How To Storm Out Of A Room

I’m not a stormer outer.

During conflict, I’m more likely to stay until every last crackling ember is cooled and all the tension is smoothed over like a worn penny.  I plant my feet, roll my eyes, and hold my ground like a martyr or a brick shit house.

But I guess there’s a first for everything.

I was ten minutes late, which means I had 80 minutes of group therapy left. I went in tense and coiled like a snake who’d just heard heavy footfall from her favorite hiding place.  My seven other group members were already seated (minus one who never comes on Fridays), deep in a conversation about Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress.

Whew! The conversation is light and fluffy. Let’s keep this up for 79 more minutes, I thought as I took my seat and mustered a weak smile at the Good Doctor who ministers to all of us.

I’ve sat with most of these people since January 17, 2005, so we all know each other very well.  That is, we know where the sore spots are, the hidden grudges, regrets and griefs that have been exposed over time.  We know where the buttons are, and on occasion, we push them.

Through the years, I have watched group members reach their boiling points– they’ve seethed and screamed “enough is enough!” while grabbing their jackets and the paper bags with their leftovers from lunch.  I’ve always thought it looked so satisfying to slam the door on all of us, leaving behind our prying questions, our inappropriate jokes and our rough hands that beg to work over someone else’s problem, regardless of how resistant he or she might be.  As a group, we can be a huge pain in the ass.

But, like I said, it’s not my style to storm out early.

Until Friday.

They were getting on my already-frayed nerves. It had been a long, roller-coastery week– UP I climbed when the venerable Huffington Post ran one of my pieces, and DOWN I crashed when I read some of the comments that seemed to criticize my parenting.  Then, that morning I fell farther down as my favorite jeans felt tight.  You really don’t want to fuck with me on the mornings that my jeans feel right.  Trust me. 

Then, it happened.  Someone said something that I didn’t like.  In therapy-speak, I was “triggered,” and suddenly, the subversive thought popped into my head: Just leave.

Since I’m a stayer, I didn’t listen.  But, the persistent voice got louder: JUST LEAVE.

Next thing I knew I was all action: I snatched my coat and backpack from behind my chair and my cell phone from the window sill.  A quiet euphoria filled my lungs. I decided against slamming the door– this was my first storm out so I didn’t want to be too dramatic.

I got to the elevator and realized how mad I was at all of them and the Stupid Doctor.  I hated them for asking the wrong questions, focusing on the wrong part of my story, and for being up in my business.  I let the tears of frustration out as I rode the elevator alone.

By the time I got to the street, I was really bawling, and I didn’t really care. It felt awesome to storm out. I wouldn’t have to see any of those mother f*ckers people for a few days.  Go me!

My phone was buzzing in my hand, and I saw a text pop up on my screen: You left your wallet up here. Do you want to come get it?

Um, the whole point of a bright yellow wallet is to be able to spot in when fleeing.

Um, the whole point of a bright yellow wallet is to be able to spot it when fleeing.

Oh, for the love of Freud’s pecker, I forgot my fucking wallet the one time I decide to stomp out of group.

Now I had to face all of them. How could I possibly hide my bitter tears from them? I was supposed to be strong and valiant– not weakly crying in front of the Disney store, tucking my tail so I could go get my wallet.

I’ll spare you the details of my humiliating return. Think prodigal daughter meets Girl, Interrupted.

With a few days distance, I am now poised to give you some advice: If you are going to storm out, be sure you grab all your shit.  If you have to choose between your hat and your wallet, leave the damn hat, because you’re going to need the train ticket that’s in your wallet to get home.


93 thoughts on “How To Storm Out Of A Room

  1. “Freud’s pecker” got me too! Oh to be a fly on the wall when you returned. Me thinks your wallet was an attachment metaphor but I’d have to think too hard right now to articulate it. That Disney Store sure gets a lot of action! We’ll get the store’s video footage one day and have a party! Great story! xoxo

    • Fucking disney store. It’s so hard to cry when “It’s A Small World” is blaring. Actually, come to think of it, that made me cry harder. Don’t think there weren’t a million jokes about my Freudian slip of leaving my wallet so I could return and feel the love. UGH.

  2. Hey, love. I’ve been a little radio silent lately, but I still gobble up your posts every day, every last crumb. So of course I had to head over to the Huff to read all of the comments to your parenting article. Dude. I wanted to jump fist-first through my computer at some of those rude nay-sayers, and I’m a pacifist. You know what? People can think whatever they want about our parenting styles (I’m sure those rude commenters have cats, not kids) but I’ll bet you a Kate Spade replacement wallet that Sadie will have a MUCH better memory of this event when she’s an adult because of the way you handled it. It may not have looked like a big deal to some Judgy McJudgersons out there, but it was a big deal to Sadie and kudos to you, mama, for honoring that. xoxo

  3. First of all, I was astounded by some of those comments on Huffington Post. I feel sorry for all those A-holes and I pray that none of them are parents. I tried to post a supportive comment several times but the damn online form thing kept timing out.

