Friday, October 15, 2010

Bursting Dam Averted

I was going to write a post about celebrating your accomplishments, but I think this is more important (and related to that topic, so I'm going with it).

Yesterday Daughter and I were working on her college application.  When we got to the part where she lists her extra-curricular activities, we hit a stumbling block.  Being homeschooled doesn't make extra-curricular anything easy, but she does have a couple things.  The big one is her internship at the local office for government aided housing.  We came to the box where it asks for what she does there, and she was all like 'I dunno.  I type, I file, I answer phones'.

Now, I know there's more to it than that.  Her boss has told me on several occasions how awesome Daughter is at her job, how much she's helped with computer stuff, and how she's lightened the load at work.  Plus Daughter herself has talked about all the housing things she's learned - forms and laws and gov't requirements, etc.  She's using jargon I've never even heard.

Anyway, her inability to celebrate her accomplishments pissed me off in a seriously irrational way.  It started with a general irritation that she wasn't even trying to help me help her fill out her application.  Then it turned into pissed about all the things I do for her when I have to pull teeth to get her to help me.  And before I knew it, I was about to burst into tears about all the angsty things in my own writerly life.  (I ain't June Cleaver here.  Daughter jokes about the tell-all book she's going to write someday about her mother and the psychological scars I've inflicted.  Hey, before I left the room to bawl like a baby, I did tell her she wasn't the cause of my mental breakdown.  I get credit for that, right?)

Once I got myself calmed down, she told me about all the angsty things going on in her head, too.  She had herself a good cry, too, and now we both feel better.  And hey, we didn't even have to break out Steel Magnolias.

The point is, we both needed a pressure release.  I'm sending a book out into the world and she's about to step out into the world herself.  With all that water up against the dam, you have to have some kind of outlet or the dam will burst.  Maybe that's why people go postal - because they never vent in healthier ways.

This morning Elana Johnson had an awesome post about her own pressure release.  And while she may have thought she was being 'Bawl Baby Elana', I think she was being healthy.  Everyone needs a good vent every now and then.  Even if it's just ten minutes of beating the hell out of your pillow or sobbing over a scene in a movie.  Or ten pages of a really violent scene where you kill off the prose effigy of someone you hate.

Hell, it's better than shooting up the inside of a school, or beating the crap out of your wife, or kicking the dog.

What do you do when your dam is close to bursting?  Do you even know when you're close, or do you suddenly snowball a simply disagreement into a sobfest?

1 comment:

  1. I think it's better too. It is my release, and sometimes that's all it takes for me to realize how good I have it in other areas of my life.