For the past week or two I’ve been brewing a blog post/chapter on not wasting your energy on negativity – be that places, people, situations, whatever it is that sucks you dry and makes you more miserable for all your efforts in the end. But before that post/chapter came to fruition, my brain moved on to other topics (or so I thought). Sometimes I have the focus of a laser and sometimes I’m the dog shouting, “Squirrel!!” I figured an afternoon of wrangling my brain back a step or two was going to be in order, because books don’t get written just by thinking about them (why hasn’t that software been invented? I’d like to make some movies that way, too… ).
But, ah ha, no, my brain hadn’t moved on after all. The reason why I hadn’t been able to put the thoughts into words yet was that I still had more to learn on the subject myself (this is not to say that I have all the other topics I’m writing about figured out and will soon be dispensing advice from the summit of Pike’s Peak. This is me writing from where I am at the moment. I certainly hope not to stop growing here!). I’m not going to be able to verbalize a thought that isn’t done baking yet.
I had all these witty metaphors ready to go and it turns out that perhaps they aren’t exactly how I would phrase things, after all.
A friend of mine suggested that I nix the whole idea of committing a book to paper and just make this whole experience a blog alone, because the downloads/updates/epiphanies are coming so fast and furious at the moment that I look at the first chapter I wrote just weeks ago, and it seems immature and contrived. Eight weeks ago I was a proud book mama with a fledgling chapter I wanted to show off to the world! Now I’m reading it and thinking, “That’s such simplistic, entry-level type stuff! Did I really think it was profound at the time??” Yes. Yes, I did.
We now interrupt this blog post with a YouTube video that makes me laugh so hard, and if you’re following me on the term “downloads” then you might get a kick out of too:
No, I had nothing to do with making that video. I just wanted to share it, because, well… it’s true. ^_^
We now return my train of thought to its rail. Thank you for your patience.
One of the first and largest changes that I have undergone in the past few years has been being able to say “no”. Being able to express anger. Being able to walk away from harmful people. Being able to think well enough of myself to know that I don’t deserve to be hurt. That seems pretty basic, but when you’re coming from the vortex of self-hating, people-pleasing, too-nice and too-timid punching bag-ness that was me just a few short years ago, it’s revolutionary. I’ve walked away from people, situations, and securities that I never would have thought possible before. How many of us are trained to suck it up and take it because the alternative – that is, the unknown – is far more scary than the devil you know?
Well, I started by telling people that hurting me was not OK. If they continued to do so, I walked away. If whatever I was getting out of the relationship wasn’t worth the pain inflicted, I was outta there. And I’m not talking romantic relationships, here (I’m about as crazy cat lady single as you can get while only having three cats). I’m talking friendships (and even a job). I used to find every excuse for a “friend’s” behavior being painful to me. They were going through a rough time. They didn’t mean to hurt me. Etc. Finally, I said to myself, an actual friend wouldn’t want to hurt me.
Of course we’re all going to prick and poke each other occasionally; we’re
cacti human. The nature of being separate entities on this spinning blue marble means that we’re going to bump into each other sometimes. I get that. What I figured out was, if your friend does something especially hurtful to you, and you let them know about it (I like to presume unintentional whenever possible), and you don’t get so much as an “I’m sorry” or an “I didn’t mean to do that” or some other indication that that wasn’t their intent, but they double down and stab you again? That’s not cool.
Revolutionary, I know.
So when I had people who did this not once, not twice, but three times or more – sorry batter, you’re out. I saved myself and walked the heck away. I felt like the lady in Fried Green Tomatoes who slams her car into the rude girls’ car in the parking lot and tells them that she’s older and has more insurance. I was about to start screaming “Tawanda!”
And it became like purging my belongings (another endeavor that has been life-changing and oh-so-freeing that I shall have to blog about): the more I did it, the better it felt. Thought I was going to say “the easier it got”, didn’t you? Yeah, that too. But mostly it felt better. Hurt me again? Goodbye. Facebook friend? Unfriend. Every asshat I eliminated from my life was like ripping off a cast that had been immobilizing me for too long. Scratch that itch, baby! I’m done with that!
What more was there to figure out about this, right? Purge the toxic people from your life and the the excess detritus from your closet.
Except I keep getting poked with the universal stick about one of the first people I walked away from. I have the deep and unmistakable feeling that there’s a patch to be made there. This patch could not have been made three years ago, or two years ago, or even one year ago. But today? I’ve repaired my sewing machine and have been crafting all kinds of new designs for myself.
OK yes, friends who are reading this, I know I literally have repaired my sewing machine and have been crafting all kinds of new designs for myself – but the analogy was just too perfect to resist.
So, how on Earth do I approach a patch that I’m not even sure the other party is interested in sewing?
Well, I haven’t figured that out yet. Check back with me after I’ve had a few more epiphanies.
Hold on, I’m totally getting a download right now. 😉