    Now, about your storming out. I loved this post. And how fitting on your “first time” that you’d leave your wallet. God can be funny like that sometimes. As usual, your writing never disappoints.

  4. As I was reading, I was totally picturing you as Nicki Minaj, storming out of American Idol! I was getting a little misty-eyed to think that you’ve blossomed into a beautiful diva and then my hopes were crashed by a bright yellow wallet. On the upside, I think Nicki Minaj has one just like it.

    Seriously, I don’t know how you do the group therapy thing. I don’t think I could deal.

  5. love freud’s peckers and love, you don’t want to mess with me when my jeans are tight. love that you had that inner voice moment and sprang into action. also love, just for the sake for the story, that you forgot you wallet. so funny, so sad, so entertaining, so good.
    glad you’re feeling better. i think you’re doing so great – new job!! excellent writing! all around positive perspective!! love the wallet.. is it banana yellow or warm yellow sun?

  6. I just love you! You’re the best! So many great lines and the wallet twist? Sorry to say, because I know that had to suck, but hilarious. I immediately thought of that scene from Ferris Buehler when his sister tells the principal he dropped his wallet in the kitchen. hahaha Congrats on HuffPo! Eff those nasty commenters. And eff the Disney Store!

  7. Oh, Christie. I knew where this story was going before it got there. Because my life happens the same way.

    For the love of Freud’s pecker…

    Also, I’m sorry the inevitable comments criticizing your parenting came up. I hate it when people miss the point.

  8. I am a stormer-outer. I am a shut down, lip tightened, face contorted, stary-eyed stormer outer. And I’ve been forced to return because I am a horrible first gather your shit upper.

  9. I was hoping someone was going to bring it to you, but such is life sometimes. Ugh, and someone needs to invent super spray or something that immediately removes any evidence of crying. It is so cruel that when we finally let loose we have to look like that for two hours!

  10. How did you come up with “Freud’s pecker”? I’m a stayer too so I’m happy for the advice. I might have slammed the door though in excitement or frustration. Do it next time after gathering yourself. Then report back here. Seriously though. Sorry for the suck wad week! New start!

  11. Christie, first, those damn Huffington Post commenters. I love some of them and I hate some of them. Actually, I hate myself for letting some of those comments get to me on my posts. Mostly, those comments are just projections of their own insecurities. I don’t know why I am telling you this, you already know it and I have used “therapy speak”, sorry.
    Second, I loved this post and your descriptions. I was in group therapy for a while with five emotionally wrecked men and there were many times I wanted to storm out just to get away from the negativity, well, really I just wanted to slap some of them a couple of times and yell “Get over it!”

    • Thank you. And you’re right– I felt mostly ashamed of how bad some of the comments made me feel. I shouldn’t let them take me down! But I did. It’s worth it but wow. Intense.

      And I love hearing other people’s group therapy stories. It’s such a miraculous circus in there. I often want to slap!

  12. Oh yeah… that is totally something I’d do. I once ran from my French class because my phone was ringing quite loudly, lost inside my Mary Poppins bag (read as: bottomless and containing multitudes). My hips hit every desk on the way out, and I ran into the door jamb. I can’t be discrete and leave. No.
    So, not really the same thing, but good on you for seizing the opportunity to cash in and storm out of group therapy!

  13. First, let me say that this is totally what would happen to me. Or I would have slammed the door and broken it (not that this has ever really happened to me. Honest). As always, you tell a great story.

  14. This story cracked me up. It feels like a scene in a Woody Allen movie. And as for the Huff Post crazies…I suppose that’s the downside to getting a national article. After one of my posts ran on Mamapedia, I almost slit my wrists from all the hateful comments. Haters gonna hate, so pay them no mind. Have I said that before? OK, how about keep on keepin’ on? I am full of cliches for dealing with disappointment 🙂

      • First of all. Love the yellow wallet and i want one. Freuds pecker is mint. Nothing better. For the Huff naysayers, I am sorry that they didn’t get you as a parent so they wouldn’t be such dicksicles ( Colorado lingo designed by me). I honor your rage and tears. I hope that I get a chance to storm out of somewhere. Like the dressing room at GAP.

