Friday 12th Feb 2021
So we’re now two weeks into the month, the kiddos have been back at school and I’ve been smashing out them words, doing a few workouts a week, joining in for the twice-weekly Create-Alongs run by Sarah Rhea Werner, sleeping enough, eating well, drinking lots and so on, so forth.
Feeling all-round awesome.
Then this morning rolled around.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve had ups and downs, as we all do. Unexpectedly taking over two of the kid’s basketball teams as sole coach and manager was a big one! Especially since social interactions of all kinds drain me, and being handed the reins for these kids, to call the shots around something so important, it was a shock to the system.
You can safely assume my nerves were shot last weekend, there were tears and arguments and avoidance and all of it (it also didn’t help that I was reaching the end of my monthly cycle that week too, so: hormones).
But I got through it. I stepped up, and (with all the lovely support of our basketball families) I got through, and felt pretty damned good about it.
Before I get to this morning, I need to mention a story I heard from a few days ago first.
School traffic in the morning, abundant with people stressing and rushing and caring more about timing than safety, and a gorgeous family from the school were victims in a car accident. This poor family had their car hit from behind because the other person wasn’t paying attention. It was a write-off. The whole rear of the car was crushed from the impact. Young girls in the back seat, too, on their way to school.
Important side note: they’re all okay!
My heart broke when I read that story and saw the pictures. Car accidents are horrific, they stick with you for so long after, not to mention the fear you experience when it happens, the nightmares, the anxiety. All of it.
It wasn’t fair.
When I read this story, I came away horrified, frustrated, and disappointed in our community.
What could lead a person to be so careless?
I like to drive around in the zippy little car we have, it’s fun, but I’m careful. I respect the road rules. I respect that others might not be as focused as they should be while on the road. I don’t touch my phone while driving.
And I still enjoy it.
I turn on a podcast or some metal or an instrumental collection to muse over my work-in-progress.
And I just enjoy the drive.
If we’re running late, I let everyone know ahead of time, I apologise, the kiddos all understand, and we still take it easy. We do not rush (a drastic difference to how I was raised). And we get there when we get there.
Now, the roadworks here are horrendous as of late. If we leave at our usual time, it takes 50 minutes to get to school drop off instead of 17.
So we leave earlier.
I get up earlier, I help the kids a little more than usual, I make sure we all sleep enough, make sure everything is ready that can be ready the night before, and we leave a little earlier to beat the build up.
And it works.
So, today. Here I am, all proud of myself. I dropped the kiddos off early, they have time to settle in without pressure, I’m headed home, cruising through the back streets, ducking and weaving around the building school traffic queues, always sticking to 40km/hr in school zones, or slower, never faster.
I’m ahead of it all. I’m doing awesome. This parenting thing is working for me. I’m feeling excited to get home early and get started on writing sooner than usual. I’m feeling proud.
Now, I should feel proud, I know this, I accept this, I embrace this.
But today I took it too far. My teenage arrogance of old reared it’s ugly head.
So, there’s this set of lights, where everyone queues to skip all the traffic on the main road, trying to get back out of town. I stop in the queue and wait, the queue isn’t as big as usual because I’m earlier than usual and I’ll get through the lights with the next sequence then be on my way. Cruising home.
On top of the world.
Next moment, I see this patched up bogan car come to a hard stop right behind me and it scares me for just a moment, thinking there’d be an impact. But it doesn’t come. I breathe.
I’m looking, thinking they’re so close because they just want to be out of the way of the roundabout, so then I think sure thing and I inch a little further forward, giving them more room. Being the helpful community member that I am (more pride, feeding that arrogance).
And- they don’t move. They don’t even notice.
But I brush it off.
The light goes green and the rest of the queue moves through the light efficiently and without incident. I drive forward, keeping up so I don’t hold up the queue, and the light turns amber. I merge across to the second, now-empty turning lane and come to a stop as it goes red.
The patched up car? Yep. Still there.
Turns out they wanted my lane and were going to run the red light to get through and around the corner, if only I hadn’t merged across before them.
In their same hard-stop fashion, they weave sharply into my lane then back to the one we started in, no indicators, in one aggressive movement. Angry that I’d ruined their plan, that I added yet more hardship to their morning.
And me, in all my arrogance, now realising the driver is pissed off and in a hurry, I turn around in my seat and clap with all the sarcasm I could muster.
Congratulations! You got exactly nowhere and almost ended up in my boot, twice.
Smug look and all.
They see this, roll forward and wind down their window. Yelling out, they confront me on the mock-applause.
They knew the answer and, already being angry about traffic, and running behind and all the rest, they were just ready and looking for a fight. And I presented them with the perfect opportunity.
So I rolled down my window.
