The Cupboard Door of Gratitude

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Confession time.

I’ve been a tad wrapped up in myself lately, allowing myself to spiral into selfishness and self-pity, and I only realised today, exactly why I’ve lost myself. Perfection hunting. Yes, we’ve been down this road before, don’t you recognise that tree?

Let’s start from the beginning.

I like having matters pertaining to most things sussed and sorted, booked and planned, well in advance of their happening. Last minute stress doesn’t look great on me; if there’s a worse case scenario, I’ll find it and worry over it if I don’t have back up plans upon back up plans to ensure no unwarranted surprises. An impossible task, I know, but the better prepared I am for anything, the better I feel even if everything crumbles down the line. Don’t ask me to explain it, because I genuinely have no decent justification for my behavior here other than my being utter neurotic. Which I hate.

So, having established my love of forward planning, and having planned months in advance all required appointments pertaining to the upcoming super amazing event (it’s a ball for crying out loud), I was taken into utter panic when it was revealed the days had been mixed up somewhere along the line. The ball wasn’t taking place on the Saturday, but the Friday. Thus, everything was thrown off kilter, mostly by my very excellent skill of unwarranted melodrama. I’m lying. Melodrama is neither excellent nor a skill; it’s more an over-dramatic reaction founding in irrationality and panic… I am however, exceptionally good at it. I’d prefer to be exceptionally good at juggling or something, but, eh, life.

Anyway, not half a minute after this discovery, I’m crying. Yes, actual tears of terror and dismay because the plan has fallen through, and with only a week left, I have to organise a new plan. It took about ten seconds upon input of new data for my brain to conceive of enough possible problems for me to start crying. Then the questions all posing ‘what if’ scenarios, overloading me with consequences to situations you would be likely to encounter on a really bad Spanish soap opera, all of which had no founding. Please proceed to bang head squarely on desk over how ridiculous I am. But, I’m not finished. See, sometimes, also a problem of mine, I tend to dwell. I can’t juggle, but I can dwell on worry and panic, oh yes.

I managed to convince myself, not only that this was a terrible, terrible set back on the road to a great evening, but that the matter would be neigh on impossible to sort out. Every salon and hairdressers would be full by now. I would have to scower the internet to find anything available anywhere near the venue, which meant possible early appointments and miles of travel. There was no way to get this to a reasonable level of ease, and so I resided myself to struggle. I swear, sometimes I just need someone to thwack me every now and again.

While lost in my self-pity mire, I tripped and whacked my head on a cupboard door, and now I have a nice little cut underneath my eyebrow. Turns out, that might be the equivalent of a good thwacking. It hurt something chronic; it was that sharp, you-know-its-coming feeling, followed by the tight nerve agony that lasted for a few seconds as the bruising began. It’s not a substantial wound; it didn’t even bleed all that much, but the bump was enough to actually knock some sense into me. I was sorting out the injury in the bathroom, thinking about the blemish now squarely in the line of vision of anyone looking at me. This was another event which had happened completely outside of my control. Ah, but there’s the rub.

That, noticed I, quite suddenly, dabbing my eyebrow with a piece of toilet paper, is the real cause of my discomfort. I like being squarely in the realm of control. Having a handle on any situation is what I enjoy, because that way I’m always able to act. In my head, I guess, if I managed to stay prepared for any eventuality, I could ensure I was in control of any eventuality, and when I happened into a situation I hadn’t bargained on, I became disorientated, and disappointed in myself for not having the forethought to predict it. I kept telling myself I should have confirmed the date thereby avoiding the issue altogether.  Melodrama ensued. If I’m not in control, everything will go wrong. In this case, I wanted to be on top of everything, because I wanted everything to be perfect.

Perfect. The impossible dream. And in my case a selfish dream.

You see, during this spell of unnecessary melodrama I was comforted by the person who is the reason I’m attending the ball in the first place. Fixing up my eye, I finally remembered that. For a few weeks now I’ve been so focused on the perfect dress, the perfect hair and make-up, that I forgot what the event is ultimately about. It’s about Chris. The whole idea of the ball is to celebrate an achievement, and a difficult one at that, made by a group of dedicated individuals. I’ve seen the challenges they faced to become what they have, and let me tell you, it’s far more difficult and vital than anything I’ve had to deal with in sorting myself out to attend this thing. Somewhere along the road, I forgot two important details: the reason I’m going and the gratitude for going.

Why did I get so caught up in perfection, when really I should just be grateful to be going at all. Not only do I get to go, but on the arm of an exceptional man who has been nothing but the sweetest and kindest of souls towards me. I shouldn’t be moping and frowning that everything went a little wayward, I should be thankful that I even have the opportunity presented to make plans in the first place. Suddenly and overwhelmingly, self-pity and worry, became guilt and gratitude.

What does all the pomp and circumstance really matter, especially if it only leads to stress and self-centered vanity? I wanted to be perfect, to make Chris’ jaw drop, but that’s a selfish desire.

Breath. Let it go. I realise now, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is being there with Chris and enjoying the experience.

I managed to sort everything out surprisingly easily, further beating away the exhausting melodrama, and I have everything back into a controlled schedule, which I am remembering to be thankful for also. And from now on, we’ll just see how things go. If I should turn up in an ill-fitting dress with a beehive for hair and no make-up, it doesn’t matter all that much. My expectations do not define an enjoyable experience.

I’m immensely grateful for hitting that cupboard door, and if the little cut still shows, I’ll wear it with pride.



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