sound bite is appropriate for this… “Hang on…it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

So to clarify….what exactly is the definition of a pity party? Well, contributor “Raspberrymuffin” on the website has I believe the funniest definition I have found thus far. She says, and I quote:


pity party

A way of experiencing grief, in which you spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and whining endlessly about how crappy your life is.
Pity parties can be just for one or for many people, such as maybe your friends and close people, who will try to comfort you or just be there for you while you keep asking yourself what did you do to deserve whatever it is that made you so sad in the first place.
Pity Parties require the proper outfit, which is usually pajamas cause you don’t get all dressed up during those feeling-sorry-for-myself moments. Also you should have no make up on or just the one from the night before; hair undone as well.
It also involves tissues, comfort food such as ice cream; chocolate; potato chips; cookies; cake; and candy. Low fat food is banned
Alcohol might or might not be allowed (if alcohol makes you go wild, no alcohol should be brought to the pity party in that case since the point is not exactly to have fun). The purpose of a Pity Party is to dump. The pity music is also very important at pity parties, including songs like "One is the Loneliest Number", "All by Myself" and any other song that makes you feel like throwing yourself from the nearest cliff.
Pity parties usually end after you are done whining or if someone breaks it up. This will usually be a cynical loved one who will not let you drown in self pity and will take you either to have the best time ever, drinking and partying or will just make you crawl out of bed by making you see how pathetic you look and how you should cut the whining and just do something to make things better

“My boyfriend dumped me and my cat was run over, time to throw a pity party!”

“Sorry to break the pity party, but you seriously have to get out of bed and get over it”

whining whine depressed pathetic sad
by raspberrymuffin Aug 1, 2006

Now, I don’t know about you, but that definition alone was enough to bring me out of my little pity party. LOL. Whether you agree with everything that she said or not, she definitely got the gist of it and nailed a freeze frame moment for all of us.

So what was my pity party about? Well… make a long story short…EVERYTHING…..and yet, nothing. I had a classic female meltdown in a most obnoxiously grandiose fashion. Stress from the Deathstar (read my very first blog entry for clarification), stress from hearing, reading, and seeing TOO MUCH bad US politics, stress from the global, national and state economy and how it’s trickling down and affecting our personal finances (insert mental picture of empty wallet with moths flying out). Stress from an over busy schedule, stress from too little rest, stress from living inside the eye of the hurricane, here a stress, there a stress, everywhere a stress, stress… a word, STRESS.

It wouldn’t have been so bad, but my Knight in Shining Armor was feeling it too. Now normally he and I blend so perfectly that when one of us is down, the other bolsters the down one with words of encouragement and hope and in no time, we are back on track again. This time however we were both battle weary. (I told a couple of dear friends yesterday it feels like being nibbled to death by a duck! At which point Rae put her head down and tried to hold her laughter in until Allen made a Pac-man hand gesture and referred to Aflac, which sent us all into hysterics….sigh…..thank God for laughter.)

So my dear sweet Ben crawled out of bed at the crack of dawn Saturday morning only to come home hours later from a tedious battle with our local bloodsucking state run DMV…don’t even get me started on that one….and the poor guy was just drained. He opened up and told me what he was feeling and in total and complete empathy, I got teary eyed and hugged him. It’s horrible when your hero feels worn down to nothing and you’re so worn down yourself, that you don’t have the strength to pull yourself back up, let alone helping him back up.

So as he was sharing I was listening and doing my best to give him a safe harbor to vent to, when in the midst of his own transparency he happened to hit upon a raw nerve of my own. It was something I had already been beating myself up over and struggling with the fact that I needed to address it (What is the “it” I’m talking about? Dust bunnies, dirty dishes and laundry…..things that when I’m so mentally and emotionally exhausted I just don’t have the drive to do…one of my worst traits) and the fact that it was bothering him too made me feel worse than worm spit…... So how did I respond? Did I agree and tell him calmly how much I was struggling with it myself? No…..what did I do instead? I turned into a raving witchy Tasmanian she-devil, saying things I shouldn’t say, crying uncontrollably and going on a cleaning tirade powered by shear anger and frustration. Meanwhile poor Ben and Sargie both developed eyeballs the size of dinner plates and backed away from me as quickly as they could to avoid being hit by my verbal shrapnel.