Now, I’m an introvert. I avoid confrontation. I clam up when in an argument, my mind shuts off if I’m just feeling anger from the other person. I can’t talk, can’t move, can’t look at them, none of it. I’ve gotten better as of late, but still. A stranger, with an angry look, fist waving, willing to ram their car into whoever ticks them off, and I choose this moment to be a hero(ine).
What compelled me to roll down my window and answer?
I’m right and I know it and they’re going to hear all about it and fix all their horrible actions and then thank me.
I thought I’d grown out of that part of me. Turns out we all have sides we try to hide from, or squash down, and eventually, given all the right circumstances, they’ll come barreling out when you least want them to.
This is not to say we can’t work on these parts, and learn and grow.
We all can, all of the time, every day of our lives we can choose change and growth and kindness.
It’s never too late.
But yes, I rolled down my window, and leaned to look at them as they asked again, why?
And I said well, you’re in a rush, stumbling over my words like the introvert I am, and starting to feel a little out of my depth.
My arrogance dwindled, along with my pride.
As it always goes, for people who are struggling to keep things together as an adult and are angry at the world to protect themselves (we’ve all been there), they don’t hear anything you say.
So I argued for the 5 minutes of that red light, back and forth, they screamed and yelled, and made up bullshit to find any possible way to make me back down and apologise, which didn’t happen because I was angry now too.
I was arguing all of their bullshit with logic that they just didn’t want to hear. Slowly realising I’d made a bad choice, I’d gotten myself into that shit situation and I wasn’t feeling quite so proud anymore.
By the time the green light hit, my heart was pounding, my entire body shaking, and still, the other person heard none of what I said.
They were in a hurry, they were trying to get on top of their horrible morning and fix it the best they knew how.
Who was I to tell them they were wrong?
Never-mind the risk to other drivers, especially at school times when kids are sitting in the back seat of most cars.
Never-mind the horrific accident a few days prior.
I had no right.
The light turned green, I took off, as I usually do, swiftly, carefully getting around the corner, letting the car beside me (the one in front of the angry driver) have space to feel comfortable as they came around the corner too.
Despite what had just happened. Pretending so hard that it hadn’t made me nervous as hell.
But also, not knowing the full extent someone fueled by anger would go to.
I drove off, as I normally would. Already replaying the argument in my head, breathing deep to calm the shakes. Wanting to be off and on my way, to wipe it from the record, move past it, and vow I’d never do it again.
And then that patched up car shot up another lane, ducked in front of me and slammed on the breaks. Hard.
I stopped in time. Only just. And I’m sure they were laughing at this young, new driver who thought she knew better. No matter my achievements that morning.
I stopped in time, but it shook me.
The only thing I could think of was that they had a kid in the back of their car and their anger allowed them to go that far.
We can guarantee I won’t be so arrogant again, however. I’d never learned a proper lesson about arrogance as a teen, but today taught me well.
And I’m glad no one got hurt.
The thing I wrestle with now; will calling out a person for their harmful actions result in the same risks?
But we need to. In appropriate forums. And without sarcasm.
Not shouting between cars, when the person is already overwhelmed, anger the only way they know how to survive.
Current Project – Novel
I’m still going strong with handwriting my first draft. Up to 15k words already, reaching (and exceeding) my page goal each day and brainstorming outside that. My characters are feeling more real and the incidents they find themselves in are complicated and steeped in emotion and are a blast to write.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard, every day it’s hard just to sit and write, but putting in the work helps.
I’ve whittled my sprints down to 5mins each and am rewarding my brain with a dark-choc-coated roasted chickpea from The Happy Snack Company range for every 5mins I achieve. It’s helping.
In this event, the group chats through Sarah’s live stream on twitch as Sarah follows along, celebrating our wins and helping us through our losses as a creative community for a magical 2 hours, twice a week.
In the middle, we all get creative, or practice some self care (where ever we’re at, it’s all valid) for an hour and then come back and chat about how we went. Did we reach our goals? Why or why not? While Sarah and the community help us work through it.
It’s been such an inspiration to have so many creatives together in one place, feeling completely at home and supported and empowered, no matter what we achieve.
Thanks Sarah for creating this community. It truly is a blessing.
As for next month, I’m looking forward to getting another 15k done for this draft. August is my self-imposed deadline, if I get there early, I’ll be over the moon.
Though I know still the hardest parts are yet to come…
Revision and beyond.
But the story can only get better, fuller, richer, deeper, and better.
I hope you all achieve or learn something in February, despite ever changing unpredictable situations still lingering around the world.
Whether it be words, drinking more water than usual, tapering your own arrogance while still maintaining your pride, or taking a moment to breathe.
What have you learned this month?
Leave your comments, thoughts, goals and lessons below, I personally respond to each and every comment here and can’t wait to hear from you.
I’ll have another update for you in March.
For now, remember to:
Explore, create, repeat-
© 2021 Rebecca Glaessner