I had a bad attitude yesterday.
I woke up with a headache and felt like I had cotton in my head.
So much to do and so far behind and pulled from every direction. I often find myself left with bitterness and the pungent after taste of mumblings under my breath.
While at work I bristled with each ring of the phone and stewed over the charts I needed to fill out.
I came home and prepared supper and grumbled about being tired of cooking dinner. When my daughter asked for help on her homework, I held my tongue, even though sharp thoughts raced through my head: Can’t you do it yourself? My teenager was crabby and my children began to fight. The dog started barking and dishes needed washing.
With a pounding head I slumped on the couch in defeat and flicked on the television to watch a Yard Crashers marathon.
Which reminded me that I have too many dandelions.
Dandelions that pop up every day in my yard set in a background of other cleaner, greener yards. I grew weary of seeing so many neighbors with perfectly manicured lawns and perfectly manicured homes and perfectly manicured cars.
I was beginning to hate those dandelions with their powder puff seeds that floated lightly off into the air and anchoring onto the grass, my dog, the flowers and all the while sprouting up new baby dandelions. They creep their way through the pansies and the snapdragons and give a resounding f*ck you to every feeble attempt to remove them whether it be with a garden hoe or lawn mower.
That’s when a thought sprouted up from the part of my brain that stays quiet during moments of anger like this. From the part of my brain that gently nudges me with reason when the rest of me is spinning out of control.
Maybe I need to let go of such negative thoughts, it said. I could place a rubber band around my wrist and snap it every time a dark thought danced through my mind. Or perhaps I could don a mala bracelet and swap it to the other hand every time I cursed quietly inside.
But, then I realized I didn’t want to be spiritual or optimistic. Why should I submerge myself in positivity or distract myself with beads and bands when what I really wanted to do was brood.
Despite that part of me protesting my bad attitude, I just didn’t feel like being happy. I felt like being a rebellious dandelion that popped up in unwanted spaces and manicured lawns. I felt like being that damned weed standing out in spite of all of the chemicals and garden hoes, refusing to be annihilated.
Maybe tomorrow I could let the light in again. Maybe next week I could consider mala beads and rubber bands or fantastically positive thoughts penned by Gandhi or Rumi or someone wonderful like that. But just for that moment, I chose to be a dandelion.
Because even dandelions have their place, don’t they? Among the tulips and snapdragons and pansies? Unwanted and unloved. Dandelions say f*ck you to the suburban lawn.
It takes a certain kind of graceful strength to do that.
Because sometimes we can let the bad attitude just be that—a dandelion in a green lawn. And tomorrow can be another day. Tomorrow I can be positive and happy and be a snapdragon.
That in itself is the grace of choice.
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Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo Credit: Sarah Reid/Flickr