Outside of my very immediate family, few people know that I can be a tad mercurial. As a good Southern girl, I can fake it with the best of them. But on any given day, I can find myself going from happy to anything in the range of disappointed to livid. Sometimes there is legitimate cause, oftentimes not. This is not the problem, however. The problem lies in my inability to get out of that funk once I'm there. I will happily blame my rearing because anyone who has married into my family will testify that us Sullivans, while overall awesome, have a tendency to be, ahem, a tad moody. We get ourselves in a tizzy and some unlucky spouse gets to deal with us. Sunday was one such day.
I had a tiny disagreement with Ross that should have ended with a hug and carrying on about our day. But lawd knows I couldn't leave it there. Ross begged me to go for a run, clear my head, and come back ready to go to Mass. But I couldn't do it. I fought it, prepared to spend the afternoon angry about something that deserved no attention. Naturally, I became more upset that I was upset in the first place. Vicious cycle, you see.
I threw off my running shoes in defiance of the thing I knew would make me feel better. I tried to figure out what was making me upset. I laid my head on my husband's chest and told him in my most pitiful voice, "I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything."
Recently I found out that unknown to me, my clinical social work license has expired and that I have to re-take a very difficult exam to renew it. Without the time to prep or any thoughts on if I would use it in these early baby-having years, getting it back isn't the best decision right now. But I realized that in some way, I was letting those letters (that I never used in practice) validate me. Losing it meant that now I am just a stay-at-home mom. And the obvious deduction is that I am insufficient, inadequate, unaccomplished. Duuuhhh.
Ross listened to me whine and then quoted one of my favorite movies.
He patiently rattled off a list of my accomplishments this year, the least of which is a happy, smart, healthy little person. He hugged me while he told me that if I couldn't see the ways in which God used me, the ways in which God helped me help others, the ways in which God, himself, is validating me, then I wasn't ever going to learn.
He wiped my self-indulgent tears and told me to go run. I took a longer route and ran off this particular bout of funk. I ran away from the insecurities de jour and found myself thankful. It still took longer than I would have liked to flip the switch back to happy Keri, but I realized that with some TLC from the husband, some perspective that one of my favorite Irishmen also needed to hear, and a good long run, I was able to take back the day.
I am certainly hopeful that the next time I find myself in that gross place, I'll remember what turned it around today.