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The Week in Review: Putting Honey Badger to Shame

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Awww, how cute, honey badger is trying to be me.

In reading over this blog before posting it, I can tell it has a pretty different tone from what I usually write. I wrote most of it while I was really pissed off. I also wish that SparkPeople allowed swear words. But as they say: Honey badger don't care.

I am not normally an angry person. Of course I get upset, I GET angry, but I don't usually have this underlying tone of anger almost all the time. I can usually recognize that I'm angry and decide to cool off before taking any immediate action with that emotion. Not stifling the anger, but walking away from the situation, reflecting on it, and not taking impulsive actions while I am still upset. I think I kind of started that "anger" phase of grief a couple of weeks ago and just didn't realize it until it started getting out of hand. In any case, almost no one has been immune to me lashing out to them over the past week or so. Since my dad died February 11th, I have had waves of the most deep-seated anger I have ever experienced. Not only do I feel deeply angry, my brain has apparently decided to have no filter for what comes out of my mouth. I will start mulling over how someone has wronged me in the slightest, and I have just laid into them. Even when I know I'm about to be an as$h0le, I just think, "Nope, it's fine, I won't regret acting like this AT ALL later....RAAAAAHHH!"

I have been in honey badger mode. I make a honey badger in attack stance look like a napping kitten. Normally I pick my battles...over the past few weeks, I have been creating them. I have been spouting off and laying into people. I feel like I am burning bridges left and right. The littlest things seem disastrous, yet I am unconcerned about things like, say...slacking at work and possibly getting reprimanded. At least I have had some self-control. As much as I would like to scream, "WHY DO YOU THINK I GIVE A SH!T!" to every caller I talk to at work, I don't. See what a professional I am? I am just barely able to pull it together to handle one frantic phone call after another for 8 hours straight, and work has made everything much worse since my dad died. Work has become much worse in and of itself. I believe it is permeating into the other areas of my life. I can just never wind down. I get mad while I'm driving. The slightest annoyance when I'm out in public makes my blood boil. But as much as I would like to do a Jiu Jitsu take down and then yell, "F**k you, HAHA!" as I walk past people on the street, I don't.

Okay, so maybe I don't actually have the desire to assault people. But, I have had this very angry dialogue muttering through my head for weeks. It's like that guy who walks down the street muttering to himself and gesturing wildly--you know, the one you avoid eye contact with and stay way over on the sidewalk to avoid--is pacing in my head. Well, that guy seems to be expressing himself through my mouth over the past week. I marched into my boss's (as in our company's president) office and told him EXACTLY what I think of my job, how the company is run, and how I feel about my supervisor. I told him how a lot of the staff feels there is blatant favoritism going on and that a lot of talent is being wasted amongst the staff because of it. I felt free to point out that I am not the only one who feels this way. At least I wasn't swearing, so that's something...I guess.

Me talking to my boss earlier this week.

In any case, even before I started flipping out on everyone, I definitely felt alienated at my gym. Jiu Jitsu is my primary source of sanity, so I tried to keep going to the gym consistently. Since my dad's death didn't really sink in right away, I probably seemed pretty normal the first couple of days after he died. But then my eyes became puffy and I had dark circles under them from crying. I became a little more quiet and joked around less. The guys started to act like they didn't know how to act around me, so they avoided eye contact with me and ignored me instead. I think this alienation played into the feelings of anger. NOBODY messes with my Jiu Jitsu, and I felt so unwelcome and awkward stepping into the gym that I was not going. I felt uncomfortable when I did go. My favorite place on the planet was becoming a source of stress. I needed Jiu Jitsu, I needed my workouts, and I needed my team...and I wasn't getting much of any of those.

I had actually been considering switching to my new gym last year when they brought in a black belt instructor. I knew that the instruction was probably superior to what I was getting. I liked my teachers at my old gym just fine, and still planned on training there sometimes, but the teachers were purple belts, 2 levels below a black belt. But I stayed because I loved my team so much. I noticed the dynamics starting to change a bit; my good pals were training less and the newer guys that were starting were not very respectful and immediately formed cliques. I was watching my beloved team of guys dissipate. I started toying with going to my new gym towards the end of last year. Then, after feeling completely alienated after my dad died, I decided to make the switch official. Without my team, I had no reason to stay and I would not grow as a Jiu Jitsu practitioner. I second-guessed the decision many times, but the more I trained with my new instructor, the more I felt I was making a smart decision. I am also doing kickboxing again, and that will help me get into better shape. Despite finally feeling good about the switch, I knew that I couldn't live without ever working with my old team and still planned on training there a lot of Saturdays.

