Monday, March 14, 2005

Stubbornness, My Greatest Friend and Enemy

Bullheadness, perseverance, stubbornness–whatever it’s called, it is a huge part of my life and personality. This weekend it reared its head twice.

Most notably was my silly decision to move all of my stuff by myself because it felt somehow empowering. So I didn’t take up the glut of offers to help me move and decided to do it all alone. This is a third floor to third floor move. So Sunday morning I dragged and pulled my box spring, mattress and dresser down the steps–making a huge racket. The dogs in the building were all set off and barking–tehehe. I biked the box spring/mattress over first. (From the whoops and "I love you"s that I got from men on the street there is apparently nothing hotter in the world than a girl biking with a bed on a sunny Sunday morning–did they perhaps think I was a mobile hooker service???)

Getting the mattress and box spring through the narrow fence gate was an exercise in hilarity. I had to stand them upright on the trailer and then try to pull bike and trailer through the narrow entrance without anything tipping over. Oh yeah–it was also slick with ice. I was a ball of giggles, laughing at the ridiculous scene I was creating, but being unable to stop it from continuing. Getting the mattress and box spring up the icy back steps was challenging, but I did it without too much craziness. The dresser was another story.

First while I was awkwardly loading the dresser onto the trailer, a group of three yuppies waiting on the corner, about ten feet away from me, took notice.
"Look that girl is moving by bike,"
"she looks like she’s having a hard time,"
"I’m taking pictures." Click. Click.

How fucking rude–I can hear you! I am not a TV show simply to entertain–Real life is interactive. My stubbornness made me decline most passerbys’ offers of assistance, and I would have declined theirs had they asked. However, I think it is incredibly rude to notice somebody struggling with something, comment on it, document it–but not even consider offering assistance. I always hold doors for deliverymen and offer to help people with packages if they seem to need it. Instead the yuppies just stood there staring and commenting until their ride showed up. Fucktards.

The dresser caused me a lot of grief on the way up–most of the stairs are now dented and splintered from me forcing that thing up the steps. Where the steps were too slippery to trust my footing I used my upper body more than my lower. I braced the dresser on my right shoulder, held the mirror support with my right hand lift it clear of the steps, grabbed the railing with my left hand and used that arm to winch the whole thing up another few steps. Each time I reached another landing I was out of breath, wobbly and giggling at my own irrational stubbornness. Luckily during the worst of the near "runaway dresser" incidents I still wore my bike helment, so I didn't sustain any head injuries. I wish there was a videotape made of my silliness.

The fallout today is pretty minor. My right shoulder is incredibly tender to the touch today and my right upper tricep and left bicep are trashed and weak. Plus unexpectedly, my calves and deep butt muscles are tired today. My arms, hipbone, shins, quads and especially my knees are all bruised up–my body looks like I was beaten. Weirdly my front teeth ache and my jaw muscles are sort of sore, too. My guess is that jaw-clenching and teeth gritting must have been part of my strategy to move my junk.

Why the hell am I so stupidly stubborn? Deciding to do the move myself is stubborn enough–but insisting on clumping the big stuff up the stairs without help is just ludicrous. I easily could have just left those three things into the backyard and waited for John or Gilby to help me with them–they would have been a snap with two people. Instead, being fully aware of my foolishness, I opted to do it the hard way.

The other pointless stubbornness occurred on Saturday at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade--I froze my ass off because I wouldn’t put on extra clothes while we were waiting for step-off. I was outside in freezing weather, close to the frigid lake winds for over five hours in a friggin’ skirt. I had a jacket, vest and snowpants in my bag–but for some stupid, irrational reason I wouldn’t wear them. My mood was dark and I was already highly irritable, and by letting myself freeze I descended even further into crankiness. Probably one level lower and I would have sunk to my "not fit to be around other human beings" point and would have needed to leave out of respect for other people. Thankfully, my friend Ethan helped handle difficult people and helped cheer me up and let me vent. Still, I ended up shirking a lot of my job responsibilities because of my foul mood–which was worsened by my foolish, prideful stubbornness.

What is even more crazy is that I have spent the last few years diligently working to control my stubbornness–and have actually done a fantastic job. This is my stubborn natured tamed, sedated and on its best behavior–what would it look like if I let it off of its tight leash? The manifestations of bullheadness that I acknowledged and worked to control in the past were those that effected other people and allowed me to hold grudges. Now I am much more forgiving and understanding of other people than I used to be. I guess I need to try to learn how to be forgiving and mellow towards myself instead of letting the intersection of pride and stubbornness be a dangerous place in my life.

At the same time, my stubbornness has often been my only companion through tough times. Like the Footprints story, my stubbornness always walks with me and sometimes carries me through life when otherwise I would have quit. I need to find a way to harness this great power, without letting it chart my path, and let my reason and common sense do the navigating and steering.

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