Ugh. I hate becoming accountable for my actions. But this is necessary for true growth.
No but I seriously hate it. Seriously!!!
Also it can get confusing. Sometimes we can cause more harm than good. Sometimes the lines are blurred. Sometimes harm was done to us first, or at least, so it seemed, right?
In AA, whose meetings I don’t attend for numerous reasons (shy, scared, they’re an hour away on Friday nights in a second language, stigma, and I will never, never never in a million years say “hi I’m so and so and I’m an alcoholic” — WTF is “anonymous” or life-affirming about that?! Oh right I guess it’s about accountability. So confusing. Hmmm, million years… now, am I going to have to become accountable for that statement, one day? Fuck.
(I have decided to do some swearing on my blog. Or have I already? Terrible memory. Not sure. Anyway, I swear on my other blog so why not? well I was trying to clean up my act in more ways than one, that’s why. Either way, Primrose has inspired me to new heights of prim-not-proper freedom. she is one of the goodest (yes goodest!) things I’ve seen on the internets in quite some time, always the lady, always the prim but rockin’ it lady, sort of like if Jane Austen went around saving people on a Harley at night. (with a front basket filled with flowers of course.) (oh and home-made bottles of “lemon sherbet with chilled green tea, smacked mint (?!)” (smacked mint!)))
wow the most insane thing just happened there. [linguistic/literary nerd-alert!!:] first of all, I allowed myself to imitate primrose’s non-capitalized-sentence style of writing. (which, let’s face it, don’t we all use in stream of-thought journalling? No. not me. I use a mix. and I too use deliberate non-capitalizing, sometimes, especially on my other blog; in other words, leaving it as I wrote it when I wrote it — deliberately. But what I love love love is Primrose’s non-sentence-capitalizing *consistency.* “If I am as non-sentence-capitalizing-consistent as Primrose, I just might make it to 2000 days of sobriety, like her.” Is that what my subconscious is thinking? Why can’t I be as good and cool and awesome as Primrose? funny how the mind works.)
and I for some reason envisioned lemon sorbet as the treat of choice for Primrose. (That’s not the amazing thing, that’s the thing that led to the amazing thing. How anyone could carry lemon sorbet around on a Harley at night while saving people and without it turning to sticky juice is beyond me. but I’m sure Primrose could do it…. anyway.)
Then I thought, “oh hang on, I’ll just do a quick search on primrose’s site for ‘sorbet,’ see if i’m right.” Well, I don’t know if I’m right about it being the right mascot drink/treat of choice for her, but she does have an entry with sorbet — and of course, she has to include smacked mint. (SMACKED MINT!!!! I soooooo love smacked mint. and smacked basil, and smacked rosemary. try it sometime, it’s amazing… no. don’t smack the herbs. you only have to brush them gently…. #herbsintheflowergarden #nosexualinnuendohere)
The amazing thing is that in that post there is this mention of Kristin Neff. And what Kristin Neff talks about is:
The Space Between Self-Esteem and Self Compassion
And, well, all this blog-side-tracking happens in the space of seconds. But basically Kristin Neff’s talk, of which I’ve only watched the first eight minutes so that I could finish writing this post, was partly based on what she’d learned at a Buddhist meditation group when she was feeling particularly low about herself after a divorce, and while working on attaining her Phd. The woman doing the meditations taught the class how to be more compassionate towards themselves. Not just others but themselves.
This is what the monks and nuns were also teaching at the buddhist retreat I went to with my kids.
why do I have to keep mentioning “with my kids”?! it’s because I’m not compassionate toward myself. I do not let myself go away from them on retreats and such, even now that we can afford it. even if my husband has time off work, to look after said kids. I feel I don’t deserve it, if every mother in the world can’t do that too. how messed up is that? how would any of us progress in life if we only allowed ourselves to do what others could do?
don’t get me wrong. It’s also motivated by genuine caring for my kids — I had to drag them there, by the way (a whole week’s time way from screens?!? no thank you they said. or rather wailed and sighed and huffed and stomped. repeatedly).