I was chatting with my old teacher via e-mail about an upcoming seminar and we got to talking about why I switched gyms. Then my teacher told me he had heard from several people that I had left the gym because I had been turned down by a guy there. I was insulted that the assumption was that because I'm a woman, I MUST have left because of a romantic situation at the gym. Needless to say, that pushed me over the edge. I laid into my Jiu Jitsu teacher via e-mail (a first, as I never like to have serious talks via e-mail), I posted a nasty Facebook post aimed towards the guys at the gym (another first), and I texted the guy who I figured must have started the rumor. I asked him if he was telling people that I left the gym because of him. He told me no, it wasn't him, but that he had heard that, too. I could have replied with something classy, but why go that route when you can say something like, "You've been acting like a jerk, so I figured you said it. The person who told me about it did not tell me who they thought I left the gym over...but grown women do not make major life decisions over a boy." I would like to point out that I genuinely thought that response was a good idea. So there I was, 34 years old, picking my first fight via text message. I impulsively unfriended the guy on Facebook. Thaaaaaat's right...I REALLY stuck it to him.

Apparently, grief causes you to revert to a 15-year-old who has just gone through a break-up. All that was missing was the Taylor Swift songs.

In any case, a very unconstructive conversation via text messaging ensued. At one point he asked me, "Where is this coming from?" Of course, the correct answer was, "I am insanely pissed because my favorite man in the world dropped dead 5 weeks ago and is now buried in the ground just a few feet away from my dead brother, and now I have to start being a damn grown-up all by myself," but instead I continued to tell him what a jerk I think he is.

Well, I used to be very sweet:

The problem is, the more pissed off someone is acting while they're grieving, the more they probably just need a hug and a good listener. Even if it seems like a grieving person is attacking you personally, it is unlikely that their anger has much to do with you. I have made a point to not fight any of the emotions that have come with losing my dad, as I know they are a part of the healing process. However, I have no right to lash out at others. My behavior over the past couple of weeks has been very uncharacteristic for me, but I did not recognize what an ass I was being until I laid into my teacher and my teammate. Then I just felt ridiculous. I mean, the way I acted towards them was so absurd that it's almost comical.

I realized why I am so pissed. Yes, anger is a normal part of grieving. But the more specific reason is that I want to talk to my dad so badly going through this career change. I have never made a major life decision without at least some of his guidance. I have especially sought his guidance when it comes to work, as he was an experienced manager and was so good at helping me weigh the pros and cons of a decision. He never made a decision for me, I am my own person, but he was my sounding board and almost always some advice that helped me make the decision in the wisest way possible. On Friday, as I was working of the career change blog I posted, I realized how badly I wanted to be able to talk to my dad. How much I felt like I NEED him in going through this life change.

I had already been fighting back tears for two days...and then the flood came. Uncontrollable, honking, trembling, blinding sobbing. I couldn't get a word out and could barely catch my breath. I hadn't cried like that since the first couple of days after my dad died five weeks ago. Actually, it is possible that I had never cried harder in my whole life. I felt significantly better afterwards; I guess it's all part of the healing process. Damn though, sometimes healing really hurts.

The anger has subsided significantly. After cooling down for a couple of days, I apologized to my friend/teammate for attacking him via text, which he accepted. I apologized to my teacher, and he said he wasn't mad anyways. I did not apologize to my boss; while some of my words may have been frank and harsh, I meant every one of them. Somebody had to say it to him; I guess it needed to be someone who felt at the moment that they had nothing to lose.

I would like to rewind about two months, before my world was facked. Two months ago, I felt like everything was possible and I was experiencing deep happiness. Sure, I still didn't like my job, but at least I didn't feel like I was going to snap. I know deep down that I will feel happiness again, but at this point I feel like "happy" could be a ways off. That does not mean I can't enjoy ANYTHING, but I am certainly far from being the light and vibrant person I was a few months ago. As a matter of fact, I have taken advantage of the strong emotions I have been experiencing to delve deep down inside to try to figure out what I REALLY want, and need.

I know that positive change is on the way; I am still excited about the career change I am making and I am enjoying my new gym. The positive person who has worked so hard to learn to take care of and love herself is still within me. She has made it so I don't eat my way through these horrible feelings. As a matter of fact, I think it is because of her that I am allowing myself to grieve and not be apologetic about being sad. I will just need to be more cognizant of any angry feelings bubbling up and find more constructive ways to handle know, ways that don't involve text-message fighting, attacking Jiu Jitsu teachers via e-mail, impulsively ripping your company's president a new one, etc. The anger had gotten a little out of hand.

