Before I ever started playing music, I worked lots of odd jobs. One of those jobs was in the rental office of an apartment building. I was the assistant to the Building Superintendent.
Now, the title Building Superintendent might bring up an image of masculinity, of dark browns and greys. However, this building superintendent was named Merilee. And she was the Southernest woman I’ve ever met. I never once saw her without make-up or without her hair done, or without a fresh coat of nail polish that looked like it came directly off of a fire truck or the Barbie corvette, or without shoes that had at least three rhinestones on each of them. She would gossip about the tenants, and tell stories of her stormy marriage and about her life as the manager of this apartment complex. Often, her stories ended in her being frustrated. Only she never said “frustrated.” She always was “flusterated.” In a honey-thick southern accent, she would end the story by saying, “Ah was just so flusterated!” (She’d raise her voice up about an octave for the last syllables of the word.)
Now, I’ll admit it. I’m a grammar snob. You can’t imagine what happens in my spine when someone casually says, “supposably” or “irregardless.” I get the heebie-jeebies.
The ONLY exception to my snobbery is when the grammatical error becomes poetry. And in the South, this happens quite a bit. You can almost hear Flannery O’Connor typing along in the background. And to watch Merilee fanning her 3-inch bright red nails dry while she said, “Lord child I was just so flusterated!” always cracked me up.
Last week, I changed web servers. That means that my web pages switched locations. In the process, lots of things got wonky, lots of people couldn’t see my website, and many of my emails never found their way to people’s mailboxes, and a few emails sent to me got lost. (Thankfully though, the spam still found its way to me. Otherwise I might not have been able to find that day’s dosage of Hoodia. Then where would I be?)
As I was driving to Charlotte, NC on Friday afternoon to finish the final edits on my upcoming DVD release, I talked on the phone with Web Guy about the whole situation. He apologized profusely. (It is his server to which I am moving.) As the conversation ended he said, “Why aren’t you pissed at me? If I were you, I’d be raging.”
After we hung up, I tried on the idea of being outraged. I imagined pointing my finger up in the air and yelling, “This is an OUTRAGE!” Nothing happened. I fretted for a moment that I might be in denial. But really, I just didn’t have the energy for it.
I thought about outrage. I thought about what it requires. And as I thought about the reasons I could be in a rage, I realized that every single one of those reasons required a basic belief in lack. I could’ve imagined that I was letting my blog readers down and that they’d never return, that I was losing CD sales on my website, or that people couldn’t register for the upcoming retreat or book me for performances. The story could go on and on, but at its core is belief in lack. Not enough.
That would mean that I believed that my readers, or customers, or retreat goers are limited. That I have to fight and struggle to keep each and every one of them. That I’m not able to attract a stream of new and regular visitors to my site. That the 1500 – 2000 people who visit everyday are it. That they are a temperamental bunch who throw a fit and never return. That’s ALL! No soup for you!
A belief in lack can hook you if you let it. We’re all taught to believe in limitation and competition. And it takes discipline to remember that the opposite of lack is abundance, and the opposite of competition is creativity. Abundance and creativity are better starting points. They are inspiring. And besides, they’ll raise the level of your work, and make you a happier person.
What I decided in the end is that I was flusterated. That I had had a flusterating week. And that there was truly nothing to do but accept my flusteration and wait until the website found its way out of the matrix. In the meantime, I could get my toe-nails painted Brothel Red and tell my readers that Lord child I was so flusterated!
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