How to Be Less of a Controlling Assh*le

(Speaking from experience.)

The other morning, I woke up and started getting ready: washed my face, brushed my teeth. I walked back into the bedroom to get dressed, and John was still asleep. It was 7:30 on a Monday, so I woke him up thinking surely he needed to be doing something. I proceeded to make coffee and breakfast tacos, and then shouted to John from the kitchen that I’d made breakfast. No answer. I texted him a picture of the tacos in a stance of stubborn passive-aggression. No answer. After a few minutes, I was fuming at the thought of this breakfast I had so thoughtfully thrown together getting cold. I went to the bottom of the stairs and called his name.

“John? I made breakfast!” (How sweet of me.)

I could hear in his groggy reply that he had still been asleep, but he hopped out of bed and came downstairs. We talked a little about our days ahead, and I asked what his schedule was like. His first class was at 11-something, and then he had another class that afternoon and a group meeting.

“Are you gonna workout today?” I asked. He said yeah, probably, but it would most likely be that afternoon.

My mind started crafting this story about what he’d do as soon as I left for work in a few minutes. The fictional story went that he would sit on the couch for a couple hours until his class, watching golf, drinking coffee, scrolling social media — and suddenly I was so mad at him that I could hardly look at him as I said goodbye for the day. As we parted ways, I pushily, irritatedly suggested maybe he should just get his workout out of the way this morning. And he did. As soon as he acquiesced so easily and kindly, it clicked almost instantaneously that I have a problem.

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Make Monday Less Miserable

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Don’t suck today. Don’t let today suck for you. Get up early, read these words, recite three things you’re thankful for to yourself, make a sustaining breakfast. Drink some coffee. Watch the sun rise in the winter cool sky. Realize others’ actions and words and decisions can only affect you if you choose to allow them to.

For me, it’s as simple as reading these words from my grandma’s favorite poem. I remember that there is a bigger world than my own out there, and it’s a beautiful thing that the sun rises each day and stars twinkle in the sky each night. It is a fortunate choice we have to make each day meaningful — no matter our circumstances. Happy Monday!

Why I Wake Early

“Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who made the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the

miserable and the crotchety –

best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light –

good morning, good morning, good morning.

Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.”

– Mary Oliver