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Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Days 12-16: Now I get it

June 24, 2009

V is for victory

V is for victory

OK, folks, I’m officially ending the Annoyance Challenge. Tell you the truth there were aspects of this assignment that really bugged me. I know, I brought it on myself. But still, it’s a pain to have to blog every day, not that I did it every single day, as evidenced in the title of today’s post. But even so, it was annoying not to blog every day knowing that I really should. All that left me battling against my own commitment which resulted in guilt for not keeping my word to thousands of readers.

Which brings me to another aspect of this project… I have no idea if anyone was following any of this. It’s one thing to knock yourself out daily, looking for annoying situations and people, just so you can deconstruct and write about your feelings for the self-improvement of all. But to do it for an empty house!

“Really,” I say to myself, “What’s the point of that?”

“The point, Annie,” I reply with as much patience and compassion as I can muster, “Is that you wanted (and needed) to learn more about your own response to annoyance.”

Annie: “Why did I need two weeks of lessons on that? I don’t even get annoyed all that often.”

Annie: “Yeah, right.”

Of course I was right and I finally admitted it, but not until I got rather annoyed with myself for being so…  well, you know.

Anyway, here’s what I learned from this challenge. (Cue the Big Take Away drum roll, please)

I feel annoyed with others when I’ve got some unexpressed emotion right below the surface. The hidden emotion is usually anger, hurt, or fear.  Funny thing… while the annoyance seems to be very directed at whomever is in my vicinity… the more authentic emotion that’s being covered up may have nothing to do with anyone else.

Case in point, the other day in the kitchen David was emptying the dishwasher and I was snapping in response to his random questions about what we should make for breakfast. Because he’s been on the Challenge with me (Did he really have a choice?) it didn’t take him long to point out my mood.

David: Hon, you seem annoyed. What’s going on?

In the past, I would have resented the insinuation and possibly swatted at him with a spatula. But in the past 16 days I’ve learned that when someone cares enough about you to point out the undeniable fact that you’re being a bitch, it makes good sense to pause, peek inside, and examine what’s what.

I took a deep breath, had a look and discovered that underneath the cheap plastic veneer of annoyance lay a rich layer of frustration and anger … not directed at David, but at myself. So I told him.

“I’m really frustrated that Chapter 5 (of the book I’m writing)… the one on annoyance,  is taking me so damn long to figure out. And I’m angry with myself for the amount of procrastinating I’ve done for the past 2 weeks… including the Annoyance Challenge… when I should have been working on the book!”

David looked at me and nodded sagely. He’s got that sage nod down to an art form. Then he handed me a bunch of clean silverware. “Here.” 

I grinned at him and started sorting spoons. A place for everything and everything in its place… again.

Filed under: Annoyance Challenge,Parenting,Teens,Tips,Yoga — Annie @ 9:51 am


  1. Thanks for sharing the personal experiment Annie. You are one very special, hardworking soul there!
    FYI – I changed your lovely father’s day entry a bit and sent it to my own wonderful dad. (I credited you.)
    As you know, consciousness about when one can move ahead and when one can’t is a continuing challenge for me personally due to many factors, some valid and some hard to nail down into thoughtful conscious action…

    Comment by Jane (mother of 13 yr. old girl) — June 24, 2009 @ 11:41 am

  2. Hey Jane, I think you nailed the meaning of life, girl! “…a continuing challenge…. due to many factors, some valid and some hard to nail down into thoughtful conscious action….” That’s it!
    Sometimes when the fog clears (for an instant) the view is inspiring enough to keep us slogging ever onward toward the next vista point.

    Stay cool!

    In friendship,

    Comment by Annie — June 24, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  3. You know I’m sorry I didn’t see your challenge earlier!! I have a problem with getting annoyed, it happens almost everyday. Ok maybe not almost, but it happens every single day. I like your breakthrough and you know what, it’s true for me too. I’m thinking I need to take an annoyance challenge. 🙂

    Comment by Heather @ CSAHM — July 20, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

  4. Note the date, Heather. June 2009. I wasn’t on twitter then so not likely you’d have seen this. But don’t get annoyed! ;o) It’s never too late to challenge yourself to change in the direction of more mindful behavior (the nutty stuff we do is mostly unconscious as in, automatic). If you’re going to give yourself a 7 day Annoyance Challenge (or longer) be forwarned… when you go looking to challenge your reaction to annoying stuff, more and more annoying stuff comes up to test you! See what the Universe delivered to me during my 16 day challenge (start here at Day 1 and keep clicking on “Newer Posts)

    Comment by Annie — July 20, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

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