Bottling up emotions is just not my thing. Whenever I’m angry or upset, I need to find release. The sooner, the better. Otherwise, I feel like exploding, if you get what I mean.
Take this long and horrible week as an example. I’ve had to deal with demanding customers, unyielding suppliers, and, my pet peeve: people who lack common sense (which always makes me wonder why ‘common sense’ is called such, when it’s not that common really). And don’t get me started about certain staff who, after asking me to decide on something, go behind my back and convince a higher authority to make a decision that they find more favourable than mine. Plus there’s the stress of having to pick my brain on what or how to write about Cat5e patch cable (don’t ask!), not to mention the stress of having to act as drill sergeant to my kids on the week of their final exams.
Chocolates helped me get through the week relatively unscathed. But only until today. I didn’t realise how brittle my nerves have become, as it only took a silly argument over the most mundane of things to break down the last shard of my self-restraint. I was ready to explode. And I knew that I had to find a way to let off steam. Fast. But safely.
I’ve learned the hard way through the years that letting off steam safely can be achieved by simply talking to someone. But there are also times when talking just doesn’t cut it. And times when I simply don’t want to talk about it. Like today. That’s when I do something physical instead. Like weeding the tiny patch of land in front of our house which we call the ‘garden’. Or vacuuming the floor, the rugs and under the furniture. Or, like today, scrubbing the long neglected oven tray. You know, that metal tray that lies at the bottom of your oven — the one that catches all the grease and drippings and God knows what else.
As I fume inwardly and play out in my mind every possible catfight/argument/screaming in my head, I channel all my energy into the physical aspect of the task. By the time physical exhaustion sets in, I’d have run out of emotional steam as well.
So there I was today, deep in thought in my scrubbing frenzy, still dressed in the baju kebarung that I wore to a function, when MyEldest came up to me and asked if he could try it. So I gave him the spare scrubbing pad and watched him scrub, scrub, scrub faster than you can say ‘supercalifragilisticexpealidocious’. And I thought to myself, “What an excellent way for my son to get rid of his excess energy!”
After some time, RoundBoy came and asked if he could try it as well. I rinsed my scrubbing pad and gave it to him. The last thing I remember, while going up the stairs to change my clothes, was overhearing OnlyGirl asking her brothers to hurry up so that she could have a go, as well.
So there I was, physically spent from all the scrubbing, finally finding a reason to smile: my children actually found it fun to scrub a grease- and muck-encrusted oven pan! Out of their own volition!
I guess you could say all’s well with my world again.