Posts Tagged With: self reflection

be honest and unmerciful

The other day when I was writing about covert incest, I sent Thing 2 a message letting her know I was writing about that subject matter. That I was keeping her personal work private but that I was discussing her and I wanted to make sure that she was OK with it.

Her response?

One of my most beloved scenes from Almost Famous is a late night phone call between William and Lester Bangs in which the latter says, “Be honest and unmerciful.”

Thing 2 is a also fan of this movie, and that particular line.
I love that about her.

Honest and unmerciful.
I feel like that’s my current state of being.
Perhaps it’s Thing 2’s state of being as she does the hard work of self?

Recently, I attacked a situation that’s given me great grief, with an honest and unmerciful look at myself. I came up with an (equally) honest and unmerciful plan on how to proceed.

Y’all might be questioning the whole ‘unmerciful’ bit.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t blame you.
Unmerciful sounds a bit…what?
Cruel? Harsh?
Sans mercy.

Here’s the thing though, when I say ‘honest and unmerciful’ I’m using it the way I feel Lester Bangs did.

I believe it’s my job to be honest about who I am and what I’m doing in my life.
I’m no longer trying to be what other people want or expect.
I’m being honest to myself, and unmerciful with both the beauty and ugliness of my truth.

I am viewing everything I was, am, and shall be through this honest and unmerciful lens.
It makes me a more real me.
It helps me bring my truth to the world without feeling guilty, or fearful, or shameful.

Not like, ‘This is me. Like it or lump it.’
More like, ‘This is me. I see me. I present myself to be seen.”

If I am honest and unmerciful with myself, I become a better human, because what I bring to the world is as true and real as possible.
Yes. That’s it.
I will be honest and unmerciful as I look at myself. At my life.
For that is the mark of a true (and uncool) friend.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

so far, so good, what’s next?

Now, you know I’m a planner.
I like lists and calendars and color coding by subject.
So, once I recognized what I can and cannot change, I broke it down further.

I ask loads of questions.
I know that.
Y’all know that.
My family and friends know that.
But what’s different about this process is that I answered my own questions.

I asked and answered questions to come up with a plan.
I used the same system of dividing the page in my big sketch book so I could see it all together.

The first question is:
What frustrates me?

*stagnation
(no real growth, no movement, no real participation in life or household, etc.)
*lack of effort to create growth or movement
*caring about (these things)
*wondering if it will ever change

OK, now what do I do about it?

How to stop being frustrated?

*accept that these are the choices YBW and Thing G are making
*accept that nothing I do will change their choices
*focus on myself and my choices
*accept that this is the situation I’m in…until…?

So far, so good. What’s next?

I know it’s hard to read.

Ways to feel more comfortable.

*let go of wife and ‘mom’ guilt
*stop apologizing for choosing growth
*accept as much as possible
*pay attention to myself and where my power is
*be kind and courageous
*stop judging
*accept limitations (cannot change situation, only how I function in it)

Ways to regroup if I’m triggered.
(frustrated)

*immediately stop and breathe
*quickly assess if it’s something I can change (if not – do my best to accept and let it go, if so – make the appropriate change)
*accept that this is my work and I may not ever be met with the same
*remove myself gently from the situation
*tap into vast support network without engaging in ‘shit talk’

OK, so in the meantime I have a plan.
But…

How to remain sane in the long game?

*accept this is my work
*accept change may never come
*be peaceful in the knowledge I did all I could do the best way I could
*love

I don’t know how or even if the situation will change.
I do know that if I can do these things I will feel better. I will make the relationship with my husband more positive.
Maybe that’s all I can do?
While I know I have magic down deep in me, I only have power over myself.
If these changes I’m making serve only to keep me from being frustrated, angry, and resentful in an unchanging situation, at least I’m content in the knowledge I am going at this in a mindful and loving way.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

accept don’t judge, or the time of ‘if this then that’ is over

When I got to work on my me things, I meant business.
I used my big sketch book so I could see both what I can and cannot change at the same time.
I wrote in pen so it remains as I wrote it. It is unchangeable. (the irony is not lost on me, further proof of my commitment to this process)

What I cannot change:

*the living situation
*YBW’s point of view
*Thing G’s willingness to do or be
*why it frustrates me

This is what I’ve been on about. I want all this stuff to change. I want it to be different.
I can’t do anything about these things.

What I can change:

*how I function in the living situation
*how I choose to behave when I’m frustrated
*the way I go about discussing it
*what I pay attention to
*how I apply myself

This is where I have the power!

These are the things I can do something about. Now to figure out the how.
I think it must start with to what am I paying attention.
The trick with this is to decide what I need/should/desire to pay attention to.
I’m hopeful that by paying attention to the ‘right’ things, I’ll automatically change how I go about functioning, and behave when I’m frustrated. Perhaps not get as frustrated?

Is that how I can facilitate change?
Not that that’s the goal.
I. Cannot. Change. Any. Thing. But. Me.

I have to figure out how to shift my whole ‘it’s the principle of the thing’ point of view.
I mean, is that really getting me anywhere?

Maybe the concept of ignoring that which bothers me isn’t quite right. How can I accept it without it bothering me so much?
This is a conversation to start with my therapist.

