>Peace Be Still: Dealing With Belligerent People 11.30.10

>Just a few minutes ago I was leaving my mother's home and as I drove out of her sub-division of her neighborhood, I turned on my signal and waited at the stop sign. I saw two cars approaching in the rain about 75 meters (or more) away. I exited and carefully maneuvered around a small pothole and as I did one of the drivers- who was obviously speeding well beyond the 35 mph limit- was immediately near the bumper of my car, swerving and honking the horn. I looked at my speedometer and after a few feet I was already going faster than the speed limit. I looked in my rear-view mirror and the driver was swerving in the lane next to me, and then veered back into my lane. Why was this other driver speeding, especially in the rain? I said aloud as though I was speaking to the driver, "why are you driving so fast?"

I quickly prayed for patience. I continued driving and kept my cool through the twists and turns of the street while this driver turned on their high beams and continued tailgating me. I was getting a little irritated but I continued driving calmly as I focused on driving and keeping a safe cushion between my car and the driver's. Eventually when I could safely pull over I decided to do so to give this irate and obviously rushed driver the space to go around me and continue on their way. But instead of going around me the driver pulled over behind me and then enraged, quickly pulled next to my car almost causing the car that followed us to crash into the driver. I looked out my window and there was another woman staring back at me yelling. I said to myself, "peace be still" and then rolled down my window. I looked at this woman as she punched her right fist into her left hand and began to yell, "I just want to know…I just want to know…." What she wanted to know was why I hadn't waited for her to zoom past me. I told her that I had ample room to enter the street, but I hadn't gauged how fast she was truly driving.

I am an excellent driver and I can accurately gauge the distance and speed of my car and others. I also have superior peripheral vision. I know that I can be a "speed demon" but I also know that in harsh weather conditions you should not push the limits of your car. In harsh weather conditions you should not risk speeding and making quick and sharp turns. I factored in the rain and that it was overcast before I entered the street. I factored in that the driver was about 75 meters away from my car, and that the car that followed them was at least one car-length behind. I factored in that this is a dangerous street and that the majority of the residents on that street have to know this fact.

What I had not gauged was that she was speeding well beyond 40 mph; not originally- but only once I entered the street and out of frustration she accelerated. What I had not factored in was that although it was raining there would be a driver willing to risk driving upwards of 15 mph over the posted 35 mph limit on a very narrow and unpredictable winding road; a location of numerous accidents. What I had not factored in was that although she saw me enter the slick street, that she would not slow down- instead she would accelerate. I had not considered that she would not even slow down for the obvious potholes in the street- regardless if I had been there. I had not considered that although the city had placed speed limit monitoring signs on the street to alert speeding drivers that they were far-exceeding the posted speed limit- that someone would ignore these signs even in a heavy rain.

I did not say all of this to her though because after I apologized I realized that she wasn't willing to accept my apology- she wanted to argue; she wanted to yell. I wanted to get home to eat my natural-cut french fries that I had just purchased from Wendy's. She wanted to continue engaging me in her inquiry and hopefully upset me. I wanted to get out of the rain and out of my four-inch heels and my suit. So I didn't fall into the trap. I didn't tell her that she was speeding and driving faster than what would be considered safe. I didn't tell her that there have been too many accidents on this narrow street and that she should know better. When she asked me why did I risk her life, I didn't respond by asking her why did she risk my life, her life, and the life of the driver that followed at a safe distance behind her. I didn't ask her why her anger almost caused the other driver to hit her car when she swerved to confront me.

I could tell that she had a bad day and that she was already angry long before she encountered me. If she had children and or a husband- she was already intent on ruining their day also when she got home. I looked at her car and saw the huge dents from prior accidents alongside and in the front of her car- and I told myself that she is an accident-magnet and probably leaves everyday expecting to get into one.

I took a slow, deep breath and looked this woman in her eyes and remained calm. I repeated a few times that I had apologized, and then I extended my apologies once more. Then I sat there and continued making eye contact as the rain trickled into my car and on my clothes. My calmness upset her even more. Frustrated that she could not get the reaction she expected from me, she tried to drive off but her car was in park. She yelled out as she rolled up her window and slammed on the gas. Her wheels spun wildly and her car slid back onto the street. I turned on my signal (as I always do when leaving from a parked position) and re-entered the street and followed behind her car amazed at how I kept my cool and did not sink to her level. She turned left onto her street and I kept driving home.

There was a time when I would have engaged in a shouting match with her, I would have out-yelled her, and made her day worse than it was. At that point we both would have had a bad day, and her family would have been miserable. This won't be her last time flipping out on someone, losing control, and having road rage. This won't be my last encounter with someone like her- but I hope that I handle the situation as well or better than I did today. We must control our emotions. We must 'check' ourselves. When faced with chaos we must say silently or aloud, "peace be still" so that we can control our sea of emotions.

Natasha L. Foreman

Copyright 2010. Natasha L. Foreman. All Rights Reserved.

>Seeking out the Eye for Temporary Relief from the Storm

>Wow this feels more like a journal entry than a blog. I wrote this entry exactly one week and two days ago today. I kept putting it off, looking at the sheet of paper I had written on…not sure. Not sure if it’s too revealing, too personal. Not sure if it will be taken out of context. Not sure if people or God will think I don’t have trust in Him. I don’t want my fear in any way to displease Him. I am not questioning or rushing you Lord. I’m just ‘feeling’. I guess all of these moments of not being sure don’t matter one way or the other. If it helps someone else then it serves its purpose. Uplifting others warms my soul and brings a smile to my face; I know this creates a domino effect…so I continue my passionate work even on days when it hurts!

