Why I’m So Mad

I am a rule follower.

I wait in line.  I pay my taxes.  I return library books on time.  I don’t interrupt.

Yes, I am a rule follower, and I was raised by a rule follower to be a rule follower.  My whole life has been built around following rules.  If I follow the rules, I’m a good, obedient girl.  If I follow the rules, I won’t get in trouble (on a related note, I have always been terrified of getting in trouble–I got sent to the principal’s office once in third grade for cutting a boy’s finger with a pair of scissors.  It was all a big misunderstanding, but I still remember it to this day and how awful it felt to be unjustly accused of NOT FOLLOWING THE RULES, this specific, unspoken rule being “Do Not Cut People”).  And this is key: I will get what I think I deserve or what has been promised to me for following the rules.

I’m hope you’re following me here.

I don’t speed, I don’t enter doors labeled “EXIT,” I don’t sneak into movies, and I don’t bother people who are on vacation when I have specifically been asked not to bother people who are on vacation.

So I’ve been doing this my whole life.  And as I got into high school, the rules became about my future.  Get good grades and participate in good extracurriculars, and get into a good college.  Get good grades and participate in good extracurriculars and get a good ACT score and write a winner of an essay, and get into a great college.  Study hard in college, graduate with a superb GPA and do an unpaid internship (or several) and get a good job.

But that’s where following the rules have failed me.

So the reason I’m so mad is because I followed the rules.  I held up my end of the cosmic bargain.  I do not have even a sliver of the life I thought I would, and I feel that familiar feeling of injustice–the same one I felt waiting outside of the principal’s office in third grade.

I understand that the world doesn’t work the same as it did a generation ago.  I understand that “life isn’t fair” and doesn’t necessarily adhere to the same rules I do.  But aren’t I allowed to mourn for a future that has died as nothing more than a vision?  Aren’t I allowed to be mad, at least for a little while?


8 thoughts on “Why I’m So Mad

  1. Someone lied to you.

    Lesson #1 for my kids is “life isn’t fair”.

    There are rules and penalties for not following them, but sometimes the penalties don’t actually kick in when you’d expect them to, if at all.

    Focus on being proud of yourself, work hard, have fun, don’t keep score and be flexible. More often than not it’ll be better than being lazy, slacking off, and wondering why other people are getting stuff you want.

  2. Of course! Be angry, rage, cry. Then reexamine the rules, step outside of them and try again, for something different. This post could have been written by me, and I too am learning tomove past the anger/disappointment to ask: did I really want this in the first place? Or was it simply the next logical step in a long series of “should”s?

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Madeleine, and I’m so sorry it took me so long to moderate it! What a great question you bring up, though. I’m learning that same lesson and discovering that I probably wouldn’t have appreciated my accomplishments as much had they come without a struggle. I have to be honest, though, sometimes it would be nice to catch a break every once in a while…

      So glad to know you’re reading and identifying! It’s good to know we’re not alone…our story is a common one these days. It’s always inspiring to hear from people who have refused to let the anger and disappointment ensnare them! Keep it up!

  3. Pingback: God’s Heart for Singles, Part One: Is Single Okay? | SingleMatters

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  5. I just discovered your blog. My, oh my. I can relate to these writings on so many levels. On this one especially. I’ll continue to read…

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