Saturday, November 23, 2013

Revelation Series: #3: "Good Enough"

...we are now at the THIRD in my Revelation series! It's about damn time for another one, aye?? That is the best--and worst--part of using a blog as a venue for expression: no deadlines. Creativity can flow without pressure or obligation. Maybe that means LOTS of posts. Maybe that means SPORADIC posts. Maybe that means I will nap on the couch.

Disclaimer: This is a post that I started at the beginning of January of this year but was, for some reason, completely abandoned. Sad. So much has happened since then but that's for another post.

This one I am going to start off with an excerpt from my journal. I'm going to preface this by admitting to something--in the process of working through these "revelations" and all the other things I have on my plate, I faltered. It happens. I don't hold myself to some unrealistic expectation that I am 100% fine and healed and the BEST PERSON EVARRRR. I don't forbid myself to do anything under threat of shame, nor do I beat the shit out of myself when I do something dumb. I make mistakes but I OWN that shit. I allowed just enough doubt to creep in that I messed up and didn't remember that I am fluid--a work-in-progress. Yes, folks...I cut again. I am fine, the wound has healed, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I'm not proud of it but not shameful, either. Shame is how I came to where I felt I needed to do that in the first place. Shame does not have a top ranking spot in why I do the things I do. It (obviously) does affect things from time to time. I wrote this right around the same time I decided to cut and one might take notice of the emotion here and make a connection or two. Just for the record, I am NOT justifying my actions. I am providing background as to what was going through my head when I made the choice I did. 

"I'm alone, my self confidence is in the shitter, and I'm terrified I'm going to continue to fail even though I realistically have nothing left to lose. It is in these situations where people like me become convinced that no one would miss them if they shuffled off the face of the planet. I have gone from social butterfly who wasn't entirely happy but knew who she was and overflowed with the confidence to be able to right the wrongs in her life to...someone whose phone rarely rings anymore aside from bill collectors, who shuts herself in all day and can barely find a reason to crawl out of bed, much less get dressed and leave the house. What the fuck is the point of this? This isn’t how things were supposed to be. I’m supposed to be HAPPY. I’m supposed to be STABLE. I’m supposed to feel confident that the people I keep around me will freely lift me up, not drag me down. All the choices I have made in my life were in support of all that. Yet…here I am. It doesn’t make sense. I have busted my ass to be…where I am? THIS is what I get for my efforts?? What the fuck? I’d be in exactly the same place had I done absolutely nothing and not worked nearly as hard or sacrificed as much as I have. As if everything I do will NEVER be good enough and I will always end up exactly where I don’t want to be. What’s the fucking point if I keep coming back to this? I can tell myself over and over again that I am a good person, that if I keep getting up when I get knocked down and persevere that the good things will happen and my life will be exactly what I want it to be. It’s all fiction. All lies. Over and over I come to find that despite my best efforts, I am still sick and miserable and still being shit on by people I thought I could trust. Always back to the same thing."

I was in a BAD place. A huge part of my revelation was this: 

I had been making decisions and choices about my life for all the wrong reasons.

It happens. Sometimes the motivation behind our choices turns out to not be what we really thought it was. Something happens and we receive a Gibbs slap upside the head and we think to ourselves, "Holy shit...I had that all wrong." Let me explain. 

In the last ten years, I have made a few decisions that didn't turn out so well. At the time, I thought I was making those decisions to better myself, better my situation, enrich my life, and because I honestly thought the motivation to do these things was mine. I totally ignored the big, blaring red letters that plainly spelled out the biggest reason I was doing those things: I was trying to earn the pride and respect of someone. My first choice of a career, my move to the Midwest, buying a house, going back to school, getting married, all HUGE choices I made for the wrong reasons. I'm NOT saying the choices themselves were wrong; I'm saying that the reasons behind why I made them were fraudulent. I lied to myself, big time, and convinced myself that I was making those choices of my own independent thought--because they were good choices for ME and they were truly what I wanted for myself. That wasn't even close--I was making those choices because, somewhere deep down, I thought it was what was expected of me. I thought by doing so, I would HAVE to be respected then. I mean...I'd be doing what I thought these others wanted me to do! They would be proud, would they not? I'd be doing what they always said was the right thing! That's respectable!

...NO... is NOT respectable. All of those choices I made ended in disaster. The reason? Because I chose to do those things for reasons that had very little, if anything, to do with ME. I was doing those things because I thought it would make somebody else happy, not because I thought it would make ME happy. They were tough decisions that resulted in a lot of work for me; because I was doing all that work for someone other than myself, there is no way I could have been successful at any of those endeavors.

It has NEVER ONCE occurred to me that this was the criteria I had been using to base my most important decisions on. The desire for this kind of approval had apparently become so ingrained as to be almost a subconscious rule. It wasn't until a recent conversation that it dawned on me how misplaced my motivation had been and how much effort I had wasted. This person gave me the biggest wake-up call of my life. The short version of the conversation, which are the things that I took from it, is as follows:

"You are a disappointment. You cannot make a single good decision. I don't respect the person that you are because you are not the person I think you should be. You are sloppy. The reason that you struggle is because you don't do what I think you should do. Because of this, you will always need my help to extricate yourself from your troubles and I will make sure that you know your troubles are caused by the fact that you cannot make wise decisions about your life. You think and act like you are better than everyone else when you're not. You have a piss-poor attitude about taking advice from me. Your friends are worthless because I don't understand them or even take the time to get to know them. It would be pointless for me to even try because they are all clearly inferior. I don't know why you continue to place so much emphasis on your friends--it's not like they're family. You take stupid risks in your life rather than playing it safe by listening to ME and doing what I think you should. All I am trying to do is help you avoid the trouble I KNOW you are going to get yourself into. Only I know what is best for you. You clearly don't because here you are with no job, no money, no college degree, no home of your own, a failed marriage, poor health, and ruined credit." 

All I have ever wanted from this person is to hear that he or she was proud of me, that he or she would support my endeavors as long as I felt confident that it was the right path for me and be supportive of the things that I am passionate about, that he or she would always be my cheering squad. I can't remember the last time I heard from this person "I'm proud of you! That's great! I'm so excited for you! Tell me all about it!" My passions have always gone mostly unacknowledged. This person does not understand why I will always choose the path that makes me happy rather than the path that brings me material wealth, especially when those are two completely different paths. The saddest part of all is that I also married someone like this.

This part of my revelation shook me to my core. To find that the queen's castle was built upon sand, well, made the castle collapse. I have since forced myself to re-evaluate the way I make decisions. It often means taking more time to make the decision but at least I come to a logical conclusion. I have been shackled by the expectations and demands of others for too long and I’m done with it. This really IS all about me now.

SO...more to follow, of course. Hopefully I'll stop being such a slug and squeeze posts in more often than once a year. The holidays are coming up and I'm sure that I will have a holiday rant or seven.

1 comment:

  1. You are too hard on yourself. I have always enjoyed you and you were a great help at the time of Anthony's death. Please take care of yourself the world needs you.. LOVE YOU


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