The Really Bad Day

It wasn’t pretty. Not at all.
In fact, it was just plain ugly.

What was ugly, you ask?
Tuesday was ugly.

Call it a bad day. A meltdown day. A day when nothing seemed to go right.
Or as one of my storybook heroes, Alexander, referred to it, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” *

The sad thing is, I’m not even sure what was wrong.
It just seemed like everything was. (Cue “Poor Me” music here.)
Nothing was wrong but everything was wrong.
Nothing was right. I wasn’t right. The world wasn’t right.

Good grief! Have mercy! And Ooftah!

Everything that I encountered on Tuesday was a trigger … a trigger that frustrated me, or annoyed me, or ticked me off. (Imagine my voice saying, “ticked me off” very forcefully and sharply. It’s a sign that this girl is sinking fast!)
Computer glitches. (Well, right there, my head wants to explode.)
Mistakes I made. Not enough sleep. A to-do list that was too long. A body that was exhausted.
You’ve been there, right?

Eventually … it just had to stop.

Now, I’m not someone who gets excited about doing intense inward contemplation and introspection about what’s going on inside me when I’m having a really bad day. My standard operating procedure is to take some deep breaths, plow through the work, and then just collapse later that night.

But this time? This time felt different. I wanted – needed – to not just stuff the day. I wanted to put it behind me.

So, here’s what I did.

I made three lists (sharing a few of my personal notes here too):

  • This is what I’m feeling (my feelings are temporary)
    •  … tired because I haven’t slept enough
    • … overwhelmed because I’m trying to do too much today
    • … unfocused because I’ve got so much on my mind
  • This is what I have (good things in my life that a bad day can’t eliminate)
    •  … a place to live
    •  … friends who will jump in to help if I simply ask
    • … books to read
  • This is who I am (reality instead of feelings)
    •  … I’m smart, skilled, and competent
    •  … I’m loved, forgiven, and a priceless masterpiece
    • … I’m a girl who is simply having a bad day

Friend, the lists worked. I know, I was surprised too!
Once I got my feelings and truths sorted out and down on paper, I felt my shoulders relax. It was easier to breathe. The triggers calmed down.

We all have those days.
If it’s your turn … please remember that you are not alone.

Perhaps you’d like to try making your own lists. Just dump it all out on paper and choose to embrace the truths.

You don’t have to fix everything today. Just focus on making it a better day.
Your “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” can change, you know.
Really. It can.
Make the lists.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

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