To recap from where we left off in yesterday’s post: Steve was in a pissy, withdrawn mood and Katherine wanted to do something different than she usually does — which is to get bitchy back. She thought about what she could do and who she wanted to be in this moment.
Oprah Winfrey came to mind. This thought — given the fact that Oprah seemed in many ways the opposite of who she felt to be — kind of tickled her. It leavened her mood, and put a twinkle in her eye. By trying on this new role, she felt emboldened to take action.
“Pull over,” she to Steve, in a calm, authoritative voice.
“Why?” he balked.
“Pull over.” She said again, remaining calm, the corners of her mouth slightly edging their way towards her cheekbones.
Steve pulls over, reluctantly. And then he turns to look at Katherine with a What the fuck??? expression.
“There’s no air in this car Steve. I can’t breathe. I don’t feel like suffocating all the way to my brothers . . . What do you think we should do?”
Steve squirms, but doesn’t say anything.
“I don’t know!”
Katherine wants to react explosively; but remembers Oprah. She can’t find a thing to say. More silence.
“I’m sorry,” Steve said, like he wasn’t at all.
“Oh that’s convincing. Listen, I can drive myself to my brother’s, you know. But there is no way I’m going to sit in the car for the next hour in this tension. It’s your call.”
There is a long pause. Steve weighs the options. The couch is calling him . . . but then. . . it would be cold without her around. There might be a price to pay, he would be going against his word . . . he steadies himself, looks her in the eye.
“No. I want to go with you. I’m totally being an asshole. It’s been such a stressful week. I’m sorry, babe.” This time, like he meant it.
“Anything I can do?” she asks, gently.
“No . . . Yes! You can find that app with our all our favorite podcasts and pick something to listen to on the ride.”
“Okay.” Katherine smiles to herself, retrieves her phone from her bag and breathes a sigh of relief. Crisis averted. What a shift. She had taken a risk and come out strong in her leadership. She liked her new “Oprah” side.
You can’t always choose how life is going to go, but if you pay attention to the roles that simply take over and lead you nowhere, you can begin, as Katherine modeled, to select what roles you want to play. And that enables you to steer the relationSHIP to safety in rough waters. (It can also help you steer in non-tense moments, but that’s another post).
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