Chasing Inspiration

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Of Mice and Migraines

I'm not sure what triggered it, but I was down for the count Tuesday with a migraine. I can't take medication to help assuage the pain and suffering that comes on with a migraine. All I can do is lay still in a room devoid of stimuli and pray for the pain the stop. Fortunately, I don't get these very often.

As I was coming out of my migraine hell I was suddenly grateful for the pain. yes, this sounds really masochistic, but the pain in my head and the inability to do anything, anything at all, reminded me how blessed I am to be a relatively healthy human being. It also reminded my how thankful I am that I work somewhere that won't fire me for a periodic unplanned absence. And that I have the sick/vacation time to cover such incidents without financial implications. I have a quiet dog that will sleep through the day when he senses I'm in pain. I have a husband who encourages me to take care of myself.

I didn't feel so grateful while under the influence of the knife digging it's way through my eye or the searing pain that occurred whenever I moved my head. It was after the experience that I was able to look back and be thankful.

This got me thinking a little about failure and gratitude and how some of the most impactful lessons I've learned have been spawned from failure. How I wouldn't be the person I am today without those experiences. I would rather not have to go through the pain to find the gift, but I have a feeling that's part of the human experience. So after I'm through the pain of failure, I can be thankful. Not for the pain, that's crazy talk. No, thankful for the gift I found on the other side.

Which brings me to the mice. No, they don't really have anything to do with my migraines but they did offer me another opportunity to find a gift in a shitty situation. We had mice in our house years ago and would not have been aware of their presence if one of them hadn't decided to nest in my make-up bag. I'm not the most fashionable of women and I rarely wear make-up on a daily basis. One this morning, I had decided some of my feminine armor was imperative and I opened the drawer in the vanity only to find my make-up brushes had been desecrated and my make-up was now the foundation for some rodent's defecation. Disgusting did not cover it.

We cleaned out the drawer, set traps and Mountain Man searched the foundation for cracks or holes to plug. We eradicated the mutant rodent threat within the week, but that didn't fix the fact that on a day I felt I had needed it most, my urban camouflage had been gunned down by the enemy.

It took me a couple of weeks to figure out the gift in the situation. It wasn't the trip to MAC for the first time in my life to get big girl cosmetics. It wasn't the fact Mountain Man figured out how to keep malevolent mutant rodents from entering our house ever again. It was how I handled myself in the situation I thought I had needed my cosmetic armor for in the first place.

Without going into detail, I had a meeting with a woman who always looked chic and pulled together where I always felt dumpy. I was going to at least try to play to her level in an attempt to even out the field, but the mutant mice thwarted my plans. I was an emotional mess as I anticipated this meeting, angry at the mice, angry at the timing, angry, anxious, frustrated in general that it had to all coalesce on this one day where I desperately wanted everything to go right.

The meeting was about to start when I decided it wasn't worth it. If I couldn't persuade this woman that my ideas to more efficiently organize the volunteer program were brilliant, then she was just to narrow minded to see good ideas that weren't dressed up in designer clothing , expensive make-up and perfect hair. I pulled on my big girl panties and walked into that meeting with my charts and outlines and presentation. And she took one look at me with my pasty face, Target dress, and sneered. I pushed through, knowing I was right and I had a good idea and attempted to persuade her with reason.

My documentation was fantastic and when she stopped looking at me and looked at the numbers, she started to listen. Sure, she offered me the same snide comments about my appearance as she usually did, but she actually took me seriously and allowed me to implement some of my ideas.

Those mice, they started off the perfect storm that led to my realization that good ideas should, and can stand on their own. Would I want to live through the emotional roller coaster again? Hell, no! But what I learned after that experience has been invaluable to me.

Gratitude is easy when you're grateful for things that bring you joy or feed your passion. Gratitude amid the shit storms that occur in life is so much more difficult but is often even more powerful.


  1. So funny I read in my morning scripture the words, "and be thankful" and was thinking how I needed to refocus my thoughts towards my blessings in my work experience and then here I come to read this post you recommended and the same message. Do you think God is trying to tell me something? Thank you so much for your encouraging words yesterday and in this blog post. I am definately grateful for you.

  2. N, I really appreciated this post! Good ideas should and can stand on their own - no matter what the offering owner looks like! Amen! Amen!