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.
I Am Not a Good Person
DECEMBER 18, 2017
Early in 2017, I invited a person into my life. I really want to do right by this person; provide them with love and understanding. I genuinely believed I was doing the right thing. I was a good person after all.
It didn’t take long for this person to start sharing stories with me. Stories that honestly, sounded really evil. I would say these behaviors were up there with selling drugs to children. And interestingly enough, this person would end all of their stories with, “I mean, I’m still a good person.”
It totally threw me for a loop. How on earth could this person, this very very selfish person, consider themselves good?
I pondered on that for many months until this person’s behaviors were targeted at me. I felt unsafe, unloved, and disrespected. So….I had to cut off the relationships with this person.
(I know I’m being vague, and I’m very sorry, you know I normally like to lay it all out there)
Flash forward to today, December 2017. I’m exercising in my basement and naturally, paying very little attention to my form or the upsettingly dirty floor on which I was planking. Instead, I was fixated on this person-who-can-not-be-named. And how this person wants nothing to do with me. By all accounts (from this person) I genuinely suck for cutting them out. And as I wrestled with the hurt, I consoled myself with “Even though they don’t think so, I’m still a good person.”
Cue screeching noise.
But what if I’m not a good person? There are lots of people out there who do really terrible things. People leave their children, rob gas stations, and fail to use their turn signal. I’m sure these people would consider themselves “good.” At their core at least.
As I explore this concept of “good,” I’ve arrived at a few conclusions:
No one is inherently good. If we were, fighting our natural impulses would be a whole lot easier. In fact, if we were truly good, our natural impulses would be a lot less self-seeking and would hurt fewer people.
What we deem “good,” is highly subjective. It takes us back to the whole, “If a father steals of loaf of bread for his starving family, did he really commit a crime?” And the answer is still yes, by the way. But it isn’t easy to punish. This guy was just trying to do what he thought was good. It’s good to take care of your family. It’s good to protect yourself and others, but it’s not uncommon for your needs to overlap with another’s.
“I’m a good person,” creates a dangerous status-quo. If we do something shitty, and we console our guilty conscious by cooing, “I’m still a good person,” all we’re doing is training our brains to associate selfish behaviors with good behaviors. It doesn’t take long for those small transgression to compound into leaving your wife for another woman. You’re still “good” after all.
Republicans think they are good. Democrats think they’re good. Yet, somehow they hate each other for being evil. Someone explain that, please.
What do we get for being “good?” Really, nothing. We just create a respite from feeling like the self-serving assholes we are.
Ok so, let’s not travel much further into how “un-good,” we are.
“We can go back to our roots as a loved, worthy, and free human being.”
Instead, I want to replace good with worthy. Or loved. These are things bad decisions can’t take away from us. Let’s pause and really think about that. That can’t be taken away from us. I do believe we are all born with those qualities. Granted, that particular belief comes from a deeply rooted belief in Jesus Christ, but I’m sure we can all agree we are deserving of love.
In addition, we are all free. Free to make our own decisions and build our own lives. We can spend every day seeking out good behaviors and not beating ourselves up if we make a misstep. We can go back to our roots as a loved, worthy, and free human being.
We are worthy of love and free to choose it. But we’re also free to be jerks to everyone we meet. Still worthy of love and self-respect but still a jerk. Murderers, you are not good people, no matter how you try to reason it out. Drug dealers, I don’t care if you need the money, you aren’t making the world a better place. Eighth grade girl commenting on YouTube, you aren’t still a good person after tearing down a girl from school trying to make it big. Even after you throw a surprise party for a homeless man and his baby, I can guarantee you still aren’t good.
Worthy of love, absolutely. Good, hell no.
This person, who-shall-not-be-named, is still worthy of love. And is still free to choose love. But I am also free to choose the shit I will and will not take from others. So no, I’m not a “good,” person. I’m still seeking to protect myself in lieu of maintaining a toxic relationship.*
Inherently, we’re all pretty shitty, so let’s stop lying about it, wallowing in self-pity, or judging others because of it. We are, however, unshakably worthy, loved, and free. And I don’t know about you, but I’d choose that over “good” any day.
*Creating boundaries isn’t selfish, but it can seem so to the people running into them*
All the Reasons My Husband Didn’t Marry Me
DECEMBER 14, 2016
I know, I know. The headline makes little to no sense. But let me explain.
This morning, husband and I had a bit of a spat. E.g. he was mad over something I thought was dumb, and I was trying not to laugh, while he was kindly withholding anger I could see behind his eyes. But I digress.
As we were working through the complexities of how I didn’t switch out the laundry (therefore we had to rewash some towels..ahhh marriage), I said the single most insightful thing I think I’ve ever said to date. “Babe, you didn’t marry me for my attention to detail.”
And just like that, everything came crashing into perspective for about 5 minutes.
Before something else grabbed my attention.
But think about that. Husband and I married each other for a lot of habits, predispositions, and quirky proclivities, BUT after the wedding, we find ourselves wanting those other things we forgot to check off the list. Come with me as we explore all the things husband forgot to ask for during our vows.
1. Attention to detail
Lord, come quickly this is my achilles heel. I have zero attention to detail. Ten bucks says you’ve already found a grammatical or spelling error in the post. I just cant be bothered to pay attention. Recently, my lack of attention to detail cost us big. Like HUGE.
These are not the things for which he signed up. But the good news is, he forwent all the little things in exchange for something big.
I’m so ADVENTUROUS. Like
FURTHER UP AND FURTHER IN!
I normally finish off big fights with the
“I’m not scared of the unknown because I know the destination of my life.”
However, I have the strongest moral compass of anyone I know. I’m a little flighty on the small stuff, but I never, ever deviate from what I know to be true. I fight for justice and face confrontation
But I’d like some money now, please, thanks.
No, I am not a robot. Yes, I feel feelings and care about people. But overall, if someone else is crying, I won’t automatically cry along with them. If someone is broken into a million pieces, I just kinda sit there and look at them. Sometimes I can’t read a room. Sometimes I say inappropriate things. I struggle feeling what others are feeling.
Interestingly enough, I am capable of empathy, I just don’t find it particularly useful. It gets in the way. It honestly becomes rather selfish to make someone else’s feelings your problem. While it has its place in all relationships, it’s just a tool I don’t find myself using often. For some, it’s unsettling. Everyone in the room could be crying and I’m just like wow that’s sad.
And on the flip side, it makes me a fabulous friend in times of crisis. It makes me a fantastic wife and rock-solid confidant. When I don’t feel what you’re feeling, I’m free to think clearly and logically. I can watch you cry and use my headspace to sympathize, care for you, and find solutions without feeling burdened. So, you had a traumatic childhood with lots of abuse and have terrifying stories to tell? Let’s dig in, it won’t bother me. Cry your eyes out my friend, this is about your feelings
It’s a choose your own adventure sort of thing.
So I lean into my strengths while accommodating my weaknesses. If you want to rise up from a problem and kick some ass, let’s talk. If you want to try something new or scary, let’s roll bitch. And if you want to do all of the above right this very minute, even better.
So, to my dear husband, thank you for loving me and all the things that came along with the wedding ring. But realistically, I should be saying you’re welcome
So you are welcome for all this joy I bring into your life.