Lately that that tape has been playing in my head, you know the one (Doctor, everything’ll be all right … sorry, reflex) – the one loaded with every negative, bad, mean thing that anyone ever said to me? I do wish we could find a way to reverse human nature so that the stickiest parts of our brains were the ones that have been influenced positively and have the very best moments of our lives permanently attached and could be presented, ad nauseam, live and in technicolor. Someone find me a team of scientists to get right on that.
My tape has such awesome moments as that thing an ex said long after he broke up with me that I think he honestly thought was a compliment but was actually super mean, the time those boys asked my friend why she brought her cow to the pool with her (moo.), those things that a couple of people said when I broke up with them (point accomplished, apparently), the words a boss said instead of “thank you” after I busted my ass for 16 hours doing the jobs of 3 people on a moment’s notice at one of the hardest times in my life personally, the lies of the person who one-night stand-ed me (and hello, truth would have been TOTALLY fine, you sorry ass coward – I one-night standed someone and had the balls to say so, chickenshit), the sneering condescendence of a certain teacher when I couldn’t understand something and asked for help … No need to go on here because I’m sure everyone has their own tape of ickitude that gets plenty of play at times.
So how do you deal with yours?
I’ve made multiple decrees in the past along the lines of I’m not going to take it anymore, I’m going to live the life I want to live, No one can hold me back but me, etc., and I do still believe in all that. Previously, when I’ve made what feels like yet another decree, I’ve felt like I failed on the ones before. Now feeling, I don’t know, shifted again since my last one, I realize that it isn’t failure; it’s maintenance. Everything in life needs maintenance. No one is magically cured of their misgivings, regrets, or painful moments, and “finding yourself” the first time (or the third or the tenth) doesn’t make it a guaranteed lifelong change. Once you figure yourself out, it takes maintenance to remind yourself who you really are and to constantly update the file because of course we will still change along the way. So I guess when the tape starts playing is a good indicator to stop and reevaluate because something in my life isn’t playing out in a way that is true to who I am or who I want to be. If those prompts are coming up that press play on that sucker, then I’m letting something happen that is making me feel bad about myself.
Damn, that was kinda deep. And stuff.
So now I guess it’s a matter of figuring out what it is. For me, right now, there are a couple of things.
[ed. note: This writing was started a few days ago. The original text is in italics. Today’s update follows.]
The first is huge and utterly beyond my control. It’s worth waiting through, but not something I can do a damn thing about. That’s a tough one because it isn’t something that I’m remotely willing to walk away from and yet I still need to find something that I can do personally that will bring me some sense of relief.” A few days later and I’ve been made painfully aware that my thought process was very, very wrong. Waiting is not an option available to me, so I can only progress to maintenance of my self and soul.
The second problem is also something that I don’t want to walk away from, but definitely need to change the parameters of and I’m mostly at a loss on how to do that. I’ve found a lead on something that I hope will help, and I have ideas of how I want things to look in the end. Now it’s a matter of getting there. I think I took a step today, but I’ll have to wait a few days to see if it pans out. If not, then it’s time to reevaluate the strategy again. Still in the waiting-ish stage on this one, but I’ve taken more steps and am feeling a little stronger in my choices that they may actually work out as intended. My perceptions have had to change just a bit because of changes to problem #1, but things still look positive on #2. That is a very, very good thing.
Third, I need a freakin’ hobby. I’d like it to be something that gets me outside and moving but is something I’d enjoy and doesn’t put me in a position to feel unsafe. Dave Barry said that, “There is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness.” His context was great, but taken for my context, he’s right in a different way. Not having hobbies lends itself to mental illness because you’re not doing things that fill you back up after you spend day after day giving yourself away. I need infusions of goodness and fun, simplicity and kindness, activity and well-earned rest. I need to be a better friend to myself.
I’m very hopeful that these steps of maintenance and updating will put my tape player back into the cobwebbed corners of my mind, covered in dust, where it belongs.