Stop Kicking The Teeth

fish changes

a fish jumps into a new bowl with reeds

***edited for being insanely long***

I am a girl who finishes things.  I wasn’t always.  I was flighty and flaky and a little unreliable.  I was mercurial, changing, watery.  I made promises and couldn’t keep them.  I changed my mind.  I went another direction.  I moved and tried this and abandoned it for that.  I had a million jobs.  I took on hobbies and then all but abandoned them.  I was a construction worker, waitress, flower shop clerk, retail, business sales, green house, marketer, home health aid, gas station worker, video clerk, secretary, data entry person, a temp.

Trouble is.. I hurt people.  I broke hearts.  I didn’t do the things I wanted to do and said I’d do.  I changed that about me and I discovered I was tenacious.  I joined the Army and you don’t just leave the Army.  I was somehow sent to an Army school I didn’t actually qualify for.  So I ended up ill-prepared at a school that graduated 30% of it’s enrollees.  EVERYONE there was more qualified.  Most of them had degrees, and a few had more than one.  Maybe some of the others were fuck-ups too, but they were all more qualified, and 60% of us would end up picking another career from a pool of careers the Army needed when we failed.

Some people gave up.  I’d never failed anything because I’d been smart enough to fluff through.  I had never actually tried hard at anything and here I was doing my damn-est and ending up barely making it.  I mean I was SCRAMBLING and studying every night, learning how to study.  I almost failed all of the written tests and aced the practicals and ended up eeking by.  That I barely made it when smarter and more educated people left every month was ONLY because I cared way too much.  Smart people gave up and picked other careers.  I was the gummy stuff stuck to the bottom of the pot and that was simply not an option.

a fish jumps from a crowded bowl to a larger bowl with only one fish in it

a fish jumps from a crowded bowl to a larger bowl with only one fish in it

I dug in my heels and I found out that I was pretty good at digging in my heels.  I discovered a tenacity.  I studied my ass off for that year of Army school and got help and graduated exactly center of my class.  I was never so proud of average.  And something changed in me.  I was a person who finished things.  I was a person that stuck.

I learned in life to make the best of things.  I’m a creative mother fucker.  My mind is powerful.  When I turn my mind to something it runs wild.  In classes where the teacher says “everybody take a few minutes and think of everything that comes to mind when I say the word ‘hot'” my mind cranks out a plethora of things that are sexy, spicy, warm, close, stolen, and popular.  The average person comes up with 30 things that are spicy or warm.  I come up with 192.

So.. these are things I LIKE about myself.  I like being creative and tenacious and I like my empathy too.  I do not however always like the applications of these “gifts”.  I tend to see the best in people, so when they hurt me or wrong me, I react and then I get to thinking about why they did it and try to see if from their view and then I think..

“well.. they didn’t mean to do it.  And I’m a jerk for reacting.  They were operating under this and with that and here are all these amazing things about them.  I’m not perfect either and expecting perfection is a recipe for unhappiness.  Forgiveness IS a value of mine.  I can understand and empathize and they are people I care about and worthy of my forgiveness.  Let’s let it go.  Let’s understand.  Let’s just move on and be happy.  Look at all the excellent things here”.

a fish jumps from a crowded bowl on the right back into a bowl on the left that is empty

a fish jumps from a crowded bowl on the right back into a bowl on the left that is empty

My creative mind is very very good at this.  And sometimes that’s a bad thing, because it makes me place myself in a position over and over to be hurt.  It’s foolish.  I’m not saying forgiveness is bad, but it can be badly applied.  Sometimes people with many fine characteristics aren’t good investments for my love and attention and time.  Sometimes people can’t be good partners or good friends.  It really is okay to say that even though a person is wonderful in all of these ways, that these other behaviors or traits aren’t good for me.  I’m allowed to say who is in my life and in what capacity.  I don’t know how I got the faulty idea that I couldn’t, but I have this idea that I was wrong to say the unacceptable is unacceptable.  I draw the line and then chip away at it thinking I’m being too harsh or not understanding or not seeing where the other person is at.  I think of all my mistakes and those who have loved me anyway and think, don’t I owe this to my friends and lovers?

NO!  No I don’t.  I don’t have to apologize for not wanting to be kicked in the teeth by people who have proven they will kick me in the teeth.  I don’t have to okay things that aren’t okay. It’s good to draw a line and to stand up for me, even at the detriment of you.  Yeah.. that’s right.  I matter too and I don’t owe you my pain to spare you yours.

Understand here that it’s not black and white.  I would never suggest no forgiveness and I think empathetic is a good thing to be.  I also have not blindly accepted everything.  I have drawn lines at times, but maybe not enough.  Empathy is a gift. We can work to understand people and not necessarily cosign bullshit.  It’s just a realization I’m making, that it’s time to work on this.  This is a character defect that isn’t serving me and I need to fix it.  Working on it…

fish changes 4

A fish perches at the edge of his bowl as other fish look up at him

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