and also motivated by genuine caring for the world (because they will grow up into adults. and if I can get them steeped for even one week per year in mindfulness training, who knows, it might sink in, and the world might be a slightly better place for it).
and even more important than that to me, is that they themselves might have some amazing resources they could call upon when they are having hard times in their lives. and then they perhaps could pass those on to anyone they know or care about. They say we need to hear things at least seven times before we absorb them. (I’ve tried to find out who exactly “They” is, in this case, but it’s basically a vague history of marketing gurus as far as I — and apparently someone named Andy Brice — can tell.) (Andy Brice is one badass software-developing “UK-based” dude, btw, judging by the last line in his “about” page:
Rock it Andy Brice!!! I hope to be as bad-ass accountable as you, one day. full name and email address, just after that — seriously awesome.)
Point being, it’s a fine balance for my self perception. I have to acknowledge that my reasons for bringing the kids is mixed. a) I wanted to do this retreat for me. b) I felt guilty for having the resources to do such a self-compassionate thing when others can’t. c) I want my kids at least, to have equal opportunities to learn what I learn. d) I want to feel better about myself for taking what I perceive to be a luxury.
All that might be fine and good — the ethical roots of not my bringing my kids or not bringing them, that is — for the purposes of this thought-train at least.
The current ethical problem for me is, why do I keep mentioning my kids’ presence at the retreat? even when it’s not necessary? well partly to give context to anyone who doesn’t know me (i.e. that being everyone, because “no-one ever knows or loves another.” (The Cure. Love of my angsty teenage youth.) But the bad thing is it also might mean I’m trying to place myself above other mothers who do go away from their kids to get some rest and respite and renewal.
If so then this is my insidious, subconscious way of attempting to gain self esteem, which is exactly what Kristin Neff talks about in the talk. It’s a particularly North American disease. In North America we one-up by poor-me-ing ourselves. whoever had/has it toughest wins. Particularly if you’ve gained any success.
That’s why in England I did not fit in. In England one-upping is done through very subtle clueing as to your money position and your connections and your ancestry. Nothing is talked about overtly — in fact, the more subtly you can drop small hints and clues without giving anything real away, the more Downton Abby you will seem. (of course, the “lower class” are just as snobbish toward the upper class.
And if you don’t fit in either class, i.e. you’re an over-dental-worked gal from suburban west-coast Canader, for example, wide-smiling and jabbering away your life story, philosophies and dress deals to all and sundry, well, you simply don’t fit in. period. except into some secretly-labelled “colonies” class, perhaps. (God forbid you mention where you bought something and how much it was on sale, if someone compliments you on your dress btw. No matter how genuinely helpful or friendly or compliment-deflecting you’re trying to be. A lot of money should be used, IF it’s to be used at all, i.e. more money not *less* money; otherwise, no money, and either way it should never be mentioned. Instead, drop hints as to how many stuffy charities you’ve slaved away for, so that the staff members of said charities can buy nice t-shirts for themselves and get photographed next to the poor folks. So much ado about nothing…)
yikes. Some resentment issues there. Moving on…
my god do I ever digress. welcome to my mind.
my point was accountability. I need to become more accountable for my actions. I also need to be compassionate towards myself. then maybe I can become more compassionate towards others. like towards snobs at the school gate. (stop calling them snobs!!!) (by the way “they” and “them” don’t exist. “we’re” all individuals. I met some beautiful individuals there. just took a very long time ’till they trusted me and my gaudy front teeth (not my fault! dentists basically take charge of our lives from birth, over there!) enough to open up. the english may look like tight buds, but in fact they’re more like sunflowers once you get to know them.)
(uh-oh… back to “them” again…)
the place where I have least compassion for myself is when I am not compassionate towards others. Doesn’t that sound noble? Well. It’s not true. The place where I have least compassion for myself is when I’ve been least compassionate towards myself.
yesterday in that post, I ended so badly. I slagged both my husband AND myself in so-doing.
It bothered me as soon as I’d hit publish. Actually, it bothered me *as I’d typed it.*
My husband is allowed (by the Universe) to enjoy beer. even vocally, in front of an alcohol-free beginner. (freedom of speech – and general life enjoyment.) He’s the one, yesterday, who worked so hard with the kids and in the household. While I sat here, cleaning up the messy drafts folder of my blog.
