Whew!! Okay...it took a few days, but my anger's abated. That breathing really helps, though I think I blacked out a little! I probably let myself get more annoyed at a situation that didn't deserve it, and gave it too much of my energy. Sometimes in the face of frustration it's easy to give your energy away, and by the time your frustration passes you may find yourself pretty tired!
So let me explain this particular situation to you. I mentioned the pool in my last posting...I have been going to the local YMCA twice a week for about two years now, where my physical therapists hold pool therapy classes. I work out in the water with Styrofoam buoys, doing leg and arm exercises. When I started in pool therapy I couldn't do much more than hold onto the side of the pool and walk back and forth through the water. I sat down and took breaks often, and when the rest of the class went to the deep end to continue their workout I stayed by myself in the shallow water, walking laps back and forth along the wall. These days I am much improved! I graduated to the largest sized buoys (the bigger they are, the more resistance as you push them through the water,) and I join my class in the deep end every time. The pool has increased my balance, strengthened my muscles and given me more endurance. I wouldn't trade my time there for anything in the world!
Then why did I get frustrated? Well, it had nothing to do with the class...or the exercises...or the PT...or that I need a new bathing suit. It was a simple matter of respect--and common sense. And looking past your own little universe to notice that there are OTHER PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!! (Oh...I'm getting frustrated again...HEE...HOO...HEE...HOO...HEE...HOO!!!) Ahh...that's better! Now, if you've been reading my blog from the beginning, you probably have put two and two together and realize that I don't wear my braces IN the water. And even though I'm like Flash Gordon's slightly slower cousin when I'm in the pool, once I reach the pool stairs reality sets in...and gravity hits. I know this may not be obvious to perfect strangers, so when I was attempting to leave the pool at the end of class and there was a teenage boy standing on the stairs, I politely said "Excuse me...I need to hold the railing." He looked down at me like I was a dead bug floating on the water, and instead of stepping out of the way, he moved his Bermuda-short clad butt an INCH to the left. Okay...maybe that wasn't enough information. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, and provided him with a little more..."PLEASE excuse me...I'm disabled, and need to hold the railing." The look I got this time told me I'd been demoted to the slime that floats UNDER the dead bug, as he scooted his butt over another tiny, little inch. Now, I'm a pretty small person. I'm thin, and short...and really not much of a threat. Or at least not at first glance!
I'd like to think I am able to handle every frustration that comes my way with dignity, and grace. Remember that inner grace I mentioned in my first post that I usually have a lot of? Well, in a perfect world I would have sat this boy down and had a nice long talk with him, presenting my case while providing him with the tools he needed...so he could grow into a respectful young man who advocates for disabled rights everywhere. What actually happened was a lot less graceful...Flash Gordon's slightly slower cousin was replaced with The Hulk, as I glared up at his smug expression and bellowed "MOVE, YA LITTLE SNOT!!!!!!" Not so graceful, but quite effective! The smug expression disappeared as the snot slunk out of the way, I held the railing and safely climbed out of the pool, and the rest is history. And what have I learned from this experience? Well, I have learned that a little respect goes a long way. That lifting your head up and out of the fog you surround yourself with, to see who and what lies beyond, is always a good thing. That there may be someone right in front of you who needs your help...and this person may just be the one to offer you a hand down the road when you need it most. And I learned that I may not always have as much inner grace as I should, and when I am lacking I should be short, sweet and to the point. And when all else fails, YELL.
So after you read this post, and you go about your day, take a few minutes and look around you. Do whatever it takes...stop texting for five minutes, so you can look at the person in front of you and offer them a smile. Instead of tailgating the car up ahead, relax a little and let someone merge into traffic. If you're walking behind someone slower than you while entering a store, don't run around them because you're in a hurry...be patient. Maybe hold the door for them instead! And if you are leaning on a pool railing and someone else needs to use it, no dirty looks are necessary...just hike up your Bermudas, put a smile on your face, and politely move out of the way. Your kindness will be much appreciated!