No, I don’t have a new running partner.
Couple of weeks ago, I texted a friend (who is not named Angela) to ask her if she’d be disappointed if I no longer wanted to do an activity that we’d intended to organize together.
Here is the exchange that followed, beginning with her reply:
After some thought, I decided that it’s fitting to personify the busyness that’s consuming my life and sanity. “Too much to do” transforms into a something, a someone, and “Crazy Angela” becomes a(n almost) tangible problem with which to tangle instead of a vague sense of overwhelm. It becomes person I could get to know, even though she’s someone I don’t expect to like. (To think I didn’t even know she existed a couple of weeks ago!) By giving the too-busy part of ME her very own entity, perhaps it would be easier to deal with it/her. Instead of thinking, “I just have TOO MUCH to do!” I could tell Crazy Angela to go take a break in the corner with some graham crackers and a juice box, like the unruly child she is. Crazy Angela could be sent to bed for a nap. (I might even join her!) I could tell her to take a night off, or even to go home and get her out of my hair completely. When the situation is really out of hand, I can bitch-slap Crazy Angela into submission.
(Metaphorically. Since she’s not real or solid or anything to be literally slapped. I’d just be swinging through the air, and that would make me look even stupider than usual. Also only metaphorically because I wouldn’t bitch-slap anyone in real life. Unless metaphorical Crazy Angela was real and solid, going all “Weird Science,” like a disheveled Kelly LeBrock, on me. Then I might bitch-slap her.)
Perhaps I could even offer Crazy Angela some compassion. Like:
Hey, girl. I know you’re knocking yourself OUT, trying to accomplish all of the things – nice effort, by the way. I appreciate all you do, but you are also emanating this chaotic, stressed-out, negative energy that’s oozing all over the house….
What’s that you say? Oh the house. Right, right. The house is in disarray, but you’re going to have that. And we can’t snap our fingers and fix it in the next 10 minutes, so….
Wait, what now? Yes, yes, the girls could probably pop into a shower here before bedtime – which would take only about 10 minutes – but you know what? This isn’t a third world country or anything. Think about how blessed we are that the kids haven’t been outside fixing cars or tilling fields all day or something like that! SO. Lucky, amirite? The girls are clean enough. In fact, some experts are believe we’re negatively impacting our microbiomes – you know, the healthy germs in and on our bodies? – by over-cleaning….
Hold the phone. You have me off on yet another tangent. The point is: The house. The kids. The chores. The tasks. The things. They’ll be here tomorrow. What say we just take a break from worrying, from fretting, from stressing about….
DO NOT panic! Shhhhh, easy there, girl. I know that’s your thang. But just for TONIGHT. Or even just for an HOUR. What do you say we take a break together over a glass of wine? A beer? I’ll let you pick. Do you think you could do that? For me? Just this once to see how it goes, okay? If we like it, we can maybe try it again another day.
Ooo! And I’ll make you a deal! IF you also let me fall asleep tonight, we’ll get up in the morning and go for one of those runs that burns off some of that Crazy you’re named for. Oh, sorry, I know you don’t care for “Crazy,” Angela, but if the shoe fits, sweetie. Anyway, don’t we always feel so good, so together when we start the day with a run? Let’s get some Z’s tonight at go for that run in the morning, okay?
After that, I’ll let you take the reigns again. You can get right back to chasing me from task to task. And – oh, I know this is your favorite! – reminding me while I’m busy getting one thing done, of the two or three other things that I’ve forgotten to do. But just for now, what do you say? You think you could give it a try? LET’S DO THIS!”
(I realize that’s a lot of words, but C.A. needs to be talked down when she gets going. And she’s always going.)
If I’m having a mere moment of chaos, acknowledging Crazy Angela might be all she needs. “Hey, C.A.? Thanks for reminding me that I still haven’t cleaned my smeary car windows or changed the sheets, but I can’t do either of those things while I’m at the grocery store trying make sure I have everything we need for school lunches. So do you think you could quiet down a for a spell? I wouldn’t ask, but I know you won’t forget to remind me again about the windows and the sheets – because you Kick. Ass. at your job. Take a little break, sister! You’ve earned it!” Everyone needs love and acknowledgement, right?
I believe a more effective relationship could be cultivated with busy, overwhelmed Crazy Angela by setting clearer boundaries with her. On one hand, I’ll be less tolerant of her bullshit, and let her know, “That’s enough.” On the other, I’ll cut her some slack and give her some love – let her know she doesn’t have to try so hard. I think this could work!
Other things to know about Crazy Angela:
- Thinks everything should happen NOW.
- Seldom shuts up about all of the things that should be happening NOW.
- Prefers to have an overwhelmingly long to-do list that includes every single thing I could, should, and want to do.
- Doesn’t understand the difference between busy and productive.
- Thinks that the thing I’m doing now is not as important as the others I have to do, no matter what “now’s” task is.
- Believes that if you’re not in a hurry, you’re not trying hard enough.
- Is a perfectionist.
- Is creative.
- Occasionally takes a powder and allows me to forget something. (Typically happens when I’m, say, right next to the UPS store, but don’t think to ship the birthday gift that’s in my car until I drive away. Crazy Angela probably thinks I’ve got it, because it’s so obvious, and then I let her down. It’s hard to say which of us is dropping the ball at times like that.)
- Is impatient af.
- Is persistent.
- Never gives up on me. (See, there are some good qualities here.)
- Is taller than me; I’m sure you guessed that one.
- Wears yesterday’s smeared eye make-up – IF we had time enough to put it on in the first place. It’s about 50/50.
- Is a night owl.
- Wishes she had her own bedroom. Just like everyone else in this house.
- Likes the color orange – it’s ALERT – best.
What about everyone else? Don’t we all have a Crazy Angela? Is she “Crazy Angela” for you, Crazy Someone Else, or another name entirely? What does your Crazy Angela look like, sound like, feel like? Is she someone you could make friends with?
NOTE: This is usually about running or some other aspect of health and fitness. Several obstacles – including Crazy Angela – have been keeping me from doing enough of that. I will address those challenges later.