“Catching my breath, letting it go, turning my cheek for the sake of the show.
Now that you know, this is my life, I won’t be told it’s supposed to be right…” Kelly Clarkson, Jason Halbert
When I was “Jamming” out to that this morning, I kept getting stuck on the second sentence. Does it really matter if the other person knows “this is my life” if we don’t know it ourselves? What’s the rebellion here? What am I rebelling against? The truth is, this being my life is what I’ve always wanted and now, it’s what’s scaring the shit out of me. I guess it’s another example of “Careful what you wish for…” Now I can’t fricking breathe.
My father would totally say this to me. And I’d say it to him too. We are a lot alike, though it bothers him more than it bothers me I’ll bet. There are traits that we share, things that I…things that were imprinted on me through him that I wish weren’t there, but there are other things, really important things, that I’m glad I caught wind of. Most of my dad’s advice comes from guilt, shame and pain…resentment. Most of it I let roll nowadays because I am at heart, a daddy’s girl. I crave him. His attention. Yesterday he called me- and it made my whole day…it made my whole heart ache, but he gave me advice too…without meaning to. That’s how it works. My father’s best advice is the advice he never means to give…and it changes me.
My father refused to come to my second wedding…in turn, I cancelled the wedding and eloped. He said he wouldn’t come or walk me down the aisle because he had already done it once…It makes him hypocritical for sure…but then he said this;
“You don’t know what the vows mean. If you at least knew that…”
A few years later after leaving a wedding of my boyfriend’s friend, I realized he was right. I thought I knew what he meant…but really, I still had no idea- he was still right. I didn’t know. They weren’t privy to the “know what NOT to do rule” it seemed…so they were in effect, foreign to me. Now, I know. How do I know that I know? Because now I want them. Just them. Option A,B, and C- no D. It was good advice. It was hurtful and unintentional, but good.
Yesterday my father ended our conversation by saying,
“I’ve learned that when I call, if I keep my opinions to myself, it goes better.”
It wasn’t guilt. I get that now. I wanted to tell him that I don’t care what his opinions are because I love him…opinions and all…and then tonight after a fight with my boyfriend and while standing in the shower I had this epiphany about my father…and then, of course, myself.
I was replaying the conversation with my dad in my head and I thought, I wish he would have let me say,
“Daddy, you can have your opinions all you want, that doesn’t bother me. It’s that you always think you’re RIGHT and I’m wrong that drives me nuts and hurts.”
Oh God…Breathe Melissa…Catch your breath. Shift.
You know the phrase, “A day late and a dollar short”? Tonight I’m about an hour and a half and $.75 short…again. I want to say that I don’t know why God and the Universe do that…but the truth is, It’s because I’ve told them that I’m a slow learner and work better by example. Let that be proof of thoughts manifesting to reality! Now that my anger and hurt have subsided…the calm has come and I’m breathing, I can clearly see that the experience happened to get me to this realization…you have no idea how badly I want to tell my boyfriend about it so that I can be right about why things happen…Yep. It’s like that.
“When you don’t change, history repeats itself. Then you have to decide if changing is for the best, or you keep seeing repeats because you’re doing something right.”
― Rebecca McKinsey
I feel guilt. I think I’ve said that about twenty times in the last three hours…I feel guilt and I have shame, but right now, let’s just go with this guilt, in this moment. I feel guilt because after every fight, emotional outburst and mutual catastrophe my relationship has, I have new clarity…mostly about myself. Maybe I don’t want to see anything else, but as long as I’m seeing then my average has to be on the upswing, right? History keeps repeating itself but I change a little bit more every time. I feel guilt because I feel closer to knowing myself and that seems like a gain. How do I gain? I don’t think he feels gain…that makes me feel guilty. I feel guilty that I can find good in the bad….
Ummmmm. Wait. I just said that. See?
Let me catch my breath.
“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness, not health, but healing, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it, the process is not yet finished, but it is going on, this is not the end, but it is the road. All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.”
― Martin Luther
I’ve been known to say, being right isn’t as much fun as you think. It’s true. I know because I’m right a lot. It just takes me a while to get right about myself too and it always results after I’ve tried really hard to be right about someone else. It never fails these days- It used to be that I would tell myself to look within first…now, and in a strange way, thankfully, looking out IS looking within. Still…I’m sure that if I just looked IN first, things would go faster. Martin is right- it’s not being right…it’s growing in what’s right. It’s in what we do. Not what we wish others would do. It’s always and without exception, about our part in things. There’s no escape. It’s not even about us anymore…it’s about me…and how I connect to you.
I don’t know where I go from here. All I know is that when you’ve lived your life as a narcissistic victim, making everything all about “ME”, it’s hard to break those habits and become a student of reflective empathy. It’s still about you because you are all about the whole. I learn the same lesson a hundred different ways…it’s frustrating. I imagine God calls it flexible.