Does freaking out all the time make one a freak?
Self-awareness can be a scary venture. We all try to bury or look away from those things we don’t like about ourselves. Yet, if we want to grow in goodness and grace, we must take the time to examine who we have become. If it’s something we put off, because we’re busy and reflection takes time and stillness, or because we’re afraid of what we might find, we will pay for it in our relationships. Too often, I’ve taken the train to destination unknown, all the while failing to note the scenery and I’ve ended up in Sorryville. It’s about being in the moment and it’s a matter of self-care. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis.
My husband is a role model for me in this. He has a brilliant mind. It works like a metronome; patient and persistent. He looks at himself, his work, and his relationships with a calm intensity and a practiced compassion. He chooses his words carefully. He thinks about how his decisions will affect others. He acts with purpose. When I ask him a question, I’ve learned I have to wait for his response. It’s worth the wait. I trust his judgment. Over the past 31 years, I’ve watched him become a confident, respected man and leader in the community.
As you know, if you’ve been hangin’ with me, I’m not wired this way. My mind is a lab rat’s maze, which is probably why I’m always getting lost (I’m taking the scenic tour). I tend to think and act with my gut. Decisions are made in a sprint or I scurry back and forth between the possibilities until I’m so muddled, I render myself useless. I’m also a blurt-er. Someone once said that I say what other people are thinking. This can be good and bad. I don’t have an inside voice. I’ll tell a stranger on the street that she looks beautiful. Flip the coin and I spout an oops that should’ve been torched in the twisted tunnels of my cortex. If I’m going for shock value, I’m okay with it, but there are times when my bluntness is insensitive.
Where my husband is controlled and methodical, I’m spontaneous and impulsive. I feel things quickly and deeply. When I find something funny, I often laugh until I cry and I cry easily. Worship, music, movies, special moments with family, reading a note from a loved one, all are precursors to tears and my children love to point and smile. I stay away from horror movies and purposely don’t watch the news, as their after effects reverberate for some time and my emotional equilibrium is tenuous at best.
I recall a moment in the past where I made a decision to check out, rather than dig in. I put more pressure on my horse of a husband and he already shoulders a heavy load. Afterward, he made the comment that I allow my feelings to rule me. I don’t want to be a diva. I want to be a home team player, but sometimes my feelings morph into a monster. I have to wrestle it for control, which is probably why, when I feel overwhelmed with anxiety or sadness, I retreat to my bed. Most of the time, I’m just too tired to pin the beast.
The cauldron of my emotions has produced some woeful decisions that have left a mark of sadness on those involved. I abhor the thought of hurting anyone. I’ve had to deliver more than my share of apologies, some too late. Thankfully, God continues to transform my heart giving me better control over my feelings and my tongue. My son brought an eraser home from school. It was the size of a brownie and imprinted with the words, “an eraser for big mistakes”. If it weren’t for my faith in the mercy and grace of a loving God, I would need a warehouse of those erasers.
A dear friend, someone whose had her own demons to overcome, recommended meditation and I have dabbled, but contemplative inertia is a challenge for me. I know I need to give my goodly mind a say in what my gut is conjuring up. I need to slow down and listen to both my head and my heart.
My writing has certainly helped me to reflect (I believe the term is “self-therapy”). I’ve had some criticism that my pieces are overly negative, because I’m too down on myself. I don’t think I’m being hard on myself. I like myself and I’m not afraid to tell you who I am, mistakes and all. We’re a society of masqueraders so intent on keeping are masks in place and following the choreography that we miss the delight of the dance. We miss out on deep, meaningful connection for the sake of security.
I’ve been told that people have laughed out loud reading my work. (I love to laugh. This makes me happy to know this.) I’ve also been told that my willingness to be vulnerable meant something to someone trudging a lonely road. I suppose, for some people who identify with me, I’m holding up a mirror that’s too painful to peer into.
As a teenager, the word scary was used to describe me by some teenage boys. I trust this title no longer fits, but I can live with it, only because I know I’m loved. I’m going to pick intently through the junk in my trunk in the hopes that, after confessing it to God and turning from it, my thinking about it, writing about it, and sharing it, will make me a more present, gentle, gracious person. I’m flawed, I tell you, flawed. I’m beautiful, I tell you, beautiful. I’m flawed and beautiful. And so are you.
Complete the experience. Listen to Downhere’s Forgive Yourself.
Posts come out every Monday morning, a poem every third Monday. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to receive notifications of my posts via email. Follow me on Instagram username: pollyeloquent. Thanks for reading. 🙂