2016: The Year of Being Good at Being Bad
APRIL 5, 2016
2016, by all accounts, hasn’t been a great year for me.
Not to sound ungrateful, but I for real screwed a lot of things up this year.
I was really bad.
Here are some things I’m bad at:
I’m bad at self-discipline. I’m bad at marriage. I’m bad at getting up at a decent hour. I’m bad at feeding myself. I’m bad at driving and parking and remembering to get my oil changed. I’m bad at tact and empathy and all the things that make people likeable. And I’m really bad at public speaking. So bad, in fact, I got fired. (I’m not even going to try to make that sound less bad than it was).
But that’s a story for another time.
I’m so bad at so many things I’m surprised I don’t live on Self-Pity Island.
(It’s off the coast of Ego Bay)
But guys, I’ve gotten really good at being bad.
I’ve gotten used to it. I understand it and welcome it as a new friend. We’re both still a little guarded, badness and I. He doesn’t like how I talk about him, and I don’t care for the way he acts in public. But we are starting to understand one another.
Badness doesn’t’ have to be a suck hole, but more of an upward sloping grassy area. Soft and bouncy when you fall. Badness is welcoming and without expectation.
Bad is a problem well defined.
Bad is an opportunity.
Bad is a catalyst.
Bad is a reminder of how human we are.
Bad is a chance to learn. Without badness, without the upward sloping grassy area, we stand atop a mountain of our own making. Which let’s be honest, we’re pretty bad at making mountains.
“Badness is welcoming and without expectation.”
We can always move higher. Finding a new thing I’m bad at is a chance to move onward and upward.
When faced with something new or unfamiliar, I gaze upon it as a new challenge. And I learn. I ask for help. I ask the most basic ‘dumb’ questions. I use my resources. I Google it. I find a tutorial on Youtube.
For example, I was bad at getting myself in the mood for sexy time.
So, instead of just resigning to a life of mediocre sex, I asked a great deal of women in my life how they get themselves in the mood. And requested tactical answers. Super enlightening.
Ask yourself what you’re bad at. Then get good at being bad by finding your method to overcome. Mine is Google, 98% of the time.
And because I’ve gotten so damn good at being bad, I’ve learned more in 2016 than I expected.
And as new badness arrives, I can look back at all the things I’ve succesfully figured out and say confidently, “I can do this too.”
And what does being bad at being bad look like? It looks like the guy that won’t play games because he’s “bad at games.” Party pooper.
And being bad at being good looks like the know-it-all asshole who doesn’t have any friends.
And being good at being good looks like Jesus. Good look with that.
And if I hear one more person whine and say “I’m not creative!” I’ll shove a paintbrush up their butt. Creativity takes practice and you have to start at bad to get to good.
Same applies to smart, organized, or any other thing you’re bad at. Get over yourself, refuse to accept defeat, and get good at being bad.
JUNE 19, 2017
Subject: We keep running into each other
I hope it’s ok that I’m emailing you. It seems like I keep
running into you and I feel like it’s time I say something. I know you want your space, and I get that, but I have to get this off my chest.
Sarah, I am so sorry for the way I acted. I know I can’t
undo any of it, but I so desperately wish that I could. I promise if you give me the chance I can do better. I really can. But if you can’t forgive me, if you want to hate me forever, I would at least like to apologize for all the things I did wrong. Even if it means we never talk again.
I’m sorry for giving you the loneliest two years of your
life. I’m sorry I convinced you that “you’re the kind of girl that only has guy friends.” I’m sorry I taught you to fear women. I’m sorry I taught you they weren’t too be trusted. Because I see now, especially watching how you’ve changed, that girlfriends are awesome. Like so awesome. I can see how happy you are and I regret so much that I kept that from you.
I know it’s not an excuse, but I truly didn’t know any better. I really thought being the most independent was the only way to protect myself. I’d been hurt so many times by females, I didn’t think they could be trusted. I thought becoming impressive would bring friends into my life. Turns out, girls love to be needed and don’t care for huge egos. Go figure.
And on the note of loneliness, and I hate to even bring this up, it’s so embarrassing…but I’m sorry for the way I used men. Or boys, they’re probably more like boys. They haven’t even reached an age where they can begin to understand woman and I used them like toys. The way I collected them…the way I led them on and begged for commitment, then walked away when things got too real…that really sucked. No one deserves that. I know its my daddy issues at play, but like, that was so shitty. I hurt so many guys you cared about. And I’m sorry.
I wish I could go back and undo it, but I don’t know if I would act any differently. It felt like I was protecting myself…and you. It’s always you I’ve cared about. I know it’s hard to believe, but that’s really why I did the things I did. You’d been rejected before; I just didn’t want that to happen again. If I kept distance, the danger felt manageable. But it wasn’t.
I’m sorry you felt so worthless. That was me again. It looks
like you’re doing well now, you seem happy. It looks like you’ve gained some
weight, which would drive me crazy, but it looks like you don’t even care. I
can’t imagine how great that feels. And your hair. I could literally never pull
And I heard you got married!! Congrats!! Was it scary? You
used to be so scared you’d never find anyone who would want to deal with you. I don’t think anyone will ever want to deal with me. I’m too much of a hot mess. But you seem to have it together.
I’d love to get together sometime. But again, I understand
if you hate me. I did a lot of crappy things. I wish I would have known better.
I really do. Because then maybe things would have turned out better for me. And for you.
