Today I had the opportunity to learn a few lessons about myself – lessons I am sick and tired of having presented to me while I remain stagnant. I realized after a lengthy conversation with friends that I have been stuck on a particular issue for quite some time. The issue is more personal than I will write about here. At root – of course: fear. My fear of being noticed in a particular way, and of being infringed upon. Some part of me that still lives in reaction to things long past, events that no longer threaten my safety today.
Anyway, It’s old stuff and an old familiar way of life: Why can’t the world play according to my rules? Why can’t people stop asking certain things of me? As you may imagine, it’s a horribly precarious and pinched way to live. It leaves me less than whole, less useful to others, fragile and unappealing – and taking myself way too seriously.
As I’ve said, the awareness came after a conversation familiar to me – and a discussion with people I care about. I dislike (inadvertently) exposing my sick traits to friends and family that I love, but sometimes I can’t stop running my mouth while this happens. Comes down to it, I worry these loved ones will tire of my imperfections and sicknesses and leave me. I worry they will seize onto that seed of self-loathing I have deep within, and of course they will leave because that self-loathing is right, I really am not worthy.
But ultimately, when I think this through, I realize I have been abandoned many times in my life and I’ve lived through it. So while I would like to be a better friend, and I would like to be less sick than I am, I must accept who I was today. I would also like freedom from the obsession on my character defects. I would rather cultivate some gratitude upon the discovery that Yes, I am stuck, I am in this place.
A close friend told me the other day I have a martyr complex, and that I hadn’t fed it in a while and it was hungry. “It’s going to die of neglect.” She also told me, if I understood her correctly, it would grab onto anything it could eat. I sense this is true. It is highly unflattering to realize the extent guilt and shame has played in my life but this does not make the reality any less true. It isn’t a pretty picture. However I can’t be any more well than I am. I brought my best Self to today, and tomorrow is a new day.
When I bike with a handful of other grownups I feel like a bike gang, kinda West Side Story all snapping our fingers and a little bit silly. Wednesday, G. is wearing a garbage bag as a simple poncho/windblock, having donated his jacket to J. once the night got gold. We stop at the AM/PM to get air and the two of them service my bike like a personal pit crew. I tell them thank you and then we’re back on the road and it’s perfect and simple like when we were kids.
I have always enjoyed this turn of the season. Today walking home with Nels, his hand in mine, I sensed the experiences and feelings of my childhood, good experiences. Yes, they’re in there, deep inside! I perceived my son feeling the same way, shuffling through the first of the fallen leaves and with the crystal-clear sky and neighborhood kids hailing him. I love it when the kids put their hand in mine. I don’t know how many more times I will experience it. It is really an amazing gift.