I went MIA for a bit because work got chaotic. On Wednesday, I had to drive to Newark for the Ohio Association for Community College's conference on equity at the community college level. If you haven't picked up on it, I speak in metaphors. It's how I make meaning in the world, and today's blog will follow that theme.
As I was driving home from Newark, the weather was pretty volatile. Couple that with my lack of experience driving on 270, and my heart rate stayed consistently above 90 BPM for most of the drive. The rain and the temperature of the road made visibility 80 yards at best. I got behind a truck, set my cruise, and prayed I would make it home safely. If you're a thinker, you're probably assuming I'm going to write about having faith and trusting the truck in front of me. And, I think that's a novel metaphor. But if no one minds, I'm going to take it in a different direction.
Day 3: Everything is relative, and give yourself grace based on that concept
As I pulled on to 270, the rain was coming down in buckets. My wipers were frantically trying to keep up, and I was contemplating pulling over, calling my dad, and begging him to come get me (logistically, I understand that would have been impossible). About 7 years ago, I was in a pretty serious accident on 75. It was pouring rain, and I was rear-ended by a semi truck that was figured to be going at least 55 mph when he hit me. He hit me square in the back, and I cringe to think about what the outcome could have been had my car been at any sort of angle. As a matter of fact, the people who witnessed it happen cried when I stepped out of the car because they were certain they'd just witnessed someone be killed. Ever since the accident, I think I have a heightened sensitivity to driving in the rain - though, I know it's not a pleasurable experience for anyone...except maybe those men who drive those giant, loud trucks who fly past you like it's a perfectly sunny day.
As I was white-knuckling down 270, I was praying for the rain to let up. About 20 minutes into the drive, I realized the rain had let up a bit, and I hadn't even noticed. I was so focused on the road and the cars around me that I hadn't noticed that the rain went from buckets to a steady downpour. I felt immediate relief even though the danger of the situation was probably only marginally decreased. As I thought about this, I realized the "lighter" rain wasn't even light.
The rain was relative. On a "normal" day, what I perceived as "light" rain on 270 would have thrown me in a tizzy. However, because of the context, the "lighter" rain brought relief. I think in life, sometimes we look at problems, and we think, "How can I complain about how tired I am when my spouse got less sleep than I did" (HA! We all know that sentence would never come out of a mother's mouth...I'm kidding. Thank you for all you do, dads.) But honestly, we think that because our problems don't seem "that big" that it is unreasonable for us to be affected by them. If you're in a relationship, let me give you a really important piece of advice: YOU AND YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER ARE BOTH ALLOWED TO BE TIRED. Stop competing for who is the most tired, and just accept that no one is getting enough sleep.
I'm by no means giving you permission to sit and wallow. However, I do want you to acknowledge that hurt and problems are relative. You're allowed to be tired after a full night's sleep...even if your coworker was up with her sick toddler all night. You're allowed to be upset that you didn't get that raise...even though you're technically making enough to get by. You're allowed to be frustrated when you stop at Kroger for broccoli florets and all they have is cuts...even though...well this one's harder to explain, but make sure you acknowledge that you're not actually upset about the broccoli. You're upset because everything that day had gone wrong, and the broccoli was the final straw. You can be upset about the culmination of a shitty day.
Some problems are buckets and buckets of rain, and it makes absolute sense to be extremely upset for an extended period of time. We're very quick to give ourselves grace when the problem seems huge. But, some problems are light showers that might not appear to be an issue; however, that doesn't mean they don't mess up your hair or decrease your visibility when you're driving 75 mph down a 5 lane highway. These are the "small" problems that join forces and lead to you crying in the frozen food aisle at Kroger.
Some days, you'll be dancing in the rain, and some days you'll be driving in it. The intensity of that rain might not change, but depending on the day, your reaction to it will. Remind yourself that every shower is relative, and sometimes you'll be tasked to drive through them. Be frightened, be upset, be worried because it is overwhelming. But, keep driving because you never know when the road may change, the shower may change, or the sun may come out (for the record, the sun never came out on my drive home, and I still owe myself a drink for the stress it induced.)
Keep fighting the good fight!