Small, aggravating, annoyances have been plaguing me all week.
Despite layering my skin with SPF 45, I developed a horrendous sunburn that ached to the touch and eventually bubbled and peeled, necessitating long sleeves and constant attention.
A blister appeared at the back of my foot, constantly rubbing up against my shoe, and making every step painful.
Even the weather conspired against me, dripping water all over my plans with a wonderful friend visiting from out of town.
Scheduling conflicts, miscommunications, interrupted sleeping – tiny thorns, biting into my patience and frustrating my days.
And yet, looking back on the week, I feel strangely proud.
Some of the pride makes sense. While a sunburn often indicates a lack of preparation, and I certainly was unimpressed with its emergence, it marked a bit of a milestone for me.
I used to love the sun. I would rush outside, trailing binders of music and homework in my wake the minute it peeked out of the clouds, and I would sit, enjoying its beams for hours. But for the past several years the sun had become my enemy, too hot and too bright, making my skin crawl, my head ache, and my eyes burn.
This sunburn was a mark that I had managed to stay out in the sun long enough for it to effect me. And I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the warmth, from beneath the shade of my broad rimmed hat. I relished the light, dancing on the water in front of me. I had a lovely summer’s day, and my sunburn was a souvenir.
The blister too, was a source of explicable pride. I created the blister after I missed the bus to visit a friend. I was far too excited to see this particular person to wait for the next bus, so I decided to start walking. I ended up walking almost 4 kilometres, regrettably in inappropriate shoes, thereby creating the blister.
But I was able to walk that far. Missing the bus was frustrating, but it did not destroy my day. Because I had the ability to walk. And I did. With a blister to prove it.
I can understand why I feel a hint of pride at those particular annoyances. After all, they are results of things that I have accomplished, the sunburn and blister were created by my efforts – efforts that I am only newly capable of performing.
But the rest of my frustrations this week were completely out of my control. They sprung up, deterring my plans. The weather, 6:30 AM construction, difficulties scheduling – my activities played no part in creating these monsters. It makes no sense for me to feel pride when I think of them.
But maybe it’s not the annoyance itself that is spurring my pride. I felt upset as each arrived, and it is only in looking back that I feel a surge of positive emotion.
The events themselves were frustrating. They ruined my plans. But I was able to handle them. I was able to be flexible enough to adjust to the roadblocks.
And more than that, it all felt so normal. I must say it was a little exciting. The things that held me back from my plans were so incredibly mundane. Such everyday annoyances. Part of life.
I had to adjust my plans because of the weather. It was not because I had a flare. And the reason I was tired was that I had been woken up by early morning construction. Nothing complicated, nothing scary.
Sometimes, it’s kind of nice to be thwarted by normalcy.