Life Strategy: Use In Case Of Emergency

I had a shitty week. If you know me (or if you don’t really, but read this blog), you know that I stay away from clumping things together as being “all bad” or referring to an entire anything as being all-around “shitty”, because not EVERYTHING can be “all” anything all the time. Riiight?

It’s neither constructive nor useful to make sweeping generalizations, since they only lead to a snowball of negativity that in turn perpetuates more shitty things to happen. In my opinion. I prefer to look for the positives in pretty much everything, and I’ve been surprisingly good lately at letting things roll off my back while staying alarmingly zen through most situations.

Until this week. THIS week all my life strategies for staying calm, cool and collected while keeping a clear sense of “perspective” failed. As did yoga, meditation, deep breathing, counting to 100, counting sheep or counting down.

Despite my best efforts at not letting myself get sucked into the vortex of the increasingly irritating irritants I found myself in the middle of and admitting defeat, I eventually had to throw in the towel and face the facts. No matter how I spun it, here you have it: this week was really, truly shitty.

This week I felt like the universe was trying to piss me off in a big, BIG way.

Without getting into the nitty gritty details, let’s just say that every single little annoyance that could happen to an individual in one day HAPPENED. Every day. Over and over again. For the entire week.

Things like computers breaking down right before a big presentation, programs failing, printers jamming, projects getting lost, plumbing going bust, public transport shutting down, being late for EVERYTHING due to external circumstances, alarm clocks not working when you most need them to, cell phone breaking, bank cards snapping, coffee spilling (on “special occasion” white shirts), stepping in poop (more than once), and waiting at the doctor’s office for two hours (despite having an appointment) only to have the doctor leave on an emergency RIGHT when you’re the next patient, you name it… it happened. And this was just on Monday.

padded room

The rest of the week continued much the same. Each new day was like a Kinder Surprise egg filled with razorblades instead of candy. Combined with cabin fever from the most brutal winter in the history of North America (yes, really! look it up! People are bitchy up here in Canad-eh), working in an especially noisy OPEN office (if you work in one, you know what I’m talking about), being stuck like a sardine on failing public transport (Montreal is the worst for this – the metro dies every week, conveniently during rush hour), and just constantly being bombarded by noise, talking, people, personal space invasions and an Arctic jet stream didn’t make walking out the front door to face the shit each morning very appealing.


Chalk it up to living in an urban center in the coldest spot on the planet, bad karma, or simply a planetary misalignment, my zen bubble burst. The immunity to life irritants that I’ve been experiencing since my return from India went right out the window.

I desperately wanted (and needed) to be in a large open field, on a deserted beach or inside a wine cellar, away from everyone. I needed to be left the f_+&*k alone.


I’m not lying when I say that all the yoga in the world didn’t help me. Neither did deep breathing, meditating, or walking around the block to “shake it off”. When I tried that, I got splashed by a big dirty bus veering off into a lovely slush puddle, and shortly after THAT, I stepped in dog poop. Again.

I was the victim of an unrelenting bombardment of shit. Literally.

All I COULD do was try my best to make to it to the weekend when I would be able to shut my apartment doors, keep the world at bay, and enjoy a quiet day of solitude to regroup. To get there, I forced fake smiles while struggling to contain my simmering fury at all moments of every day in order to avoid infecting other people with my foul mood, or getting myself fired, beaten up or arrested.

I sat in countless meetings, appointments, long lineups, metro cars, buses, and small-talk situations, silently counting down the hours through gritted teeth until the weekend, after which I could (hopefully) go forth into a new week with a clean slate.

While mentally somewhere else (involving a beach and a strongly spiked cocktail), the only way for me to deal with ridiculous demands, non-pertinent life advice, work requests, dermatologist lectures about the sins of the sun, office small-talk or well-meaning but unwanted opinions from colleagues, clients etc. was this: smiling, nodding, and walking away as soon as I could in order to do whatever the fuck I was going to do anyways.

Because in life, there will always be people who will try to get you to “listen” to them, give you directives, opinions, or advice. Most of the time you’re open to hearing them out, engaging in interesting conversations or exchanging points of view.

But sometimes, you’re just not in the mood.

And instead of blowing up, saying “NO, I don’t agree”, or taking time out of your already shitty day to voice your opinion when all you’d rather do is be anywhere else BUT in that conversation and you simply just need to be left alone without having to explain why (and possibly hurting someone’s feelings or ego), and when you can’t say what’s really on your mind (like shut the f$%^k up please), it’s good to have a “let’s get this over with quickly” strategy up your sleeve.

For those times when all else fails and you just need to get through whatever you need to get through without hurting yourself or the other guy, try this: smile, nod, and do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyways. And until the shit storm blows over, keep smiling on the outside. Even if you’re seething on the inside.

4 Responses

  1. Andy F

    Hi! I stumbled upon your site yesterday (my yoga teacher posted a link to your Bhujapidasana article) and I have been devouring your articles one by one since! Wow! Please write a book (if you haven’t yet). Seriously. Your insight and perspective are so interesting, and your writing style makes it all so relatable. If that makes sense :))

    Sorry if my comment has next to nothing to do about the article; i told myself I’d leave a comment to at least thank you for the get-out-of-your-yoga-slump one, but the next article title looked so interesting that i had to click on the link :)) and i have been working backwards from there. I will probably be some more articles back by the time you see this :))

    So, thank you. And please, keep writing <3

    1. Alexandra Nereuta

      Hi Andy,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement and feedback, and yes, what you wrote makes perfect sense :)) It’s so nice to hear your take on my writing, and super happy you find the articles relatable. I’ve been really really reeeeeeallllly bad at writing lately, been making some major life changes that have been using up all my time & energy, but will write about them very soon. Very. Your very supportive comments are actually giving me a kick in the arse right about now to get back on the writing horse, so THANK YOU!!!!! So much. Again.

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