Turning Frustration into Change
“Hey Jules, how are you?”
My Aunt Sandee’s familiar voice drifted through my ear as I paced the driveway.
“I’m pretty good. What’s up?”
“Well, I was calling to invite you to our Hanukkah party. I’m hosting it this year,” she proclaimed.
“Great. The whole family is going to be there, right?” This was more of a statement than a question, because the entire family is always there.
“Well… that’s why I’m calling you. Your dad and stepmom aren’t going to be there. We scheduled the party for the day before Hanukkah actually starts so Uncle Robbie and the kids can make it, and your dad and Rollie are refusing to go.”
I groaned inwardly. My stepmom is known for being difficult when it comes to her religious beliefs, and has extended this approach to my dad. My culturally Jewish family has never concentrated too much on religion, and a Hanukkah party is a Hanukkah party; just another excuse for us to spend time together.
My stepmother and I have always clashed on just about everything. We both have strong beliefs and stubborn routines. And that is why I believe in frustration.
When my stepfamily moved in about four years ago, I was constantly frustrated. Everything I did was criticized and nothing I said was taken seriously. I would often vent to my friends about the situation and they would sympathize with me, but in the end no one understood what I was going through except me. And that’s because it was hard to figure out; I was in a continuous stage of frustration.
When I look back at the hardheaded middle schooler I was, I have realized that this frustration has truly changed me for the better. It is now easy for me to accept different practices and cultures, with a little patience. Making compromises has become second nature for me, which eases the tension on both sides. And as a result, frustration has become my drive for change.
I have become used to my stepmother’s anal routines and her stubborn opinions. However, once in a while I’ll do something to switch up the routine a little bit, such as hanging a poster in my room or starting a conversation about opposing political views. This is not to spite her, but rather to show that “hey, you can have your own beliefs, but I can too!” I have channeled my frustration into making our household more livable and less tense. And with baby steps I have managed to change the little things, such as having groceries that my brother and I actually enjoy.
Frustration has brought me flexibility. It has enabled me to pick and chose battles, because you can’t win everything. But most importantly, frustration has taught me to compromise, and isn’t that what life is all about?