Sorry, honey badger, but you need to retreat back into your den. You're in the way.

Okay, fine, I can't resist ending my blog like I usually do with some inspirational quote, so here you go:

"What is responsibility?
Ah--might as well ask, what is self?
It's your responsibility and your self, and no book and no person
can tell you anything about it.

Don't try to find out what your responsibility is.
It isn't a what.
It's a relationship.
It isn't something you know, it's something you do.
Try to get closer to it.
Try to become more yourself."

-From "Das Energi" by Paul Williams
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CANNIE50
    I applaud you for using your anger in a constructive way by talking to head of the company and giving him some information which, whether he chooses to use it constructively or not, he should at least have knowledge of. I am glad to hear you honored your dad by sitting still with your grief and expressing it. I am not surprised to hear that your former instructor and the teammate were willing to forgive you and I am glad you cleaned up your side of the street with them, by making amends. The fact that your beloved father and brother died all too soon just STINKS. I have no silver lining to point out. Actually, speaking of silver linings, if you haven't seen the movie "Silver Linings Playbook" or read the novel, you should. As a writer, I think you will appreciate both the movie and the book. As an angry woman who has had to deal with SH!TE raining down, I know you will appreciate the perspective of the book. I think you described your anger and grief so well - I can relate to both states (which are often intertwined). Better to deal with it now than suppress it and have it hunt you down and kick your @$$ a couple years from now. I know from anger and grief, honey, and I wish you well. I know you will come through this even wiser than you already are, though I wish your additional wisdom was not acquired at such astronomical emotional costs. Take care, Miss Honey Badger.
    1522 days ago
    Give yourself time to grieve. It takes a long time to get over losing a parent - one to two years. I still struggle at times. I was helped by reading about grief from people like Elizabeth Kulber Ross.
    1523 days ago
  • THOMS1
    Keep working through those steps. It will get better in time. emoticon
    1523 days ago
    Well, I'm glad you are going through the steps! Keep up the good work!
    1523 days ago
    I think you are doing a great job of recognizing y our grief and going through it. No matter what happens I have a feeling, because of your insight and maturity, that you will get through it just fine. As for missing talking to your dad, why not talk to him anyway? He might not answer like he used to, but I think he will answer you inside of yourself.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1524 days ago
    I have soooo been there and really know the process. Although I think it helps as time goes along to "apologize" for the more inappropriate ranges of rage expressed to people, it is ultimately good to just SAY what you are angry about. It may change many relationships for ever, but it is often for GOOD as well. The folks you blasted really needed to be challenged on their judgement and misinterpretation of your behavior. I seriously doubt anyone has "hurt feelings" over your anger. Anyone who is 100% unaware of the stages of grieving is either not reading the magazines in the doctor's waiting room or in denial themselves. You keep your Spark bright!
    1524 days ago
    Again, I'm so sorry for your loss.

    Have you thought about seeing a counselor? It may help you and preserve some of your relationships!

    I also would try to explain to the people you've scorched -- I know I take it REALLY PERSONALLY when someone unloads on me because I DO try to be a kind and sensitive person.

    You WILL get through this. Your dad's guidance is still with you, you just have to be still and listen for it. Take care of yourself!!!
    1524 days ago
    Hey, not actually assaulting people is a win in my book. Sounds healthy and normal to me. Especially the apologizing part.
    1524 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon Thank you for the poignant description of your grieving process.
    1524 days ago
    So. You didn't eat three gallons of ice cream and 6 pizza? You didn't spend most of your time when you weren't working asleep or on the couch? You realized what was happening and apologized?

    I'd say you are handling each horrible and uncomfortable phase of grieving in a healthy and sane-human way. I started - and continued - reading your posts because you come across so very honestly. You talk about what is happening in your life and how it impacts your health - all the aspects of it. We talk about fitness and nutrition here all the time, but there's much more to good health.

    Thank you for sharing this difficult part of your life with us.
    1524 days ago
    I feel your grief, anger, rage, pain! It does hurt! I am grieving the loss of what I knew as my life, and feel many of the things you do, too! You are in my thoughts and I send you hugs and an ear anytime you need one!
    P.S. I loved the quote ;-)
    1524 days ago
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