I’m pretty certain the universe was shaking it’s hands at the sky in frustration because I just kept repeating the lesson. I hadn’t realized how quiet and sneaky my ego could be.
I was laying face up in the dark of night on a sheet of ice in the driveway, wrapped in blinding pain, screaming profanities. I was so pissed at myself. It was my first winter as a single working Mom and a solo homeowner. My ego had stopped me from asking my lovely neighbors on either side of me for help with the plowing, both had offered. Laying there on the ice luge my ego had helped me make, hating the garbage bins for sending me out into the freezing cold, the “what is wrong with me” recording started playing in my head. This time I knew, my ego was on the chopping block. Then the “please don’t let me be hurt” followed. Ego you are so fired this time. Finally the realization, difficult moments like these could be avoided if I just gave up listening to my ego. I flipped onto my belly, commando crawled to the nearest snow bank and made it to my feet. Relieved I was only bruised, stating out loud “must buy ice melt, must ask for help”. I felt a sense of pride, the message had finally clicked.
The next day after work I headed to the grocery, a busy afternoon yielded long lines at the check out. There was a young woman at the front of my line who’d run into a snag. The cashier had never processed a WIC check before.
For those of you who don’t know, WIC is an assistance program for Moms who need help buying food for their children. I know this because I was on the program till Hadley was almost two.
Watching the young women struggle reminded me of the embarrassment I felt using WIC checks. I remembered the stares and the remarks from the folks behind me in line. I hated it.
The big mouth old lady, behind the young woman and in front of me, was letting us all know how upset she was about the form of payment. She repeated several times “don’t you have another way to pay”. I could feel my blood boil. The old woman would not let up. “F off lady” sprung from my lips. “no one wants to hear your mouth” she spun around with a look of disgust. “You want the line to move faster than dig deep for some kindness and pay for the ladies groceries yourself”. Her mouth now wide open, her face bright red with rage. Her hands clinched in tiny fists.
“Did your parents raise you to be this awful?” She growled waving her tiny fists at me. There it was… there was my ego getting in the way. Of course my parents didn’t raise me to swear at folks in the grocery check out line. They did however raise me to be understanding and patient but in this case my past feelings of hurt didn’t allow me to convey my message in a productive, civil way. My ego lead me straight into shitsville. Damn it! Hadn’t I learned anything from my fall on the ice?
I acted like an ass. The night before and that day. For different reasons but both out of ego. Loading my groceries into the car, chuckling to myself about the spill I had taken on the ice. I mentally shook the hand of my ego and told it to head to the back of the line. Good bye ego! When we meet again I’ll be ready and aware.