So I know that maybe you thought the Wicked Witch died at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz. When her striped stockings rolled up under that tornado- thrown house, I was pretty convinced of the end to evil myself. Then there was the sister, whose, “I’m melting,” act at the end almost had me fooled that we were rid of the dark side all together. But I guess I never expected the twist-ending of yet another wicked witch … a lost sister, if you will in her nastiness and havoc-inducing personality. This sister might be the worst of all because not only can she be shockingly rude and narcissistic, but she does this whilst parading around as if she were as pure-of-heart as Glinda herself. “Are you sure?” you might ask, because you thought you knew this story. I’m sure alright, and I know with certainty this witch is out there–because its me.
I, the smiley-faced, “absolutely, I’ll pray for you,” do-gooder, can have a very green-masked, wart-nosed, dark-as-a-flying-monkey side to me. It doesn’t come often but when it does, whew … look out! The worst part is, I hear it, I hear me … what I say, the comments I snarl, and in those moods I wouldn’t choose to hang out with me if you paid me a thousand dollars. So why? I’d like to say I have no idea where this sass comes from–but that would be a lie.
A rushed day, a missed appointment day, a fat day, or an ugly day or any day that I need to try on something that doesn’t have multiple layers for that matter! It could start as innocently as a comment I read wrong or a look I misinterpreted, but when the repressed frustrations start piling, so does the ammunition for my wicked witch appearance.
The worst part is knowing it … knowing that I am being such a whiny, grumpy, emotional mess. I remember recently saying about grumpy people, “Actually it’s you–you’re the problem,” only sometimes, I know I am and I hate it. Usually I’m not the pessimist; I’m not even the realist! But on, “those” days, (or shall I say these days) I am worse. I am Medusa meets Malificent after hanging out with Ursula and the Evil Step-Mother personified.
When I feel this little rain-cloud personality sweeping in like an uninvited storm, I’d like to retreat … lock myself in a room somewhere and get over it until the full-moon syndrome stops me from being a monster–but life doesn’t work that way. Instead, the mommy or wife or teacher version of me has to grit my teeth and pray–hard that I don’t say something I can’t take back. But usually, regretfully, I lose my battle of will on those days, and I allow my words to turn me into the dragon I’d been trying to suppress. I snap at my kids or I take something out on my husband and then I feel even worse. Rosamund Lupton once described this feeling perfectly when she said, “I get up and pace the room, as if I can leave my guilt behind me. But it tracks me as I walk, an ugly shadow made by myself.”
I felt especially convicted of this once upon a bathroom stall. My husband had been on, yet another, business trip and I’d decided to meet a friend out for lunch. She, however, didn’t happen to have kids and I happened to have two of them who needed to take turns going to the bathroom every five minutes! On about the sixth bathroom trip (sadly not exaggerating) my daughter, three at the time looked up at me, little feet swinging on the too-tall toilet. Unhurried and unworried, as I huffed and tapped my foot, she asked, “Mama, are you happy?”
“Yes,” I spat the word, looking at her impatiently.
Levelly, she stared right at me and said, “Then be happy.”
Ouch. Like a target her impossibly-perceptive comment shot straight into my dark heart. In zero to ten I felt my negativity shift to pure shock at her admonishment. She was right, but what was worse, was she saw right through any pretenses I’d tried to veil my attitude behind. And whether it’s kids, spouses or co-workers, people are intuitive more often than we know. We’re not fooling anyone.
So what to do about it? Well …
1. If you have the option to lock yourself in a tower until you’re over it, do it!
2. If you don’t, own up to the grouch in you before you say something awful (this might not stop you, but it will at least give the affected ones a clue of where the harshness came from).
3. Pray. Nothing diffuses angst in your heart like bringing it to God and then letting it go.
Chances are you cannot change what happened to your day, and (like me) you may not even be able to change your attitude (Please say you’re like me sometimes so I don’t think I’m the only one suffering from occasional wicked-witch syndrome!). But, you can ask Heaven for some grace in the moment to help you diffuse the thunder-cloud that’s been hovering over you. And I’d say, nine times out of ten, within the day you’ll be back on the good-gal side, fighting other people’s dragons instead of your own.
Elle (occasionally known as, The Lost Wicked Witch)