I want to get past the cycle I am in. I want to find every sore spot and work it out of me. To improve. To unshackle. To do this means going through hard things I have always avoided. I don’t ever go through hard things. And yet.
When I sat down with my cousin at lunch today, I had specifically told myself we would not discuss which was most readily on my mind. We have come to be able to talk about anything, just about, and yet, I systematically rejected the idea of talking about the message my sister had just sent me on Facebook. There wasn’t a need, internally, to qualify why. We just weren’t going to do that.
So, naturally, naturally, one of the first things that extemporaneously is expressed out was how I felt about this message.
I know my sister will read this. If not tonight, then some point relatively soon. I thought sincerely about writing something else or even possibly not posting at all. But, that’s a whole part of this and maybe the organization of what I need to express is not the entirety of what I have to do…maybe I have to actually let it be read.
She sent me a message that was about a CD that she’s been looking for for a long time and which she found in my room. The details beyond that are not so important, but suffice to say, at some point I took it and ripped the songs off of it and carelessly tossed it somewhere and forgot about it. Like I do with about 90% of the things I own. She was, in a way she very rarely is, mad with me. Like MAD. And a bit mean in letting me know.
However, in reading this message, I was aware that oh, sure, maybe I did have it. And then, my whole body reacted to the ego shielding itself. If she was mad, well, I was mad back because of all the things I’m going through and I have to…and I am…and how dare and…it was so many other half-started insistences rather than to get to the truth. Yes, I think I took the CD and I had forgotten I had it and when questioned, I said no out of hand. Just capitulating to the truth when there was negative emotion to follow it, felt and feels so impossible. A path we can’t take. But the why?
I know this matters to her. I know that. I said, I don’t know why it doesn’t absorb for me. I don’t know why. I don’t listen. I am very much concerned by the way I am concerned about myself. That perhaps there is this Void in me of loneliness that I am devoted to worshipping and it has made me really challenged at just being in the world with the people around me. Also, if there’s going to be a fight, I just
In talking with my cousin, she talked about me being a person who derives worth from primarily from people. My sister from process. The other option is performance which is occasionally on the table, too. Our values are inherently different. For me, while the importance of the CD is not something I can get my brain around…there is a reason I’ve yet to discover that I need to discover that these things I own literally do not matter to me. The idea of them does, but not the actual things. While being called an empath sarcastically feels like a hugely painful dig. In that I feel discomfort, in that I feel recoil, in that I feel hurt and defensive and I obliterate the fact that I did something wrong. That’s the thing about knowing someone as a sister knows a sister – you know the places that are tender and when you’re upset, those are the places you kick.
I did something wrong. I screwed up. And I get more and more separation and protection and relief from assuring myself that’s not the case rather than biting the bullet and saying it. It is a mountain rather than a molehill. I am aware of at least that much.
After talking about many things about modeling conflict resolution and She was starting to tell me about being gentler with myself and I had to reaffirm that I think I am too gentle, and what saves me, what actually helps me is the rare occasions that I go to the hard places. That I experience vulnerability and discomfort.
By way of explanation, I had the example of going to the bank today to get money for lunch. I told myself, just ask for your balance, just ask for your balance. The teller was in and out and she gave me my cash and said have a good weekend and I drove off, knowing I hadn’t done it. I was so frustrated with myself and I thought that was just because I was trying to be accommodating to the busy teller and get myself out of her way when if I sat in that moment for just half a second longer, there was a larger truth that I felt ashamed of how little money I have right now. I don’t want to know my balance. I don’t want to feel stressed and so I didn’t ask. It was my choice not to go into the painful truth. But from the outside, oh, busy teller and me, I’m just a failure who can’t even ask for the things she wants. It adds to this whole myth of impotence.
Like maybe if I could sit and think about why I have such a disinterest in caring for the things I own I could root out where the impulse comes from. There could be progress.
We started talking about Buddhist monk Pema Chodron and the Courage to Choose Something Different. It being one of the Three Difficult Practices. I can get the awareness bit, sometimes, which is the First Difficult Practice…but choosing not to do what I always do which cements the pain and exacerbates it…but to change the reaction.
After all of this, a customer at work today – maybe all of four foot tall and traveling with her two sisters to spread her father’s ashes – was quiet after I told her ponytail was sassy. She said, insistently, knowingly. “You’re the kind of person who will just say anything. I’m old, so I see how you are.”
Cut me to the core, but I asserted myself…”I think I’m bold enough to say what I think, and I think your ponytail is sassy.” There was so much laughing and talking that I don’t think she even heard me.
So I apologized to my sister. I wanted to have this whole conversation about all of the above, but after this long day at work, I didn’t want to tear myself apart. I don’t think I knew all of this then.
I still should have, though, so I guess this is what I am trying to do now.