  15. This is exactly the kind of embarrassing crap that always happens to me. Oh well. There’s no shame in crying though, it’s therapy, everyone should expect real emotion.

  16. Three things:

    1. “For the Love of Freud’s Pecker” is our new band name.
    2. I’m more of a passive aggressive walker-outer, but you just inspired me to try something new.
    3. So glad to hear you ride the train. . . I’m a big fan of public transportation.

    Great post!


  17. Oh, I loved this post! I’m a big storm-offer… usually for others’ safety, so I don’t go into complete meltdown mode & take off a few heads.
    But I tell ya, the texter should’ve told you to wait by the elevator- they’d toss the wallet in, hit the button, and let you retrieve it with dignity & walk-out intact.
    Because everybody deserves a good storm off, occasionally!

  18. Yes! Sage advice: when storming off preserve presence of mind long enough to gather all one’s belongings. This was hilarious and touching. And, for the record, your HuffPo piece was great.

  19. I’m a stayer myself. Never have been one for much drama. I think your post shows why. I’d probably trip on my way out the door or have my fly down or something. It’s safer for me to stay.

  20. Oh my goodness, this sounds like something that would happen to me. I’m not much of a stormer-outer either, unless I’m pregnant. And then LOOK OUT. lol Congrats on the publication!

  21. Never ever ever ever ever ever read the comments on major media sources. Never. Ever. People are both insane and looking for a fight. Never.

    I’m a big stormer-outer. And I would have replied to the text “keep it; I’d rather never see it again than look at any of you mutherf*ckers today!” But I have anger and drama issues. And haven’t unwrapped a wallet in front of my kids before, so…

  22. Yeah, I’m a stormer outer. I don’t know if you read my post where I went all Real Housewives on my husband’s step-mother; that was a pretty dramatic exit. I’ve been meaning to go read your Huffington piece, but before having read any comments I’ll say most comment threads on larger sites are just trolls. They really are. Erica M tweeted an interesting article about handling trolls, and one of the things that struck me was how normal people stop commenting once the trolls take over, because no reasonable person wants to enter a flame war.

    My parenting choices aren’t popular. I’m a Zoloft-taking mother who had scheduled c-sections and stopped breastfeeding at 4 months old, and is going back to work full-time when baby is 6 months old. There’s one organic apple in our fridge and everything else is “regular” processed food, and the house is a mess. I can see people putting their noses in the air all over the blogosphere.

    My kids are happy, healthy and loved and I’m positive of that: I can see it in their eyes. I just don’t care what anyone else thinks of our choices…but being a stormer outer, I also wouldn’t stay around to listen to their criticisms. I’d stop reading the comments if they’re upsetting (yes, I know how hard that is). I know from reading your blog that you’re a great mama! Don’t let haters bring you down.

    • I adore you and (1) yay Zoloft and (2) yay for happy kids with bright eyes. Nothing else matters, really. Nothing. Trolls….what a perfect word. It wasn’t that hostile and I could imagine much worse, but here, on my little bloggy blog there is so much love and humor and warmth, I simply wasn’t prepared. Now, I got me some armor and extra ice cream if it ever happens again.

  23. By the way, I added this comment to your Huffington piece (I think it’s in moderation) and I meant every word. Your piece was beautiful.

    As women, so much of our conditioning is to say “yes” even when it is emotionally or physically harmful. Unprotected sex at 16, anyone? There is nothing to be proud of in forcing a THREE year old to perform through terror. What kind of message does that send her? That her feelings are irrelevant and that the adults that she should be able to trust care nothing for her sense of safety and security in the world.

    Keep in mind the age of the child. Being firm with a 10 year old who is trying to back out of a piano recital is likely warranted, because that child can understand a discussion about courage, honouring commitments, and learning to overcome obstacles and work through fear. A 3 year old is another story.

    Great job, mama! I would have done exactly the same thing.

    • Thank you! It helps to hear, even though I wish I was strong enough not to need to hear it. And by “recital” it was a kindergarten room where the chairs were pushed to the side and the kids were “raising the roof” to a boom box. Sadie felt terrified when all the parents walked in, especially the dads. She never sees large groups of strangers in school and they were so close to her….it was terrifying. How could I possibly not honor that?

      Still, I sound defensive. Oy. It’s a process, to quote that wounded soul Lance Armstrong. (by wounded soul, I mean d-bag).

  24. Classic Outlaw Mama! You have a gift for coining new words and phrases (still love “harderful”). I’m sure “for the love of Freud’s pecker” is going viral at this moment, at least among the yeah write crowd.

  25. Pingback: If You Have To Break A Door To Write A Novel Is That OK? | Outlaw Mama

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