Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Incredible Hulk; What We Have In Common

I have an alter ego. Imagine a black woman who wears all black, high heeled boots, large hoop earrings, and an attitude. Did I mention she kicks ass?

She comes out when people have gone too far, pushed my buttons, messed with my peeps, or crossed my line. She has defended my husband, my children, and various friends who needed back up.

She doesn't have a name. If she did it'd be something like Shonda or Venus. Her last name would be Jones.

Here's a few examples of times when she has gotten "it" done when "it" needed to get done.

After my youngest was born and exhibited some problems with her breathing a doctor in the intensive care unit said (in the smarmiest voice imaginable) "It's not my fault your daughter has breathing issues," when I challenged the delay in test results that would cause her to stay in the hospital unnecessarily without me.

In a voice I didn't recognize I bellowed, "F*** You!" and proceeded to make a scene that resulted in the test results magically appearing within five minutes.

My alter ego showed up at a Cub Scout meeting after one of the Mothers (in a series of "reply all e-mails) trashed my husband's devoted service as a den leader because he didn't want to do things her way. Never mind she never once volunteered to take the reigns.

I showed up at the meeting unannounced and in a low and measured voice (in front of the other parents) told her in no uncertain terms to back off and quit disrespecting my husband who is a good man and did nothing wrong. She never mentioned him in an e-mail again.

In the case of my Mother; who was living in a nursing home and wouldn't even step out on to the balcony to get fresh air, I was informed that she would be required to come to her bank and vouch for the fact that I had Power of Attorney even though I had the notarized and signed papers with me. I screamed, "She f****** has dementia. She can't f****** come to the bank. I f****** need access to her account. Get the people who can make that happen, on the phone. Now!"

I had a lovely chat with the higher-ups and left with what I needed.

By the way, I don't like to swear. But "Shonda" does when she's gettin' "it" done.

Every woman needs an alter-ego who can push through the limits, get past the boundaries, kick butt and take names. Because it is in our nature as mothers and wives, sisters, daughters, and friends to nurture, be gentle and kind, it's easy not to engage the part of us that can get over, under, and through the things that stand in our way.

In particular, as a caregiver when your focus is being a soft place for your loved one to fall you can forget that "No," often means "I don't know." "You can't," often means, " I can't because I don't have the authority" and "It doesn't work that way," usually means, "We've been doing it this way forever and it hasn't occurred to us to change it."

It's never my intention to be unpleasant or difficult.

But like Dr. David Banner who would transform into the Incredible Hulk if baited, "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."

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