There’s this one chick that comes into my Zumba class whenever she freaking feels like it. She immediately starts talking to everyone as if she knows them (she doesn’t) with lots of bravado (“Yeah, right, what’s up girl, we got dis”). When we dance, she practically turns into a stripper, adding all kinds of wiggles and hip thrusts where they just don’t belong. She watches herself in all the mirrors and shouts things like, “OOOOO GIRL!!” when we’re doing a lot of squats or maybe a long verse on our tippy toes while our calves burn.
I don’t care for her.
It really took me until today to figure out why she was bothering me so much. I don’t like being a person who is bothered.
Lately I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite parenting books, The Conscious Parent. I noticed over the holidays that Abraham started getting on my nerves (more than usual) and I was snapping and losing my cool far too easily. In reading this book again I was reminded how parents can often add drama to a situation. Not only do we get irritated, but we announce how irritated we are and hurumph or roll our eyes or raise our voices or slam doors. We don’t do anything that’s going to scar our children for life; I’m not talking about that kind of drama. Just the little “exclamation points” we add to a situation to really emphasize the emotion we’re feeling so everyone around us, namely our children, know how ANNOYING THEY ARE. Shefali Tsebary (the author of The Conscious Parent) explains that emotions are normal and HEALTHY. It’s the flair we add onto those feelings that is excessive, unhealthy for all involved, and super-dumb. The other day I looked at Abraham and said, “I’m so irritated.” I didn’t allow myself the frills, though. I just stated the fact that I was irritated and when he asked me what that meant, I told him. I allowed myself to be at my wit’s end with my child and I left it at that. No drama. No flair. “I’m just irritated and I need to be left alone.”
How often do we do the opposite? We add flair to our feelings.
Not only am I mad, but I’m going to YELL!
Not only am I confused, but I’m going to tell everyone that this makes no sense!
Not only am I frustrated with how slow the grocery store line is but I’m going to announce to everyone around me, “I ALWAYS CHOOSE THE WRONG LINE!”
It’s like we have to accentuate our own feelings by enhancing their size and thereby (somehow) making them more valid. When, in fact, being frustrated that the line in the grocery store isn’t moving is fine. It’s acting like a big a-hole about it that isn’t. Can ya just be frustrated, acknowledge you’re frustrated TO YOURSELF, and then move on with life?!
Could you possibly just let your feelings be feelings without all the choreography?!
And then it hit me. The choreography. In the middle of a chapter in a book about parenting, I realized why I didn’t care for Zumba girl. The drama. She added flair onto everything. It was attention-grabbing. It was distracting. It even added discomfort to things like long squats because she was adding to the pain by shouting loudly enough for all of us to hear how much pain SHE was in!
I’ve been doing my best to eliminate drama from my life these past few years, and that includes my own dramatic reactions. I have most definitely not been perfect, but in this practice I’ve noticed the theatrical expressions happening around me are so much more obvious! And so much more BOTHERSOME and I could just SCREAM but I won’t because being annoyed is enough all by itself without any added drama and i’m learning from my own blog right now…
(BTW, Could the Zumba girl just be a really expressive dancer? Yes. But let the blog be what it’s about, ok?)
So that’s going to be my focus. I’m going to have all the feels. I’m just not going to express every. single. feel. with so much flair. I’m going to be gentle with myself, honest with myself, and trust that my own emotions are valid all by themselves. Less drama. Less flair.