I hope I didn’t completely ruin your life.
Subject: RE: We keep running into each other
Wow, I never expected to hear from you again! I’m not mad or anything, just surprised. It seems like a million years since we’ve talked. It’s funny how life brings people back together. One day you’re just walking the dog and your past pops right up haha.
I’m so sorry that you think I hate you. I mean, I’m not super happy about how things ended, but I would never say I hate you. Sarah, you were doing the best you could. You really were. And you definitely didn’t ruin my life. If you hadn’t been such a hot mess running around with boys, you would have never introduced me to my husband. Yeah, we met smoking cigars at a Super 8 Motel. Super classy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
And I know your need for attention wasn’t because you were self-absorbed. I mean, you were a little self-absorbed, but I think we all are. But you weren’t trying to be. You’d been cheated on, abused, and neglected for a long time. I think most would feel the same way. You didn’t feel worthy of affection or love. You never felt safe to be vulnerable. And who could blame you? Everyone you ever opened up to was not prepared to love you.
And yes, I have gained weight, lol, I’m not surprised you noticed. You always worried about that nonsense. I can imagine it was super exhausting. Life got so much easier when I just let my body be what it wanted. And I’ve never felt SEXIER. Like really. I feel like a total babe and I’m all squishy and pale. I’m like a European Princess. That fairest of them all. You should try it out. Just let your body do what feels good. Except for drugs. That will only feel good for a little bit.
I’m really happy you reached out. I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, about how sad you always were. You had more energy that anyone should ever possess, but I know that was just a front. And also, can we just talk about how great you were at being a fitness instructor??? Like seriously, you worked so hard at that, you never gave yourself enough credit.
More than anything, I truly truly forgive you. From the bottom of my heart, you are forgiven. You’ve already shown how much you can change. You’ve come so far and I have a feeling you will continue to grow. And whether or not you find a man who can appreciate you, I appreciate you. And you should appreciate you too. Because once you see yourself as the imperfect but divine being that you are, you will give others the chance to appreciate you.
And please open up. There are a lot of people who are going to need your help.
I know you think you’ve failed, but I don’t see it that way. Yeah, I’m still dealing with some of the crap we went through together, and sometimes some of the hurts come back. But you taught me so much and in such a real way.
I understand God now. I think. Well, as much as I can right now. And if you hadn’t dragged my butt to church so many times (against my will, I might add) I for sure wouldn’t be married to such a bad-ass God fearing man. And my friends wouldn’t be near as cool. Even if you didn’t understand why, you always encouraged me to seek Christ. Even when you didn’t understand what the Bible was telling you, you still encouraged me to read it.
Even when your world felt dark, you protected me. Even when you were so incredibly scared, you fought for me. When you faced the precipice of life, when you dangled your feet over the edge and wondered if it was worth it, you chose to be with me. And I love you for that.
I’d love to talk more, are you free to get coffee sometime? Oh yeah! I like coffee now. Huge. Game changer.
And Again, I Weave: Reflections on a Mind Disrupted
DEC 15, 2016
We lay upon a beautiful carpet. A rug woven from the hands of those who love us. We coo and smile and wriggle our toes. We fight to sit so we can begin to explore the colorful ground underfoot.
With time, all clumsy fingers and squinted eyes, we yearn to create our own carpet. Our own rug to stand upon. We gather scraps of fabric and bits of thread here and there. The taller ones help our unskilled hands to weave. We look to the patterns below and around, mimicking what we see to be beautiful.
With time and effort and sweat, we are able to stand upon our newly woven rug. Familiar and soft, we feel safe. Proud of what we have created. It is our own and it is good.
Years pass, and we add new fabric, new thread, and new textures. Sometimes vibrant cloth gives way to unexpected grays. On occasion our hands bleed from the roughness of the cloth. And yet we continue to weave. Forming patterns we recognize and new patterns of our own creation.
And we sigh with satisfaction as our carpet becomes large enough to support ourselves, and the ones we love.
And yet, after years of toil and loving diligence, my rug unraveled. Knots slipped and gave way.
And I fell. Hard and quick, I tumbled to the ground.
With an aching head I gaze at the world from a new angle. Upside down, I begin to see the truth of what I created. What I’d hidden. What the patterns look like from below.
My world, my foundation, was wrong. From underneath, the patterns aren’t beautiful, but broken, jagged, and knotted. From below, holes had begun to wear away. The snug ties had lost their grip.
But I begin to weave again.
A new carpet must be created. A better one, stronger and more correct than the first. Only a few threads from before are worth salvaging. I must fine the new.
Fighting the urge to weave familiar patterns, I create. With my head throbbing as a reminder of past faults, I shape.
I weave, weave, weave, looking to higher places for inspiration. Desperate that this rug will hold. That this rug will support me.
And with shaky legs, I stand. While not as lovely, this rug is studier than the one that came before. The stronger fabric is rough, but my weaving has made the fibers tender.
With calloused hands, I wait.
I wait for the fall.
Will it work? Will it stand? Will my work prove to be enough?
But it won’t. And I know that now.
There is always a layer beneath what I can feel. Below what I can understand. There are lies at play I can not yet see. Figures I did not know guided my hands. I am not my own and I am not safe.
For at any moment, the fabric below will give way. I will discover a new fault in my work. A deadly fault that causes pain.
I will fall.
And yet, again I will weave.