By Tanya Bouche, senior Business Management major at Silver Lake College
When I was younger, what seems like 100 years ago, I had a very short temper. I was frustrated by the smallest things- from how my shoes would be tied to someone teasing me about my looks or the way I talked. I started to develop what they now categorize as ADHD. People have seen my attitude as “Come on. Keep teasing me and I am gonna get you back.” Being that I was a child with wild, brunette tight little curls and a bad temper, the other kids in my small Bay View Milwaukee neighborhood (back in the late 80's and early 90's) would continuously pick on me. Since I have grown up, for the most part, I have learned to handle my temper by talking to someone, doing arts and crafts, gardening, studying, cooking or baking, and reading. I have done a lot of soul searching on my own through reading and through writing short stories. These activities help me constantly make improvements within my life.
While I read or write, I reflect on how I feel and how I can change my situations. I read The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick a while back--a book clearly written about me. I sat at my dining room table reading, still in my pajamas, with my cup of coffee on the cup warmer. I realized that I also was thinking of different ways to handle my anger issues if they were to rise again. This book, for me, was a constant page-turner because of the situations presented. Patrick goes through a very hard break up with his wife, ends up checking into a psychiatric hospital, and meets new people. While Patrick is in the hospital, he begins to exercise to better his physical appearance and to become self-disciplined. During his journey, he finds other ways of coping with his Bipolar disorder by reading, exercising, and dancing. He meets another woman, Tiffany, while getting fit and learning how to control his behavior. I can relate to how Patrick feels, because when I read I feel a lot calmer, and it helps me put my life into perspective.
What Patrick does not realize is that while he is doing this “dance thing” he is also falling in love with his dance partner, Tiffany, and falling out of love with his ex-wife, Nikki. Tiffany suggests that he could pass letters through her to give to his ex-wife Nikki, since Nikki is a friend of Tiffany’s sister. He thinks it's a good idea, because this way he is not going against the restraining order’s guidelines. What Patrick is not realizing is that Tiffany is helping him cope with the break up while feeding him with hope of reconnecting with his ex-wife. I relate to this scene when I am having a problem with things like writing papers or understanding what I read. I distract myself with something else and come back to the problem when I have had a chance to cool off.
While sitting in the back seat of his brother’s car with his broken leg propped up on the back of the front seat, Patrick comes to a conclusion. As Patrick watches Nikki, her new husband, and their two kids playing outside of his old house in the cold winter snow that has fallen in their big front yard, he realizes that he is content and ready to move on. When he sees that Nikki is smiling and having fun with her new family, he realizes that she has moved on and made a better life for herself. All he really wants is for Nikki to be happy, whether it is with or without him in her life. When he realizes that Tiffany has been the one writing the return letters he asks her to meet him on a bridge, which is in the park near his house.
In a way I can relate to this story, because I feel this is similar to the way that my husband, Jesse, and I found each other. I was reckless in my earlier years, and didn’t feel like accepting what was happening to me. Then I met Jesse. We had our fun getting to know each other, while my problems and worries were starting to fade away. Then we fell in love and found our “silver linings,” started a family, worked through my postpartum depression after giving birth for the third time, and found our way again. We are now here and happier than ever, for the most part. We still have our triggers and anger management issues, but we find ways to work through them together, like Patrick and Tiffany did.
I am not saying it is easy for anyone to find their way in today’s world. What I am trying to say is, that the answers are within our own selves and we have to find what makes us happy. In my case lately, it is waking up early, choosing a book from one of my many overflowing bookshelves, grabbing a cup of java, and wrapping myself in my red velvety blanket while sitting on my big, fluffy-pillowed couch and reading as much as I can before everyone else in the house wakes up. The advice I am offering for dealing with your frustrations is to find what makes you happy and go with it. Find a great book and read in comfort, or find a pen and paper and spill you guts. Reading might just put your situation into a different light and may even help you think of other ways to deal with certain frustrations.