I don’t know about the rest of you but when things go wrong in my life I find it ever so easy to lay the blame elsewhere. Maybe it’s a natural inclination, we don’t like to think of ourselves as less than perfect and so when things don’t act accordingly it must certainly be someone else’s fault. There now, doesn’t that feel good?
Not really. You see, I’ve found that by laying that blame elsewhere it has a number of ill effects on me including:
- Feeling powerless
- Feeling victimized
- Feeling stuck and unable to move on
- It doesn’t change anything for me
Sure, in most situations there are other people involved. One doesn’t have a falling out with oneself. So, of course there are others to blame or fault or who have more responsibility. It’s easy to believe that your actions were a result of someone’s actions and therefore not really your fault if it goes ass over teacup. However, conflict cannot occur without at least two participants. Even under the best of circumstances both parties are equally responsible. But I’ll go one better – I think in the long run it’s better to just assume it’s all you. That you caused it, it’s your responsibility and others’ participation is irrelevant.
If you can take that view then at the very least you can do something about it. You can change your mind. You can adjust your point of view. You can vent and move on. You can change your approach. You can pretty much do anything when you make yourself in charge. And the truth is, about the only thing anyone is really in charge of is themselves. Because beyond that, there are always others involved. When others are involved, you don’t get to have your own way. You don’t get everything you want. And really even if you did get everything you wanted you might discover that you really didn’t want some of that stuff. Maybe you didn’t really want any of it.
Case in point – some time back I had a relationship that went terribly wrong. It was an utter shock to me and it took months for me to get over it. I was on a merry-go-round of ‘why’ questions that I asked myself daily. Why did he, why didn’t he, why can’t I….blah blah. But you know what, I realized just today that the problem was that I was asking myself the wrong questions. Because the questions I was asking were questions I could never get answered – so they could only be irrelevant. Then I started asking myself the right questions, ones I could answer. The questions centered around my actions and my motivations and I have to say I wasn’t too pleased about the answers. At least at first. But after I got over my self disappointment I just kind of shrugged and thought, ‘oh, I see.’
And I ended up relearning a truth I know and have known all along. The answer begins with you. If you don’t like your life you can change it. If you don’t like a situation, you can change it. If you don’t like anything, it can be different. You just have to ask yourself the right questions and be ready for the answers. And it’s a funny thing, when you change your mind, often magically others do too.
How do you explain something that is not? A non…quality, characteristic or state? A thing that should be there and you expect to be there that startles and confuses by it’s absolute absence?
I have grappled with this phenomena for some time now. Trying to discern error, find my mistakes and understand my utter misconceptions.
Through the internet we can find the best of worlds and the worst of worlds. We may encounter the truest of friends and the craftiest of tricksters. Though as a rule I think largely we encounter fair weather friends. Nothing wrong or unusual about that because in normal non-virtual life we encounter such people constantly. That aside, there were a few people of whom I was absolutely certain were the stuff of profound friendship. And it was these people after literally hundreds of hours of phone talk, thousands of emails and regular exchanges of gifts and cards, I ventured to meet in the real world.
Not much of a risk really because it seemed we all knew each other so very well that in fact we were all dear old friends. I truly believed that and approached the meeting with great enthusiasm. However, within moments of meeting the first ‘old friend’ something told me I was terribly mistaken. The not-there was so not there that I felt disoriented and incredulous at once. Which was immediately followed by copious amounts of denial. I had to be imagining the lack of warmth, the indifference and lightly veiled antagonism. It was travel day after all and we were tired and not ourselves, right?
And so planes were boarded and eventually landed. And baggage problems greeted us at the airport which served as a useful distraction for a time… And then onto the next friend – the one whom I’d known the longest and the best and once again the not-there appeared and that void left me scratching my head in wonder. And then the next and …. And after everyone settled in, got rest, food and sunshine the not-there did not relent.
What made it worse for me was that I could see there were connections between the others – making me wonder what awful thing I’d done to be excluded. To inspire such indifference about my presence on a trip I was encouraged greatly to take.
The week was one of the longest of my life and though I was crammed into a house full of people it seemed I was utterly alone. And I didn’t think of much else than being home among friends. I couldn’t sleep, nor eat – hell I couldn’t even make a phone call because my cell fell into a water trap at the mini golf course – effectively cutting me off from everyone.
And when the big good bye finally came it was little more than a lift to the bus station with a wave and a ‘see ya.’
For weeks afterward I told myself I imagined it or must have misunderstood. Things would soon return to normal – but no, they never did. The void simply kept growing. And eventually I had to accept that the friendship, warmth and love I’d felt simply wasn’t mutual. And that was just the truth it pure and simple. As the saying goes they just ‘weren’t that into me.’ And the reasons and explanations that might have been offered were irrelevant because it wouldn’t change the truth.
For a long time I was hurt, angry and confused and part of me wanted some sort of vindication or validation. But eventually I realized there was no point in that kind of thinking either. You cannot make another person care about you – it cannot be done (and even if it could, what value is there in that?).
So…I let go and walked away. Not an easy thing to do when you feel so invested but under the circumstances certainly the right thing to do. For all of us. I wish them all well and bear them no malice. Perhaps just a tinge of lingering sadness over it all but this is life and life is full of interesting lessons.
And make no mistake, I don’t write this any kind of cautionary tale. I have made many wonderful online friends whom I hope to meet someday too and will approach those meetings in the same way. And even if I never do, my life is better for the presence of these people.
I think I just write this to so I can put it all to rest and finally move on.
Good Sunday morning to you. A friend sent me this Irish Blessing and I wanted to share it. A great way to start the day if you ask me. Have a good one.
