My family is infamous for giving humorous gifts, especially my brother. One of the gifts he gave me recently is a little black notebook for my purse, which is so thoughtful because he knows I like to have something with me at all times for note-taking. But it was the title on the cover of the notebook that made me laugh: People I’d Like to Punch in the Face.
My thoughts immediately went to how quickly I could fill a page in THAT book! And while the notebook will probably eventually be filled with helpful research notes like “visit Waffle House to research the waffle-eating scene,” the little book is a tongue-in-cheek reminder of how useful it can be to exorcise your demons on paper or in a private way before taking them to the physical or public level. For example:
I can’t count the number of angry emails I’ve written…and deleted.
And the number of times I’ve chewed out my bathroom mirror instead of making an irate phone call.
And the voodoo dolls I’ve mutilated in lieu of amassing assault charges.
Passive-aggressive? Maybe. But while I recognize that I’m a passionate person who doesn’t suffer fools, I’ve also learned that speaking my mind in the heat of the moment hasn’t always built bridges for future communication. (And there are a lot of dense people in positions of power.) So now I take a deep breath and keep my eye on the long-term prize. If I feel the need to vent, I try to do it privately: to a trusted friend, or through an exhausting run, or by killing off that person in my next book.
Because I’ve discovered that the best last word is mute success…and that’s so much sweeter than the fleeting triumph of, as my grandmother would say, “getting someone told.” I’m a big believer that a person gets back from the universe what they put into it. Vile people will eventually implode, bullies will eventually meet their match, megalomaniacs will eventually reveal themselves on a public platform (thank you, Twitter). Meanwhile, I don’t let those people rob me of precious time and energy…instead I use that spontaneous anger to fuel my own efforts to succeed.
And then I quietly record their name in my little black notebook. I mean, how foolish does a person have to be to cross an author who could someday write her own tell-all book? 🙂
Q: Have you ever confronted someone who wronged you and then regretted it (or not)?