(“but the blog is helping people!” you say? what? if that’s true tell me more about my eyes. I need to hear it. yes I’m a horrible sucker for likes. But mostly of all, I believe that this blog is helping three people: me, myself and I. #TruthTime #ThereIsNoSuchThingAsAltruism #SymbioticLoveIsQueen)
I saw a much larger number of views than likes come in for that post yesterday (well I say “much” but thank heavens my numbers are still small — we’re talking 9 views, 3 likes (thank you, you 3, not sure if you want to be named; you are very very kind souls — and now I will love all three of you forever ;)). But I know what that means. it means that I’ve hit the cringe-nerve.
When this happens (low likes-to-views ratio) I will go back and read the post and judge myself based on what I find. Is there anything that makes me cringe?
yes, for me it’s nearly ALWAYS when I am not compassionate towards others, yes, that is true, but it’s also when I’m not compassionate towards myself.
The joys of having a tiny readership (wonderfully — and deeply, deeply scarily — growing bigger every day! grateful for each of you who is real!) is that you can make mistakes and screw up and not many people will notice or care.
It’s important to give yourself space to create and make mistakes. and forgive yourself when you make them. and even correct them without mention, when that is warranted (i.e. let’s not waste people’s time over-mentioning things too much. that’s just ego and fear of being wrong coming through again. notes to self. but once again… #finebalance. sigh).
But here’s the thing. To learn from the mistakes in a big big way you have to own up to them in a big big way. There is no real delete key in life. There is no real “set to private” key, in life. What was said was said and what was done was done.
Instead of just deleting it without a trace, in which case only 9 people might care (or more likely, not care), I want to apologize to the universe for having slagged someone I care about like that. I also want to apologize to myself, for not talking like myself.
Sometimes I put words into my own mouth that I imagine others thinking or saying, or that I imagine they think would sound funny or cool. It’s a weird protective device that completely backfires. Anyone who has ever written for or to an audience will know that the single most difficult thing to do is to get past that head full of critics, gawkers, laughers and pointers and worse.
After all, most of us have lived a little. Most of us have at least experienced life in the schoolyards. We know what *they* will say. *They* being everyone from the pervy guy/girl down the street (not judging, just saying), the hero on the school yard (saving the picked-on ones), to the teacher at the head of the class.
So we try to be more right and more clever by preempting them all.
BUT IT NEVER FUCKING WORKS.
I have got to start loving myself. My effing life depends upon it.
To love myself, I have to talk like myself. My true real self. Not someone else.
I am me. Wherever I am at in this moment. God help me.
Tree, I fucking love you so much. Thank you for being here now. I finally feel you.
It’s been a while…
I just started re-reading this before hitting publish (re-reading *before* hitting publish? instead of after? what a novel fucking idea!) and realized I never finished my sentence about AA. Here goes.
In AA, whose meetings I don’t attend for numerous reasons, but whose book someone finally told me about just over one year ago (thank you Scotty KA from AAonline.net) (and thanks DuckDuckGo which brought me to that site, when I sadly, desperately typed in search keywords for AA online, one dark morning) — and AA whose book I absolutely, desperately feel in love with, thanks to the brilliant, funny, sad, intelligent, artistic and incredibly honest minds that wrote it, particularly the amazing Bill W. — who by the way advocates anonymity for a number of reasons, in the very first pages of the book — in AA, they have the fifth step, which is,
“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.”
This blog is my attempt to do that. You are the other human being.
And together, I figure, we are the Tree.
p.s. I can’t really communicate to you how nerve-racking it is for me to hit publish on posts like these. I might have to stop, just to get my forehead to feel relaxed again. (Or set up a “Buy-Me-Some-Botox” GoFundMe for this blog…. yes I’m serious. Blogging is killing my looks.) 🤡☠️🤖
primose’s smacked mint post: [ttps://takinganewpath.wordpress.com/2015/12/28/delicious-in-december-the-lost-valentino/]