Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay! This morning, I did wake up mellow and all. I even meditated before brushing my teeth: Staying flat on my back on a mattress notorious for having less give than my floor, I stared at the ceiling and counted my breaths. In — hold — out: one. In — hold — out: two.
Maybe I should take the hold out. In — out: one. In — out… Shit! It feels like I am about to hyperventilate.
Okay, I better hold.
Well, that didn’t work. My breathing has been suffering from a bit of shortness this month: Rent is due in a coupla weeks, and if you ever dwelled in LA-LA, you know that in the last weeks of August, the town goes dead and its army of freelancers and independent contractors are better off leaving town — or they go homicidal with despair.
Still in bed, I switched my tactic. On my notoriously firm mattress, I assumed the position of an upside-down starfish and I recalled hearing a successful man point out the main recipe for his prosperity: GRATITUDE — he said last night.
Aha! I’ve suspected that much.
Gratitude is habitual for me, and this year I’ve had to practice quite a bit of it: Somewhere in the transition to my life of a self-published writer, a self-taught blogger; to the high-wire act of a freelancer and the truly delightful experience of single-girl-dom that crashed onto my head unexpectedly, in the midst of all that, via an abrupt decision by my partner to depart — summoning my gratitude has been crucial for keeping tabs on my sanity. ‘Cause I’m an angry little girl who’s got one hell of a spirit in her — and way too much to say! And if not channeled toward crossing oceans and conquering fears, that wrath could easily metamorphose into a cancer.
Face down, on my notoriously firm mattress, I began making a list of all the things for which I felt — or could feel — grateful.
Well, let’s see: There is health. And, then…
“But: WHY?! Why is this child screaming at the top of her lungs?”
I noticed the shrill sound earlier this morning. I had to: It was the very reason for my being awake. With intervals filled with other mellow sounds of my neighborhood — the jiggle of an ice-cream cart and the remote hum of a drill — this little girl had been screaming as if she was being exorcized, at the start of the day.
And it wasn’t really a cry of pain: Past that I could NOT have meditated. Instead, it was more like a holler to test the strength of her throat, to flex her lung power. She would start out low, as if cooing; then unexpectedly wind it up, switch the registers until it would sound like a piercing shriek meant to break glass and porcelain coffee cups — or maybe even hearts! And just as unpredictably — she would go quiet.
But back to my list of all the things for which I felt — or could feel — grateful:
Well, there is health. And then…
And, then, there is this one hell of a spirit of mine! I don’t really know where it comes from: Perhaps, I’ve inherited it from all the other angry little girls that preceded me, in my family. It has been tested by life: Through generations, we have encountered enough shit to squash it down; to not survive, to retreat. Instead, every angry little girl would get more fired up: And that wrath would force us to cross oceans, to conquer fears, to make up new dreams and pick-up new adventures; to get past the unexpected changes; to shrug off our partners’ abrupt decisions to depart and to move on to the next, bettered versions of ourselves.
And we would scream. I’ve heard my motha do it: She would start out low; then unexpectedly wind it up, switch the registers until it would sound like a piercing shriek meant to break glass — or maybe even hearts. And she would NOT get quiet for hours, for days. It would be like a private exorcism, at the start of every day, by a madwoman desperately trying to keep tabs on her sanity. And if she didn’t give that wrath a voice — it would metamorphose into a cancer of regrets and resentments. So, she screamed.
As I also scream, nowadays, behind the wheel of my car, driving through downtown at midnight, with all the window rolled down.
The angry little girl screamed for hours this morning. She continued to holler, at intervals, as I finally got up from my notoriously firm mattress to do my work; then to hustle for more work in this dead town, at the end of August. She hollered as I cleaned my place and tied up all the loose ends with the disciplined routine of my single-girl-dom. She shrieked as I left the house for my morning run, and I could hear her for miles, until I finally switched on my iPod.
When the shortness of breath kicked in again, later in the day, I began making a list of all the things for which I felt — or could feel — grateful. There was health, of course. And then, there were things.
But if I visualized those things, the images didn’t last. They popped like rainbow-tinted bubbles, and each idea of gratitude was replaced by the faces of the other angry little girls in my family who have guided me with our collective one hell of a spirit. Then, there were the faces of those I had chosen to make up into my own family: My angry people, my unstoppable comrades, my fellow spirits. My most valuable possession, they are — the reason and often the source of my prosperity. And if I look at it like that: I’m a very successful woman, already.
Still, that’s no reason to stop summoning the gratitude, at the start of every day.
And when that doesn’t work, I can always give voice to my wrath and start screaming: to flex my strength, to hear the echos of my power, and to get to the other side of it — and to always overcome. Otherwise, the wrath would metamorphose into a cancer of regrets and resentments. So:
It’s better to scream.