I don’t know about you, but I await with baited breath to see what the fine citizens of Massachuettes will decide tomorrow. As some may know a special election is being held to determine who will take the Senate seat of the late Senator, Dead Kennedy, er…ah… I mean Ted Kennedy.. . Drudge has the poll numbers here. And they are looking mighty fine from my point of view.
Lots of hoopla as this could upset the balance of power (or should I say unbalance of power?) in the Senate, which could make it a whole new ballgame. I’m buying my peanuts and crackjax now. Don’t want to miss a thing.
Fingers crossed, they’ll be some mighty upset Dems tomorrow. hehe.
Maybe this is wrong but I get a kick out of me. I always have if you want to know the truth. I like having ‘in’ jokes with myself, laughing at things only I find funny, no matter how silly or inane. Perhaps it’s too much time spent alone as a child or maybe I spent too much time alone because of this eccentricity – but I could always amuse and entertain myself no matter what.
Imagination has always been a strong suit and I wear it often – it enables strange new worlds, odd and fanciful dreams and even other beingnesses that I seem to be able to change like so many party dresses.
It takes nothing more than spying a complete stranger furrowing his brow or donning a jaunty or silly hat to get the wheels turning and the yarn spinning in my head. The story is right there, writing itself in real time as I watch on in wonder. Now that I think of it that way, I wonder if I am actually a writer or merely a stenograher for an odd set of brain cells.
Despite everything in my life that hasn’t been – let’s say an amusement park ride – I still can’t shake that part of me that can find just about anything amusing if not a outright knee slapper. Honestly, even at my lowest points in life, I could still find something to laugh about – of course usually it was some synapse exploding between my ears and issuing the punch line to me and me alone – but still…I just get a kick out of it.
How about you? Do you get a kick out of yourself? Have fun adventures without anyone else there?
At what point do we need to escape? I’ve been pondering that lately. Is it something everyone does or needs? I wonder.
I tend to have a lot going on in my life, whether good or bad or somewhere in between – no matter what there always seems to be something happening. I guess I like the action, I always have. It makes life interesting and often fun.
On the other hand I do have a saturation point or breaking point or a ceiling for such things. I sometimes just hit a wall and think, ‘shit, that hurt!’ And when that happens I have to escape. Get away. Turn off my brain and get stupid.
Unfortunately, I’m not independently wealthy or even financially independent so I can’t exactly jump on my private jet and go to Tahiti to chill. I can’t call my limo driver and take an impromptu road trip or have my travel agent book a European walking tour for me so I have to come up with other solutions.
When I need to escape I have to do it in my mind (mostly) – I have to sit on the patio and drink iced tea while I watch the resident birds haggle for limb space on the Mimosa. Or find a channel that shows non-stop reruns of my favorite television shows. Or if I’m lucky stumble onto a big dvd blowout sale at Blockbuster and buy up as many movies my budget will allow. Add a little microwave popcorn to the mix, unplug the phone, turn off the computer and the escape is complete.
Usually the need to escape only lasts for a day or so, but sometimes it goes on for weeks. It gets tricky when there is a long bout because I still have to go to work, buy groceries, do the laundry and talk to other human beings – fulfill at least the minimal obligations of human co-existence – but it’s still doable.
It’s dawned on me lately that I’ve been doing a big escape for some time now. So many landmines and so few limbs to give. Head in the sand or up my ass (six of one half dozen of another) and been living in that twilight world of distraction and denial. Weird because I didn’t really notice it. It just sort of happened. Not even the ever growing population of dust bunnies floated me a hint.
I guess the good news is that I’m thinking that being an island may not be such a great idea – at least not for me. That sticking my head out the window could be fun and well shit, there is a great big world out there and somebody’s got to live in it. So, perhaps adventure awaits me.
How about you – what do you do to escape?
You know, I posted this a long time ago – but it never got much attention- so I’m reposting it for those who love a good and intelligent rant. Enjoy!
In recent years I’ve noticed that Adult Daycare Centers have been established. I must say I did have to strain my brain to figure out what the heck those were. I certainly know what Daycare Centers are, they are places where working parents leave their children during working hours, so they can go work to earn the money to pay for the daycare. Kind of like gang babysitting I guess.
However, Adult Daycare Centers was a new concept for me and I had to wonder under what circumstance an adult needed to be babysat (babysitted???) and why. The following is what I came up with:
1. You just can’t get the hang of those easy pull-up Depends and need the assistance of a snarly orderly to make them fit.
2. Your daughter-in-law can’t afford to let you fingerpaint on her livingroom walls anymore.
3. You like your gin tonics in a sippy cup.
4. Story-time is the highlight of your day.
5. The last time you were left home alone you burned down the kitchen making jello because you got too interested in what Oprah was saying.
6. You need to sharpen your socialization skills.
7. It’s against the law to put a gps chip in your neck (so far).
8. Your radical views about the Constitution scare people.
9. Your children can’t control you and don’t have time to watch you every minute.
10. They had some extra stimulus money to waste and the libbies needed a new voting bloc they could depend on.
As usual feel free to add to the list.
Looks like I’m back where I started. It’s funny how when you go out into the universe with big plans, you get in your new shiny spaceship and start the adventure of a lifetime – only to discover that your destination is home after all. I can’t tell you how true that statement is in my life right now – on so many fronts – it’s mind boggling actually.
But I guess sometimes you have to go ‘out there’ to see what you have ‘right here’ don’t you?
So full circle for me, I’m back right where I started and actually I couldn’t be happier about it.