January 20, 2021 – The Gift of Introspection

Are you a fellow blogger or writer? If you are, I just have to ask a question. Do you constantly think about what you previously wrote and how you could have written it differently? I do. It’s maddening. After I wrote ‘Trust Issues’, I thought a great deal more about the content and my perspective on things. Clearly, there were ‘trust issues’ but more than anything, I became aware that I don’t accept change very well. When I get somewhere, I dig in. Once I become comfortable with my surroundings, I like them to stay ‘as they are’. It’s just like with my house, once I put my furniture in place and hang a few pictures, they never move. Never. I don’t like things constantly in transition, especially when it’s somewhere that I spend a lot of my time. Transition or change makes me uneasy. I start to think to myself, “What next?” I suspect that’s probably why with the current state of the world, a lot of people are feeling uneasy. Nobody knows what’s next. What we knew to be ‘reality’ two years ago might look very different two years from now.

In addition to what I recognized about myself with regard to my inability to accept change very well, I thought a great deal more about why it bothers me so much when something happens that implies that I am not to be trusted. The first thing that comes to mind is whether I’m making a mountain out of a molehill. Am I making something ‘personal’ when it’s not intended to be. Am I making it about ‘me’ when it never was about ‘me’? Possibly. Probably. When I consider how I felt when I came to work and went to greet my fellow co-workers, to be met by the ‘kitchen staff only’ sign taped to the outer door, I think some of my feelings were valid. A place that had been previously ‘welcoming’ was now off limits. It didn’t feel good. A door that had been open was now closed. But it wasn’t just closed to me, it was closed to everyone else that didn’t work in the kitchen. So why did I take it so hard? I think I have a pretty good idea. Transference. I was taking something that I experienced in my past and applying it to my present situation.

Growing up as I did, with the parents that I did, ‘reality’ was often skewed. My mom was well practiced at avoidance, denial, and ‘little white lies’. A few years back, she made it very clear to me that she didn’t want Diabolical Debbie (DD) to EVER be her caregiver. They had always had a contentious relationship and DD on many occasions had been verbally abusive to my mother. My mom wanted to ensure that everyone was made aware of this request so she drafted a letter. But at some point in the process, she ‘changed’ the script. In the beginning, she had stated that she didn’t want DD to be her caregiver. Her final, notarized form indicated differently. “I don’t want her to feel like she’s being singled out and hurt her feelings,” was my mother’s explanation as to why she had changed the document. What changed? The first draft was very specific about my mother’s wishes. The final, notarized document stated the following, “None of my children are to be my caregiver.”

So why did I feel it necessary to share this with all of you? Well, after thinking a great deal about it, I have an inclination that being raised in a family where things are often ‘altered’ to avoid confrontation, that is likely why I responded as I did to the sign. It reminded me of how the letter my mom drafted was worded, that even though it was really targeted at one person, it was modified in order not to single them out. Whether that was the intent of the person that made the sign for the kitchen, I’ll never know. Maybe me coming in on a regular basis for my morning ‘hug’ got on their nerves just a little, so that could have contributed to the decision. But if I’m looking at it objectively, it probably was a number of things and people that influenced putting that sign on the door. I don’t know, life is puzzling and complex. I’ve done things before that have defied logic. I’ve made decisions that don’t necessarily make sense to others but make sense to me.

And, let’s be clear, I’m no girl scout. I actually was a Brownie briefly but I never ‘graduated’ to becoming a girl scout. And when I say that, I mean it literally and figuratively. As I sit here and process why it strikes a real and raw nerve when I perceive that people don’t trust me, I think I know the true reason. When I look deep inside, deep down to the core of my being, I don’t think I even trust myself. Not entirely. I’ve done plenty of things throughout my life that I’m not proud of. I’ve shoplifted. I’ve snuck into movie theaters without paying or paid for a single feature and ended up watching a double. I drive like a bat out of hell when I don’t think there are any cops around. And sometimes I don’t say anything as I’m walking out of a store and notice that I wasn’t charged for one of the items after glancing at the receipt. Sometimes I say something, but most of the time I just get in my car and drive home. The thing that sucks about that is that when I go to eat or use that item that I wasn’t charged for, it feels tainted. I cannot even enjoy it because I know I didn’t pay for it.

