This is not about hamburgers. This is not about computers. This is about snowballs.
Not the ones that fit in your hand; rather, the ones that hurl down snow packed hills in cartoons or Chevy Chase movies. Gaining speed, getting bigger and bigger without anything to stop them.
“Give him space. He’s snowballing,” is an expression in our house.
It implies that someone is losing their head. The last straw has landed and everything is in jeopardy. Simply put, it means that although one’s reaction does not quite fit the stressor that sparked it, it’s happening anyway. Watch out. We’re entering a new time zone and the language of the land is unknown. There is no way to communicate reasonably. The snowball will stop only after it has crashed.
Today, I snowballed.
Snowballs get bigger because they take on whatever they roll over. Whether they pick up appealing things like snow tipped evergreens and twinkly white lights, or less delicate things like trash cans and farm animals, they aren’t any more or less pleasant. They are cumbersome and confused and chaotic either way. Bits and pieces of the pleasant and the plain poke through the powder.
The worst part is the toll it takes on the snowball. Once, it was part of a blanketed and peaceful hillside; now it is completely separate from the whole.
The details of the day in question are not important. It was a culmination of multiple stressors across multiple days compacted with the “futurized” years ahead. It was the last straw. It made no sense, rationally, for me to react as I did. I was at the mercy of my snowballing state of mind.
Until I crashed.
My husband, Ted, came home in the middle of the day. Just to say “Hi”. Crash. As I talked at him in a foreign tongue, I could hear myself hearing myself snowball. I knew my reaction was unreasonable, over the top. At first, it was eerie, this space between what I was saying and how I was hearing it. Only afterwards did I come to know this space as me.
There is a saying that goes something like this:
“It’s OK to lose our shit. If we kept it all bottled up and never let it out, we would be full of shit. Then, when we did explode, we would get shit everywhere and nobody appreciates that.”
My wish for all snowballs is that when they crash, they land somewhere yielding. Somewhere that isn’t looking to stop them. Rather, a place that can withstand the blow with softness, gentleness, and grace.
When this snowball crashed into my husband, not only did he hear me, too, he knew it was OK not to stop me. In doing so, he allowed me to stand in my own grace even as I was falling apart.
Grace, to me, is the state we are in when we are doing nothing but being who we are and being OK with knowing this may not always be comfortable for others.
*It was my son’s brand new Mac laptop that crashed before I did. For the third time. After two trips to two different Mac stores in two different parts of the state. The resulting logistics for the third trip were my last straw.