I locked myself out of the house yesterday. It was late in the day, I’d gone out to water the plants and normally I check the handle lock on the door before I leave because sometimes it locks (on its own? Maybe when I last unlocked the door, I inadvertently lock it?) and I panic. But yesterday was different.

Normally when something like this happens, I get a big shot of adrenaline and then I start blaming myself. Eventually I talk myself out of it, I realize it’s not a big deal, but the self-loathing lingers for a bit. I am still a little tender about the time I bought 3 pounds of salmon for a dinner party and then left the fish in a shopping bag, on the floor, in the kitchen, overnight. Is that the stupidest thing I’ve ever done? Probably not, but boy oh boy does my brain enjoy reminding me of the moment when I realized the fish I was getting ready to prepare was in a rotting pile in a bag on the floor. I burst into tears and ran out of the room. It stuck with me is what I’m saying.

So there I am, sitting on the porch and it was a lovely day, so I decided to get up and get a book I’d just bought and as I went to turn the handle, it didn’t budge. Hmm. How inconvenient, I thought. Maybe there’s something in the garage I can use to pick the lock. We used to have a spare key hidden, but after someone swiped our drill and our electric hedge trimmer I decided it was not a great idea to have a key to our house lying around. Which is pretty irrational because if someone wants to break into our house, it’s not going to be a real challenge, but I figured why give would be burglars the easy way out? I often laugh at the thought of burglars in our house being disappointed in the lack of valuable jewelry and our 10 year old+ electronics. I’m sure they’d find something to fence, but they’d probably never figure which Pez dispenser in my husband’s vast collection is actually the super valuable one.

Despite having access to a garage full of tools, we didn’t have the one thing I needed: a paper clip or a bobby pin. I tried a few things, there was a wire bound book in the recycling bin and I straightened a bit of wire but it was too flimsy even after I hammered it a bit in an effort to work harden it. After about 20 minutes of searching for a tool that didn’t exist, I sent Derek a text message on the off chance he’d be willing to leave work early to rescue me. It took him a while to respond, and by the time he got home it was 6:30p and I was still remarkably calm.

Writing about it now, it seems like a pretty dumb thing to be proud of, but I really am. Before I quit my job to do this *waves hands* thing that I am trying to do, I was angry all the time. About things that didn’t deserve that level of passion. When I left I promised myself I would work on being more calm, more at peace with failure and risk taking, and in general, gentler with myself. It hasn’t always worked out and a lot of times I wind up crying at my desk because I’ve either written something which revealed a thought I didn’t know existed or because I can’t think of anything to write and all the words are stupid. But yesterday I experienced an incredibly minor and easily remedied setback and instead of bursting into self-loathing flames I shrugged and just relaxed. It may not be everything, but it sure is something.

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