Today is the one week anniversary of the moment I nearly lost my mind on a miniature golf course in Redmond, Washington. It is also the one week anniversary of the moment I came to my senses and decided I needed to dig out of the hole I was in…and I don’t mean a golf hole.
Prior to last Saturday I had hit a pretty serious low for about 3 weeks. In an email to my friend Tanya I said “I don’t know yet but I think I might be depressed. It’s been a while since I’ve been depressed but I’m definitely getting there.” I was struggling. I was headed down a path to a really dark place. A place I hadn’t been since the summer of 2001. A place I don’t ever want to go back to.
The move to Seattle (on the heels of moving to Denver 10 months before) was finally catching up to me. A move changes EVERYTHING…job, friends, home, etc. and no matter how deeply you know it is the right decision…it is HARD. In the last year to 18 months I’ve really learned who my true friends are. I also know that some of my dearest friendships are on the brink of not surviving the ever-widening gap in beliefs, life differences, personality differences, etc. Mix in one highly emo poet ex-love-of-my-life waltzing in and out of my life for the last two months and dancing on my pretty fragile emotions…and you get the picture.
Everything was broken..or so it seemed.
On Friday (07/20) I cried all the way to Centralia to pick up my niece. I just fell beaten and sad and alone. By the time I picked her up, I’d slapped a smile on my face and as she always does, she made me laugh and things were slightly better. The next day she and I drove over Lake Washington to go miniature golfing on the east side. It was a lovely warm day and the place was busy.
We laughed our way through the course…mostly because we are TERRIBLE miniature golfers and were maybe 4 holes from finished when some kids from a birthday party started playing tag. Don’t get me wrong…I love a good game of tag but these kids (probably about 9 or 10 years old) were playing tag across all of the putt putt greens and getting in the middle of several different family games. That’s when things went down hill.
First–I just looked at them exasperated and Sierra and I rolled our eyes at each other
Then–I said “Hey guys, could you please go around. We are playing a game here.”
Followed by–“HEY…GO AROUND!”
Finishing with–“HEY!!!! GET OFF THE PUTTING GREEN. YOU ARE RUDE AND ANNOYING!!!!’
In a few words…I lost my shit!
Sierra was not sure who to stare at more. The idiot kids who did not know that they were messing with her bad ass aunt or her batshit crazy aunt who was losing it right there in broad daylight!
The kids having now been basically screeched at ran off the course and back to their yuppie soccer moms standing in a huddle under an air-conditioned tent.
Then it happened. The tipping point.
One of the Mom’s walked out into the middle of the green on the last hole. She didn’t look where she was going. It wasn’t intentional. She was in the wrong place at the wrong time…and like her kids…she wasn’t thinking. I’m pretty sure she thought that since she’d paid for a party at this venue, she owned the joint. In her white shorts over fake tanned legs and her snazzy sun vizor, the lady stopped in the middle of our green, looked out over the next hole and called to one of the kids on the sidewalk in her sweet Mom voice…”Hailey, do you know where Trevor is?”
There I am…club in hand, ball on the green, lined up to take the shot
Sierra is watching me…then watching the mom…then watching me
The kids who had already been yelled at are standing near their mother ON THE GREEN and on the sidewalk watching me…not looking at her…watching ME.
Then I say…okay…yelled…”HEY LADY!!!”
“Yes?” she says quizzically as she slowly turns to acknowledge my existence in her universe.
“MOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” I yell with a gesture that indicates that she needs to skedaddle her ass right off the green right away.
She looks at me horrified and grabs her kid’s hand and huffs of the green.
Then it happened…SNAP!…I giggled.
Well…that did not sit well with the Soccer Mom of the Year. She turned around, indignant and said “Do you think something is funny?”
I laughed and said “Well yes…yes I do. I think your kids don’t have any manners and that you and the other mom’s are not supervising them at all. Oh, and I also think I’m over reacting.”
To that she said nothing but if looks could kill, I’d have left the course with at least a flesh wound.
Then Sierra and I had to walk by the birthday tent to return our balls and clubs. 10 angry cross-armed moms in visors (okay…they may not have all had on visors) were standing outside protecting their young as if I was going to eat them. And the whispers….oh the glorious whispers!!
And I giggled…again.
Which made them whisper more.
You can imagine the cycle we fell into.
Here’s the thing. Imagine that for probably 2 weeks…oh heck…make it 2 months a rubber band in the center of me was getting stretched and twister tighter and tighter and tighter. This is a tension and sensation that I’ve lived with on and off since I was about 5. At its simplest it is always stretched slightly…never fully limp. But at its worst it gets wound tighter and tighter until even the wound up rubber band begins to wind on itself.
In the moment when I yelled the words “HEY LADY!!!!!!” I snapped. Fortunately snapping for me always involves laughter and not crazy violence. With one laugh, the rubber band broke. And suddenly everything was funnier.
Life hadn’t changed. The things that are problematic still are. The bad relationships are still bad. The doubts are still there. The uncertainly is alive and well. But what had changed is that the tension loosened.
In that moment, I knew I couldn’t stay on the road to the dark place. I had to walk back out the way I’d come. I’ve done it before. I could do it again.
The next day I read a book on gratitude and decided that I needed to change my focus. And I’ve done that. Little has changed. Nothing is intrinsically different.
I am different.
I’ve survived yet another difficult season. Today I will breathe gratitude in and breathe pain/suffering/bitterness out. Today I will choose to not yell at rude people and will instead try to offer love. After all…soccer moms in stupid visors need love too!