The best way to stop doing something, is to stop doing it. It’s worked for me with my drug problem, my drinking problem, smoking, eating poorly, and biting my nails. However, when it comes to other things that are as, if not more important- I struggle. For instance, yelling at my kids. Now granted, I’m better by a mile now, but there are times when I find myself asking, ‘What the hell is wrong with you?! It’s Playdoh for Christ’s sake!’ Times when I am so resentful over the fact that I am, again, doing their chores…as if I haven’t put in my time elsewhere today, you know? Some of you do know- And it’s ok- you aren’t alone. I don’t want to say that it’s normal, but I want you to understand that it’s common. Of course if you’re reading this, you aren’t really all that common- again, me too. That’s why when these little outbursts happen to us, we notice…
in our souls.
There are other things too. Money for instance. I shouldn’t spend it. I know this. It doesn’t make me feel better anymore when I do either- which means I’m as stubborn as they come. I read a book once that asked, If the food made you sick, would you still eat it? My answer was, YES! If spending money results in having to take it back or dig out of another self-inflicted hole, would you spend it? Apparently so.
Calling and or replying to the unhealthy ex’s in my life. Again- much, MUCH better- but there are days when I will sit there texting them back while saying, don’t do it! I will indulge ridiculous questions and requests…answering rhetoric and insanity with complete disregard to logic. Maybe not as often. Maybe the conversation is shorter. Maybe I defend and justify less. Maybe when the Queen wants a little pity party, ‘Oh, why did you leave me? Wasn’t I good enough? Blah, blah, blah’- Maybe then the conversation is shorter and I don’t even wait for the answer- but I still asked the question.
I procrastinate. I never realized how much so until I stopped being so ‘busy’ with things. When you strip your life down to work, kids, and chores, you realize exactly how much you don’t do. Sure I was busy before. Facebook is almost a full-time job. Twitter is a part-time job because you can’t write as much. Poster making, searching for quotes, messaging, texting, shopping, Starbucks…These things take time damn it! However, applying for financial aid, enrolling in college, meeting my childs high school teachers, grocery shopping, writing this blog which feeds my book AND being authentically me…Not only did I put that off for years- but I’m still just staring at half of that list. I stopped doing a lot of things that distracted me from the things I should be doing just so I could discover that I’m a master at procrastinating on doing them.
The list I’m compiling here could keep going…I’m a master list maker, retired of course, but in the midst of my list making to take an inventory on my life and its idiosyncrasies, I realized that it all comes down to what I recently read in a book-
my theme. Except for me, it would of course be, themeS. I can’t have just one.
I strongly suggest the book by Daphne Rose Kingma, The Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart. There are six themes in this book. I currently hold three of them;
Abandonment, Abuse and Rejection. In no particular order of appearance. It’s rather sad really- I feel like I am being, or will be left, except when I stay to endure the abuse and even then, I will eventually abandon or be abandoned. What’s a person to do with this? I’ll tell you the first thing-
Ditch the story.
I don’t need the story of my life to see the theme, or themes as it may be. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that telling my story to anyone and everyone, whether they wanted to hear it or not, is exactly what kept me stuck in the endless chapters of my life. Not only did it keep me stuck, but even I was so bored by it and so starved for acceptance, that I embellished it- aka, lied- to be more acceptable in the company I was keeping…the characters of my story. This isn’t to say that life wasn’t rough. Or downright horrid for that matter. It’s to say that you don’t have to repeatedly tell anyone about the time that guy wouldn’t let you leave the room without giving him oral sex first. Or that rape. That beating. That abortion. That anything. We should learn that our story is not worth repeating- if doing so causes us to relive it, or worse to KEEP living it now.
I know what you’re thinking- What if it can help someone? Good point. Here’s my thought on it;
Your story is sacred. It doesn’t define you. It should reveal you. It should lead you out of one place (where you were) and into another (where you are going). It should be treated with reverence and respect. Your story is like your Sunday’s best. Your classic car. Your good linens. Too often we just throw it out there to whomever is wiling to hear it. We compare scars. We open wounds. We seek attention. I’ve done it. The story of where you have been and what you have been subjected to is never as important as where you are going and what you are doing, now. It’s our responsibility, not to tell our story, but to lead others by saying, I’ve been there and this is where I am now- let me help you. When you tell your story, ask yourself- Do I spend more time talking about the horror of what was, or the reward of what is? It’s not easy. If someone says,
“You don’t know what it was like!” or “You don’t know how I feel!” It’s because they don’t want you to. They like their story. They need it. They are their story. If your story is their story, then they’re just like everyone else. That prison is familiar and retains some sense of comfort. If you manage to break out of your prison, than it means they can too- it makes “me” a “we” and a lack of choice, or a bad past the ultimate prison break. We all have our prisons, but how many of us try to break free?
How you changed your story is worth repeating a thousand times to a thousand people, but the story itself- it’s just not as important as we thought. I rarely, if ever tell my story anymore. To me, it falls under the justify and defend categories. Does it really matter what I’ve suffered, if it’s as bad as your suffering, or what you suffered too? If what I’m saying can help you? No. Telling my story only serves to bind me to it. It’s sage advice- Change your story. Tell a new story. But, how about ditch the story? No story?
“What’s your story?” someone will ask and you will say,
“Story? What story? I have a life, not a story.”
I remain undecided on the themes…I’m hoping by recognizing them that awareness will do its usual trick and just vanquish the little suckers…in time and due process of course. Kind of like my defaults. And my grief. It’s strange to sit here and ask myself, ‘So, now that you don’t have a story…what are you going to do with your life? What will you write if not a story, genius?’
I think my answer is…I’ll write my experiences and live my life.