When reading this post please don’t feel sorry for me. I’m not desperately waiting to ‘pounce’- let’s not forget that I walked this path, it didn’t land in my lap. Don’t attempt to rationalize or try to bring logic…just feel it…I am not a rare case. I speak because there are many others too ashamed to do it. They hide in secret; creating clever screen names on Internet support sites hoping to lean on other shoulders- sometimes never learning how to stand upright alone.This is something that has been going on for years; it is just becoming more alarming as the reality of life sets in globally. Developed nations are realizing with a sense of irony that we are actually behind (in some ways) our so-called undeveloped neighbors, and missing out on life’s sweetest pleasures.

No, I will not stop talking about it even when it no longer becomes my personal issue…because it is an issue…because it affects thousands of women and men daily…because it is not a game we can pause and come back to…because one of my purposes in life is being gambled with and I know that other women and men are experiencing this very thing. So as long as I have air in my lungs, a warmed beating heart, and a functioning mind I will speak on this. Now prepare yourself because you may have experienced this (or presently experiencing it) or you may be the other party in this conversation and simply not realize the impact of your words. Hopefully after reading this you will think before you speak and consider the shoes you’re not walking in.

Seeking out the Eye for Temporary Relief from the Storm

January 31, 2010

She means well. Never purposely intending to cause harm on any level, but earlier today something she said struck a chord; it stung painfully to my core as the reality of her words rocked my very essence. It was her apparent fear that reconfirmed my own. Her words marked my mortality, highlighted my closing window on those beloved and treasured reproductive years more and more women are seeing slip away.

Crazy thing is I can’t recall specifically what she said, it is really of no importance…it is how I felt. It’s how I internalized things until they flowed from my eyes many hours past, while sitting on a plane headed to Chicago as the passenger to my left steadily perused through a couple of bridal magazines. The slow creeping feeling of pain grew from my feet and stomach simultaneously, gradually consuming my body- placing heaviest pressure on my chest and shoulders. No where can I turn. Where do I walk, to the lavatory? I can’t stay in there long; it will only bring attention to me. So I sit here with tears occasionally streaming down my face as I glance every so often at the brightly colored images within the bridal magazines.

Two failed engagements equals two called off weddings, two engagement rings stashed away, one wedding gown hanging patiently, and a wedding binder sitting on the floor of my office. If it could it would ask, “what the heck happened?”

It’s amazing how a comment about someone’s chances at marriage, family, and feelings of completeness can grab them so tightly that it feels like all of their organs are convulsing at the same time while tied together with a jumbo rubber band. I thought school would be a distracting force. I thought church would bring me added purpose and patience for God’s will and grace. I thought an attempt to revive the career I put on the back burner to help the ego of another would bring me peace and resolve as I remained…focused. None of these things serve as a band-aid to the open wound that is causing me so much grief. None are the anti-inflammatory pill needed to simply COPE. 
I share this openly only because I know I’m not the only woman in her 30s experiencing this; matter of fact I know there are women in their 40s who feel as though they are on that last stretch of the marathon where they can have both marriage and family.
I know I’m not the only woman tired of hearing people say, “girl you better hurry and find a man” while at the same time I’m frowning at those who say “you’ve got plenty of time…there’s women getting pregnant at all ages after 35….” I understand that the latter comment especially, is not meant to pacify me and other women. I know it’s said to give hope, to restore the faith that God’s plan is the only plan. It still casts a mirror in the faces of us that put our careers first; that entered into dead relationships with men who passed time and played house as our precious time ticked away. 

If it’s merely a wait for marriage then sure you have plenty of time. If however your wait is for marriage and children, every 25 to 34 days you lose one more petal from your flower. You realize that you’re getting one day closer to being too tired to play with the kids or to take them this place or that place. Or worse you’re getting one day closer to being told, “I’m sorry you simply waited much too long…ever consider adoption?” Yes, but not as my only option.

It’s like a tornado and I’m looking for the calm within its eye just so I can cope, breathe, and cry silently with a smile on my face…just in case some storm chaser catches a glimpse.

…you are not alone.

Copyright © 2010 by Natasha L. Foreman. All rights reserved; excluding some images.

Tornado Image Source: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.freewebs.com/cropcirclelanguage/A131%2B11.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.freewebs.com/cropcirclelanguage/&usg=__sNZ06SMfOZyp0uDv4v-hSHajg6I=&h=398&w=600&sz=21&hl=en&start=7&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=f9jRy3Qd2QYCCM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&prev=/images%3Fq%3Deye%2Bof%2Bthe%2Btornado%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1

Woman with Clock Image Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_mBqv5-11iEQ/Sspjh5u0wnI/AAAAAAAAAKo/PBeT7OKjfb8/s400/refi_clock_ticking.jpg

Negative Pregnancy Test Source: http://www.electrical-res.com/EX/10-17-17/pregnancy-test-after-use-negative-single-blue-line-no-cross-indicator-on-instruction-leaflet-background-1-DHD.jpg

Image of Natasha L. Foreman Source: Natasha L. Foreman
Engagement Ring Boxes Source: Natasha L. Foreman
Wedding Binder Source: Natasha L. Foreman