I think I need to brainstorm a bit more.
Maybe it’s baby steps, not jumping in up to my ass.

Accept, don’t judge.

May be key.
This is the situation I’m in. What can I do or not do to be comfortable and content in it?

The time of ‘if this, then that’ is over.
I can’t change the situation. I can only change myself within it.

You might find yourself asking:
How much responsibility can one person take in a multi-person situation?
Is it equitable if one person is making changes for the betterment of the group?
What happens when one member of the group achieves their change making goals and the situation remains the same?
I’m asking the same questions.
Stay tuned for the answers…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

at one with myself

Today, for the first time in a quite some time, I wrote a long stream of consciousness email to my friend Jack. In the process of that, I had a relatively quick text conversation with my friend and mentor, Jessica.
I’m sharing them here this evening because I’ve been moved by the power of my own thoughts and feelings.

I sometimes wonder if I enter this sort of ‘calm before the storm’ mindset before all hell will begin to break loose. I say that partly because after a three month term break, I’ve no choice but to start a new school term in June. I’m so over it and my heart isn’t in it anymore, but I’m no quitter. So I’m going to get it sorted as quickly as possible and finish up and be well shot of every bit of it. It’s strange to be in a degree program I’m no longer passionate about. But I’m so close to the finish line now and I absolutely refuse to trip!
And partly I sometimes think I’m not terribly successful at loads of “free time”. But, the last time I had loads of free time, I was sick and miserable and depressed and just over all pretty pathetic.

Or perhaps I really am ready to tackle all the things I’m excited about along with this six month term I’m not.
We’re about to find out.

(excerpt from email)
I’m feeling healthy for the first time in literally years. I know I’m finally ready to get crack-a-lackin on doing what’s good for me, for my life.
I still struggle with how sick I was and how much it negatively impacted my life. My sense of self. My over all well being. Even the people around me.
Feeling well, feeling healthy, well, it’s a gift really.

I think I’ve been in crisis mode the entire time I’ve lived here. First I had to adjust to leaving my friends and job I loved. Leaving my children.
Then my child “disowned” me.
My father suddenly dropped dead.
My child officially moved here but left again in six weeks.
I had surgery on my foot.
I started planning a wedding (yay but stressful)
Then I got sick.
My daughter’s wedding.
Then the huge upheaval with YBW that threatened to change everything.
And finally I’m coming out the other side of all of that.
This all happened since August 2103.
I’ve been in survival mode for nearly four straight years. AND been sick through half that time!
It’s no wonder I’m feeling as though I’m not in control of myself or my life. I’m finally able to feel like I can tackle living my own life!

Now, there were amazingly good things in this time too, but some of them were also stressful.
I’m realizing I’m not considering these as “bad” things, just things that were stressful. Things that kept me in that crisis mode. Never truly moving past that initial survival time.
I think if I hadn’t gotten sick it would have been different, but I did do. And I’m finally feeling less and less like a sick person and more and more like a real person!

So while I’m conceptually ready to consider taking on the world, I’m smart enough to know that I can’t just jump in with both feet. That I can’t attempt to tackle too much all at once. That will overwhelm me and send me into a downward spiral. So I’m seriously creating a “daily schedule” for how my summer days should go. Just as if I was still running a preschool classroom.
I’ve not yet put it to paper, it’s still in my brain. I have anxiety about putting it to paper just yet…once I write it, it will be hard to adapt and change it. I feel more comfortable planning a bit longer.
Though, quite possibly, I would benefit more from getting it down on paper and seeing it. I’m a visual learner.
To write it and see it would make it real.
If it needs to be changed I simply start again. By erasing. By chucking it in the recycle bin and writing a new schedule.
I’ll most likely need to tweak it as I go in the beginning because it may not work the way I have it planned out.

Yes. I must write this schedule out for my own review. To see what I expect of myself each day.
Here’s the thing, with the exception of course work, it’s all stuff I love and want to do!! It’s freaking summertime! I have nothing pressing that isn’t a choice I can make!
I’ll write. I’ll do lula. I’ll garden. I’ll do projects around the house. I’ll have to do school work.
But over all, these are things I love! These are the ways I long to spend my time. I oughtn’t feel pressured by scheduling them so I can maximize my time and abilities.
Yes! I think that’s it.

Wow!
I’m having this ‘conversation’ with you and I’m having a text conversation with Jessica about Thing 2. In both conversations I’m really introspective. I’m aware of where I am, yet not feeling compelled to “over function” in either situation.
(end of email excerpt)

In the case of Thing 2, I told Jessica:
I kinda wanted to update you on the Thing 2 situation. I sent this text late the following morning:
It’s important you understand that I’ve not responded because I’m not sure how I’m going to respond, and not that I’m not responding simply out of spite.
She responded later in the afternoon:
It’s no big deal if you can’t, really. Don’t worry about it

Jessica replied:
Interesting. What is your gut telling you?


Then I wrote:
I think that should worry me, but it does not.
Jessica responded with:
I urge you to stop judging your thoughts and just begin to notice and accept it. The ball is in limbo. Be patient. You will know when to go forward.

Seriously y’all! This is the kind of introspection I’ve got going on today. And it feels good. It feels really really good.
I feel at one with the universe. But even better, I feel at one with myself.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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