This is a skill that I learned when I was rushed to the hospital at 32 weeks pregnant, unsure of whether or not my baby would be born prematurely, scared to death that he would be in the hospital forever and have complications. I knew that things could go from bad to worse in a matter of hours…or minutes…and I also knew that once the tears started, it was not likely that I’d get them to stop.
So here was my theory…if I freaked out right from the beginning, something really bad might happen, and I wouldn’t have any ‘freak tokens’ left. I would already be over the edge, and have nowhere to escalate to. I told myself that if I stayed calm, then I would have plenty of ‘reserve’ freaking that I could do later if necessary.
What happened is that I was calm, cool, and collected. Okay, reasonably so. I felt the Spirit with me each day, and I was able to handle things fairly well. I liked knowing that I had reserved the right to freak … later.
I tried to teach this to my nieces, CJ and Allie last summer. Having a house full of boys, the drama is somewhat limited. Not so with two tweenish girls! Everything is a big deal, and I know that for Bro and Sis, it’s bound to get worse. I was a teenage girl once. I know how it works.
One of them was upset about something, and started to stomp off and pout. I laughed and called her back, explaining the ‘save your freaks’ option of life. They thought that I was a funny, but I hope that in some way, I caught their attention.
Teens would do well to follow my advice, since everything is a tragedy. Problem is, after your parents (or friends, or boyfriends, or teachers…) have dealt with so many freaks, they lose interest. It’s like the boy who cried wolf. They no longer see your crisis as a crisis. It’s just another dramatic episode. Saving those really big freaks for a later date gives you that leverage to get their attention.
For me, it means keeping my emotions in check. I’m not bottling anything. I deal with the emotions in a much less stressful way. I force myself to think things out and decide if it’s really worth a nervous breakdown, or if I can save that for another day.
So far, no straight jacket, so I’m thinking that it must be working!