Emotional Thermometer Reading. These words flow together obtusely like Grass-Roots Movements and Synergistic Management Solutions. (…The haay-elll does that even mean?) I ALMOST know what the definitions are all about, and they sound important and interesting and descriptive, but secretly, I’m wondering what the fancy jargon is all about. Say what you mean, man! I am unsure what the first word has to do with the second part, and feel absolutely sure that the third word is thrown in purely for pomposity sake. It’s obnoxious-speak for I–FEEL-Important, really. They are terms that fit a niche group. A dialed in group. A Making-A-Diffeence kind of group. I am an outsider, so far. Nevertheless, I have an opportunity to take my emotional thermometer reading.
Um…. here goes.
This month is wrapped around anticipation. English peas come into season at the farmers’ market. I get 20 lbs., and eat only that for a week. Its almost my birthday, not that I admit to aging. The 4th of July is almost here and that means the nation celebrates my birthday with parades and fireworks. It’s Father’s day, and… Oh yeah. It’s Father’s Day. I get to hint and remind my kids to make my husband feel great and celebrate the good that he brings into their lives. There is a dinner, and cards, and laughing, and usually calling him “Old Man”. But there is also celebrating MY father.
I can’t call him. I can’t write him. There is no card I can send him. I get to just look to the sky and say, “Thanks, dad, for your advice and love.” I don’t like it. I don’t approve. No one asked me if I was ok with him dying, anyway. It sucks. So my emotional thermometer reading for this month is bitter, climbing to tears, and a possibility of a Klondike Bar.
I never did get to tell him thanks for listening when I took the plunge and shared the times I was abused growing up. I didn’t convey to him how much it meant that, when I opened up, he didn’t interrupt, or roll his eyes, or look disappointed. He didn’t look shocked, or embarrassed, or uncomfortable at all. He took it in. And then he said he loved me.
But that wasn’t all.
He looked me right in the eye and said, “Now what are you going to do about it?” I wondered if he meant, was I looking for revenge, or what?… but he clarified by saying, “Dot (short for daughter. I now call my own girl Dot, and smile inside), you have been a victim for a very big portion of your life, up to this point. Right now. And now, you have a choice: To stay a victim, or become a survivor. So, which is it?”.
It hit me hard. I had a pretty big chip on my shoulder. A big one. Hurt and anger and shame and mistrust were all bubbled at the surface. But he was asking me, not with derision or judgement, but with love and genuine interest. What did I want to do from here? Live in the past, or choose to move forward?
In that moment, I chose to move forward. It was freeing, right then. He wasn’t about sympathizing and consoling, or vendettas and revenge. He didn’t waste time with that. He held me in the space of strength. I had a choice, from that time forward. Harumphh. This doesn’t mean I forgot. Or even forgave. (I am quite fine with knowing Karma has given 2 of the jerks just what they deserve.) But, I got to let go of their hold on me.
As I take my emotional temperature, I am a bit bitter. He was the good one. The one that didn’t downplay my hurt. He started a partnership with me. And now he is gone, and I have a day devoted to my memories of him, mingled with a bit of childish pouting. I bounce back and forth, wondering why I don’t know how to feel about this holiday. Empty, maybe. I shy away from the why-can’t-I-feel-him-near-me. Shouldn’t I?
I googled this term. Emotional thermometer. It’s really about being rated, by a scale of 1-10, on how emotionally upset I am in these areas: Distress, Anxiety, Depression, Anger, and Need For Help.
Well…let’s just see.
Distress – Nope. Not this month. Kind of freeing, actually. Had some good intimacy last night, and feeling mighty fine. No emergency here.
Anxiety – Hell yes, I am anxious. I am in the habit of anticipating when the next memory will pop up. How will I react when I see a white young pompous man in a red hat? Or should I give in and drink the anxiety away? I hear it is therapeutic. I wonder if I think about this stuff, am I just prolonging the pain, or am I needing to process this still, and when the hell will it end? Anxious, yep.
Depression – Nope. No highs and no lows this time. I’m doing well in business, assisting others, learning a lot. In short, I am doing my best to keep busy and serve others. And eat ice cream.
Anger – Well, that is the crux this month. Do I spend time looking at the sky and pretend I can feel my dad looking down in love or disapproval, while I drum up a tear or two for his memory? Do I do the polite, positive thing and call to wish my mother’s new husband a happy Father’s Day, letting him know inadvertently that I am accepting his role as replacement for the man I have yet to really grieve for? That would be…polite. Should I swallow what I want to really shout, and instead simply say, “I am glad you two are happy. Enjoy your dinner.” Now this guy is a great guy. A really good guy. He just isn’t my dad. Period. I should work to make him feel comfortable, right? I mean, Right?? Should I…should I…
Need For Help – Well, that’s why I’m writing. It is my way of moving past the victim mode and sliding into survivor mode. Hmmm. possibly past that into a healthy life.
So, I’ll watch my husband use a crowbar and knife to open his Man Crate, a Father’s Day gift from me, which is understood by all to be from the kids. I’ll coddle him and honor him for his role, not only in my children’s lives, but as my constant companion in moving forward. He becomes my own focus for a male role model. Happy Father’s Day to him.
For the record, I dumbed down grass-roots movement to mean, simply, “Ordinary or common people, as opposed to leadership of the elite, the govonment parties, and social organizations.” The Basic level challenging the snooty-asses and all that is wrong with the world. Stick it to the man, and here’s a cause worth jumping on the bandwagon for.
As for Synergistic Management Solutions… Play Cards Against Humanity, and pick the best sounding definition. It’s a buzz term that not even google can pin down. My husband knows, being an IT and business guru, but apparently, it is complicated to explain. Dur.
I’m grabbing a Klondike bar. That’s my temperature.