I wish that was all I’ve ever done that I’m not proud of, but there’s far more. There’s part of me that enjoys ‘something for nothing’, a part of me that schemes to ‘get around the rules’. I cannot deny it. There are things I’ve done throughout my life that carry so much shame that I don’t dare exhume them. I’m not going to put them ‘on the record’ because it’s not going to solve anything. The things that trouble me the most and like to ‘poke their heads out’ on occasion in order to remind me that I still have a lot of work to do aren’t the things that I’ve done that are considered borderline criminal or clearly, unmistakably criminal in nature, but the moral and/or ethical offenses that I’ve committed. Especially when they deeply hurt another person. When I’ve done things in the past that have caused other people emotional pain, those are the memories that haunt me. Sometimes I’ve done things that were unintentional but if I’m being candid, that hasn’t always been the case.

If I could undo or change many of the things I did in the past, I would. But I can’t. All I can do is live with them. ‘Beating myself up’ on a regular basis isn’t going to fix the things I have done and later regretted, even though that’s what I have a tendency to do. We’re all human and we all do things we wish we hadn’t. I’ve never killed anybody but I’ve done plenty of other things that were ‘shady’ that make me feel pretty sh*tty about myself. When I sit and think about all of the offenses I’ve committed over my lifetime, I can really transport myself to a deep, dark place, a place of judgment and guilt and shame and self-hatred. But what is the point in getting mired in such a place? What purpose does it serve? There’s no love or grace or forgiveness that exists in such a place. If I want to heal, healing is definitely not possible if that’s where I choose to go. I’ve spent enough time ‘there’. I don’t want to keep dredging up all of that stuff. The only thing I can do is try and learn from my mistakes, recognize my ‘humanness’, forgive myself and move forward.

Grace, truth and time. Those are the things that I must now do or abide by or allow in my life in order to ‘heal’. I’m not perfect and I’m never going to be perfect; however, I still can improve who I am and how I perceive myself and the world around me. And on top of ‘grace, truth, & time’, I’ve got to own my own sh*t. If I don’t own my own sh*t, I will remain ‘stuck’ and there will be no moving forward. We each have to recognize what we contribute and whether it’s helpful or not. I know I’ve got a long ways to go if I ever want to achieve self-acceptance and learn how to better navigate my life. I don’t like to look back too often because it’s far too painful and not terribly helpful, but sometimes it’s necessary to do an assessment before heading in a new direction, whether that’s to the left or right, or straight ahead. Going backward is unacceptable at this point. Anyway, that’s my ‘two cents’ for today. I’ve been ‘in my head’ all day and I’m exhausted. I think it’s time to watch some TV and ‘check out’ for a while.

Thank you so much for stopping by. For the folks that are ‘following’ me, I am grateful for you and the continued interest you have in reading about the variety of things I talk about each day. I’m no poet laureate or anyone with significant credentials to speak of but I do enjoy the opportunity to share things about my life and family or to just make simple random observations. If all goes well and I haven’t run you off, I trust you will return tomorrow as will I.

2 thoughts on “January 20, 2021 – The Gift of Introspection

  1. As I read along with you, I see so much of my own life echoed in your writing and I’m so grateful that you take the time to let readers into your world. I feel the same – when something ‘changes’ around me that I perceive as a negative change, I instantly think it’s about me. Not in a conceited way (at least I hope not!) but just that my upbringing has influenced me the way yours has – so I’m constantly on alert for the bollocking coming my way – whether in reality it is or isnt, I’m still scared and will respond as if I’ve been attacked.

    I read your blog and I feel a little less alone, less weird, less like I’m losing my mind and I’m so grateful to you for that.

    I hope that whoever hugged you in the kitchen will be available elsewhere in the building, we all need a hug – especially at work.

    Keep shining and keep being the beautiful, self-reflective person you are. Proud of you, J x

    Like

    1. Dear J, you are never alone. Like the song in Toy Story, ‘You got a friend in me’. I’m glad that my blog is helping you, even in the remotest sense. And I agree with you about hugs, we all need ’em! Keep shining, too! And know I so appreciate the love you send my way. xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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