Damn, I have a giant zit. I have had it for three days now and it does not appear to be getting any smaller. If it were any bigger, in fact, it could declare for secession. And I would welcome that, because it is disgusting, disfiguring and all I can see when I look in the mirror. Plus a little tender, you know? I am no teenager and I declare this zit to be “off sides”. I cannot be dealing with middle-aged neck and acne at the same time! It is causing a rip in the space/time continuum of my life and nothing will feel quite right again until it is completely gone.
HA HA HA HA, you probably think I am joking, but sadly…I am not. I can be pretty Zen and wise when my skin is clear, but WHOO! This blemish has put my spiritual evolution on the backburner, you know? So the question is, WHY IS THAT? Why do we day after day and week after week deal with crisis after crisis—illness, death, divorce, job loss, money problems, natural disasters, unnatural disasters—and we keep our feet on the ground, our eye on the ball and persevere? But a broken dish, a dropped call, a GIANT ZIT…these can derail us and send us into a tailspin. Does any of this sound familiar yet? You get through a giant presentation with flying colors, and then snap at your kid for spilling cheerios? Because stress is stress is stress and stress will OUT ITSELF, whether we like it or not. Sometimes in the form of a GIANT ZIT.
We all have coping mechanisms and crisis modes, ways in which we get through those things we absolutely, crucially have to get through…and we all have ways which we retreat, lick our wounds, duck and cover. In general, this is a GOOD thing, and part and parcel of the grand charade we call “being human”. But I recently read about a study that was done which concluded, in part, that we humans have a somewhat limited supply of what we would call “self-discipline” and that is why the containment of one addiction often leads to the blossoming of another. We are simply not hard-wired for a monkish existence. We need to get our FREAK ON, one way or another. So I say, this applies to stress as well. There is only so much we can take before something’s gotta give. In my case, it is the integrity of my pores.
So the next time you are absolutely jonesing for a piece of chocolate cake, remember the 400 things you did NOT let yourself have and the 400 ways you exercised self-discipline and realize—one piece of cake isn’t going to kill you. And next time a broken shoelace reduces you to tears, remember all the times you were strong for the people you loved when they needed you to be and go ahead, have a good cry. And the next time you have a GIANT ZIT and want to obsess over it, remember how many things—hurt feelings, broken dreams, irreparable relationships--you have had to let go over the years, and hang on. Hang on to that stupid zit for dear life. Because if we are going to manage all of the big stuff that gets thrown at us every day, we sometimes need a good old-fashioned distraction. Like a giant zit. But I highly recommend a great book or movie, if that will work instead. Less disfiguring, you know?