Shatter-resistant


I break things quite frequently in the kitchen. Sometimes I even break stuff on purpose, because nothing says “commitment” like walking barefoot on a tile floor when it’s covered in microscopic shards of broken glass. I also spill things, also quite frequently. My motivations are several, but usually the reasons amount to nothing so much as the intense pleasure second degree burns give my skin.  Sometimes, for kicks, I even spill on stuff. So why does it bother me so much?I think, like most things in life, it comes down to an issue of control. I can generally atone for my own actions. I’m a quite shame-filled individual. I deal in shame much as Van Gogh expressed himself in painting and earlessness.  I feel my face turning pink, and whatever my mistake, egregious or not; is shown to everyone around me.  If flagellation were acceptable, I’m sure I’d spend loads of time absolving my guilt in painful, bloody penance. Maybe it’s the mild startings of an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

The occurrences in our homes, we seem to believe, should not spill beyond the scope of our control.  Of course, stuff never plays out that way.  I can’t avoid the occasional spill, or snagging a nice sweater on a loose nail. I can’t possibly stop Alex or Daniel from committing the error of snapping their eyeglasses in half within 30 seconds of walking out of the optometrist’s office. I can’t keep Judi from dropping a glass on the kitchen floor. Occasionally a person’s got to let go of things they can’t control; nobody needs a stomach perforation. I don’t for a second think this short essay is any help. Just reminding myself.  And if you folks decide to dump their pint of potato soup between the couch cushions?  Good on ya! Stuff happens. Let it go. Let it go.

B.

“All the gnomes on the left say TWO FEET TALL!!!”  “All the gnomes on the right say POINTY RED HATS!!!”–Alex and Daniel, quoting from, I believe, their video game.

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4 thoughts on “Shatter-resistant”

  1. Our family does tend to break things way more often than normal folks; does that mean we’re “above average”? It used to bother me much more than it does these days. I’ve always been on the clumsy side, and when I spilled or broke things as a child, I was punished. As I got older, it became fodder for teasing and ridicule from my family. For years after I grew to adulthood, I’d feel ashamed whenever I broke or spilled something, whether anyone else knew or not. After I married and became a mother, I saw myself repeating the pattern with my family, and I realized that I didn’t want them to feel as bad about themselves as I did for their clumsiness. It was very much a control issue, and probably related to my OCD. I think I just finally came to accept that it’s just “stuff”, and “stuff” is never as important as “people”. Stuff breaks, but so do people, and the damage to people is much harder to fix, so these days I try to avoid hurting people and, as you say, let it go.

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  2. I like this…and your mom’s response practically made me cry! I, too, am a big believer in ‘letting it go,’ but I don’t know why it is so hard to do sometimes.

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  3. I like this. I deal with control issues all the time, just like Janet Jackson. I can’t fix it or you, but let me try…and make a bigger mess.

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  4. Perhaps you are so hard on yourself because your mother was too hard on you when accidents occured. If that is the case, I’m sure she would erase all the consequenses of her actions, from your life, if at all possible. If that is not possible, I’m sure she would join you in saying, “Let it go. Let it go.”

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