So you may or may not know that I love nature. Love it. Trees are about my favorite thing to photograph, there isn’t a better sound in the world than ocean surf and I believe with my whole heart that wind is enchantingly magical. That being said, nature also has a way of biting you on the butt when you aren’t looking. When I was a teenager, I took a trip to Canada with my sister and some friends. All my life, up to that point, people had been telling me how absolutely gorgeous the Boundary Waters territory was–how clear, and clean and relaxing. What they didn’t tell me, was that the beauty was wholly conditional upon the weather; and our weather was the complete opposite of beautiful. The eight plus hour’s drive, (which I got nauseous on) was the only batch of clear skies we saw. From the moment parked, we were surrounded by a torrent of wicked wind, earth-quaking thunder and walls of water pouring from the sky.
If that wasn’t bad enough, our tour guide literally dropped us off on an island– the wrong island, because it was no longer safe to be out on the water. We had to pitch tents in the rain and dig our own trenches (if you know what I mean) because there weren’t even bathrooms! Let’s just say our parents didn’t raise my sister and I to that level of, “outdoorsy,” and it was rough–beyond rough, it was brutal.
After days and days of Mother Nature’s personal brand of torture, we packed up and headed home. Soaking, stressed and sore from using rocks as furniture, we were all in a foul mood to say the very least. With another seven or so hours to drive, none of us were particularly cheery, but not talking for the next half a day wasn’t exactly an option. And that’s when we invented, The Hate Game. Harsh as it sounds, that game may have just been the sanity that kept us from driving off a cliff.
Now normally, I’m a very peaceful, mellow and easy-to-please type of person, but everyone, (even us meek ones) need an emotional release from time to time. The Hate Game allowed the reprieve we needed. It started by saying random frustrations, then turned to incidents and attitudes, styles and habits. Three hours later, we were still playing. Giving one another categories: name two foods you hate, three songs, driving mistakes, phrases, movies, you name it, we hated on it. And amazingly, the dense-dark collective attitude we’d been trapped in started to dissipate. You’ll never know the release until you try.
I know maybe you aren’t hating on a bad trip to Canada, but I guarantee there have been times you’ve had a similarly bottled-up overload of aggression. Even now, years later, I’ve found myself playing the game when life gets to me. I don’t want to take out anger on anyone, so I tend to take it out on anything that’s been bothering me for years.
For example …
I hate when people cut me off just to exit the highway two seconds later. I hate when I answer the phone and the person says, “Oh, I didn’t think you’d answer, I was just going to leave a message, (What does that say about talking to me?). I hate the word, “per se” in conversation (What the heck kind of word is it anyway?). I hate the way my face splotches like a rash every time I cry. I hate wasting my money on buying something as un-gratifying as paper towel. I hate the color peach (not pretty–ever). I hate when authors make a character die in a book just because they ran out of ideas. I hate when people care more about their pets than their children. I hate people who hate people. Finally, one of my favorite unknown quotes says, “I hate it when I’m singing a song and the artist gets the words wrong.”
There, whew. You get the point and I already feel lighter. Now I know that this might seem a little silly, and not everyone has the fuel of a terrible-weather-weekend in Canada to inspire them, but I’ll bet you can think of something. I’m always game for a game! Feel free to share, and know I’m laughing too. Hope your day is filled with love, since you decided to dump the hate!