Oh I was a sight to be seen, red eyed and snotty nosed from crying and going on and on like an unbearably whiny broken record stuck on the highest volume setting. Rambling on and on about why on earth did he ever bother marrying me because after all I am SUCH a bad housekeeper and wife and BLAH, BLAH, BLAH… Pull out the world’s tiniest violin and play Moon River for me! I was obnoxious!! Absolutely toxic! Not at all the picture of grace and decorum I TRY to maintain. Finally, out of pure fear for his life Ben decided to go run an errand and leave me and the boy alone for a couple of hours…..I don’t think Sarge appreciated that gesture very much, but he was safe under his living room chair.

So after about a half an hour I calmed down enough to gather my brain cells and rethink my behavior.

Now, it’s at this point that I would normally be able to rally around my faith and be fine. However, I was tired and WANTED to feel sorry for myself. I wanted a good cry, I wanted a moment to be the victim (something I very RARELY do)….so I sat…like a lump….sniffly and quiet and let the mid day sun streaming through the living room windows just bathe me in warm light. Silence….it truly is where I gather my strength from.

I sat there in total peace and quiet for about an hour and then as I was finally feeling receptive to encouragement again, my mother called. Thank God for that woman….we haven’t always had the best relationship, in fact years ago it was downright volatile, but we’ve come a long way since then and in spite of it all, there are so many times that she knows EXACTLY what to say to bring me out of my pity party. This was no different. Her words were the start of hope again. Hope that everything will work out regardless of what it looks like now. Things that I’ve said to her in years past when she felt beaten down and hopeless she now reminded me of and encouraged me with. When I tried to slink back into it, she pulled me right back up…and then….she prayed. Something I have come to value more than life itself. When I got off the phone with her about an hour later I was starting to feel a trickle of life again…..but I was STILL was feeling pretty beaten down…. So I did more cleaning and when it came time to go to the street ministry…..I stayed home to squeak out some more self centered sulking while Ben went by himself.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep too incredibly well that night and the choice to sleep in and skip church just wasn’t an option. I recently accepted a new leadership role at church that requires my presence every Sunday and until my team gets solidified, there are no days off. So I went and tried to be as perky as possible….even though I still felt crummy. When I finished everything I had to do before service I went upstairs to take my seat next to Ben. I was finished a bit early so I got to sing the last worship song, which was no mere co-incidence….especially considering the song was, “The Healer”…and BOYYYY did I need some emotional healing.

As the pastor got up to speak, (whom I must say I just ADORE because he’s so real and transparent which is something more pastors should be, but are usually too afraid to because it may compromise how they are perceived. Then there are the other type that are too caught up in deep “intellectual” sermons that don’t easily translate to the daily battles of the average person and leave the parishioner feeling like they just wasted an hour or more of their time. Soap box…sorry…ANYWAY) he announced that he felt he needed to deviate off his scheduled sermon and do something a bit different. He shared that he himself had been feeling worn down, weary and a bit hopeless due to the current world events….and knew that there were others of us going through the same thing. Everything he said…all of it….was exactly what we all needed to hear. There were collective sighs of relief that flooded through the room as he hit different topics…and of course tears…I was one of them. I felt like a dry sponge that was having cool water poured all over it…just soaking the life back up. It was then that I decided that it was time to snap out of it. Time to pick up and move forward.

So yes, Pollyanna’s have pity parties and they have hissy fits and other things just like everybody else…..but this particular Pollyanna doesn’t want to STAY there. Going through difficult times is normal, but how I respond to them is my choice. In fact, one of my favorite quotes refers to just that.

“All men and women are born, live, suffer and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about… We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time and conditions of our death. But within this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we live."

~Joseph Epstein