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Scream Therapy

I love my husband. I promised him, always, that before I voiced any complaints, I would start by saying, “I love you,” slowly and meaningfully. And then (usually with a smile), “Do you think you could get the socks into the hamper instead of near it?” Or “Remember, hot water cuts grease.” And here’s one for the approaching winter season: “Didn’t the chimney guy say to keep the woodstove on “start” for only a minute or so? Leaving it on too long will break the bricks.” BTW: We need to replace all the bricks on the floor of the stove this year.

So you can see that I have a thing about how the house is kept. That’s the backstory to one particular, recent night.

I work as a community educator here at A Woman’s Place (AWP), and had a presentation to which I arrived late because I got stuck in construction traffic that crawled its way to a light. Twenty-five minutes and I was finally first at the intersection. Turn, turn, c’mon… And then the evil flashing railroad signals started blinking and the petulant gates came down in front of me. It was, of course, a freight train, with car after car after car rolling by for almost 11 minutes. (Not ten; not 12. I watched the clock.) Add that to it being a cloudy day when Penelope, my GPS, decided to take some personal time on my return trip via an alternate route I’d punched in to avoid the construction and tracks. When I finally got home, two and a half hours later, I found my husband and daughters had settled into a movie night, leaving crusty plates and sticky pots all over the dining room and kitchen, while in the background ran the soundtrack of an unidentified film and two mewling cats that hadn’t been fed.

I am acutely aware of how my body wears frustration. It starts in my jaw joints and back of neck, which, I guess, is why I often get tension headaches. Next, I bite and/or wet my lips, which is first followed by pinching my now- bitten or -wet lips between my left forefinger and thumb, and then by a deep exhale. And for the finale, I…tell people that I love them and what I want, which is probably healthy, but what I really want to do is give them, as my mother used to say, “a what-to and where-for,” a/k/a “a verbal thrashing.”

This is why I am drawn to what will happen on October 12, at 1200 hours GMT to celebrate International Moment of Frustration Scream Day. This is when everyone around the world is encouraged to go outdoors and scream for about 30 seconds. Yep, get it all out. Let it loose. Now, I have pretty good lung capacity, so I could probably do a single; however, I’m certain a stream of screams is okay too.

Here at AWP, one of the values by which we run our organization is Respect, being considerate and honoring the worth and dignity of all beings and resources. Screaming at people or even inanimate objects that frustrate you really isn’t a very peaceful way to live, nor does it show respect.

So on Saturday, here’s your chance to purge those irritations and annoyances with permission, and then go your merry way. One thing you might want to scream about is that we even need organizations like AWP, especially since October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Having said that, 1200 GMT is 8am EDT. So careful of any noise ordinances that may exist in your town. Better yet, invite your neighbors to join. This day is, after all, for everyone.

So what might you scream about next Saturday? Share your responses here.

Respect: A Woman’s Place is considerate and honors the worth
and dignity of all beings and resources.*

*excerpt from the Values Statement of A Woman’s Place

Carla Odell
Community Educator

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