Another challenge from the Daily Post. I accept.
No half-hearted resolutions composed of shoulds or maybes, but true resolves. Hmm. Initially, this challenge just left me cold. This once a year thing has always puzzled me. If something concerns me enough that I need to do something about it, why wait until this day? Hours went by with that challenge nibbling on the sidelines. I refused to read the posts, so I wouldn’t be tempted. I would read ’em later. And, somewhere in the corners of my mind, an idea started marching down the hallways of my brain. I always picture the interior of my mind as a neatly organized building with hallways and doors – some open, some closed. Some of those doors open onto estates, some cluttered closets, and, of course, there’s the prison sector.
WARNING – WARNING – WARNING
– rabbit hole ahead –
WARNING – WARNING – WARNING
Many years ago, maybe back in the late ’80s, I realized nobody, but nobody was as critical and judgmental of me as me. My interior critic was a nasty piece of work. I would never talk to someone else the way I spoke to myself. The more I considered it, the more I realized something needed to be done. This Critic claimed to be there for my higher good. If I had done something well, the Critic raised the bar – “So, what have you done for us lately?” And, God help me if I had failed. It could take years to let go of whatever perceived wrong I had done or mistakes I had made. And, mind, this doesn’t account for all the other critics that hang out in the Keep Her in Line Bar. Whew, it’s crowded at Happy Hour, which usually falls on a Saturday a.m. when I’ve time to hear them all gossiping and swapping memories.
I did feel it was good to have a part of me that called for better – do better, dream bigger, be kinder, be more diligent, more disciplined. And yet, that is not the same as the lash of the inner critic. From a dramatic standpoint, my Critic had a cat of nine tails. Told you it was a nasty piece of work. So, what to do? Something had to be done. The Critic was way out of control. For the record, I refer to it as a him. Nothing against men, it’s just that Emotions is a she, Mental a he, Physical and my Soul were sort of neutral. Yep, I told you I believe in order out of chaos, organization, filing cabinets… good, clean manila folders tidily labeled.
So, what if I issued a Writ of Arrest? What if I sent my interior Military Police (MPs) to arrest the Critic? What then? Where would we put him? I knew from experience he was an escape artist, always popping up at the worst times, too. It had to be a bit surreptitious, along the lines of calling in the SWAT team leaders to handle a potential hostage crisis with me as the hostage…. Okay. I got settled, closed my eyes, breathe in, breathe out…. getting quieter, calmer, more centered, breathe in, breathe out…
I gave the order and the MPs and SWAT team members flitted, jumped leap-frog from door to door, turning left, right, left again, an endless series of corridors – jeez! For such a loud creature, he sure knew how to hide. Then my defenders found him. He laughed when they presented the Writ of Arrest. “Like you could do without me!” An MP on either side of him, towering over hm – surprisingly short for such a loud creature – picked the Critic up and began to frog march him back down the corridors. SWAT team members in front and behind. The Critic finally began to believe it as they came to part of the interior never visited before. “What is that?” He demanded. He faced a door of huge, strong dimensions, very heavily weighted as the door began to swing open and the Critic saw the long area opening up in front of him – bare bulbs burning from the ceiling, cells on each side, some with bars and some with only a slat for observation. When he started struggling, the MPs just picked him up and moved forward. They tossed him in, locked the door, and shut the slat on all his threats. The MPs turned on their heels and marched to the door, closed it, locked it, and kept going.
And, it worked. Really. Well, for the most part. He does get out every once in a while, but we find him and lock him back up again.
ALL CLEAR – BACK TO THE PURPOSE OF THIS POST –
BE IT RESOLVED: I resolve to notice the good. I further resolve I will write about the good. Does this turn me into a goody-goody-two-shoes? Shrug, maybe. You’re talking to a woman who has studied emergency management and terrorists for over 10 years. And, I do mean studied. Intensely – face first, over my head, down into the dregs and up for air. And before that, 20 plus years of working, living, drinking and sleeping with attorneys. Okay, I was married to an attorney, so I can say that without blushing. I know how to live with conflict. I have munched conflict for breakfast. If everything begins with a thought, every thing that eventually materializes, then I choose to spend time reflecting on the good, noticing the good, understanding the good. Think that is namby-pamby? Hah! Try it. I double-dog dare you.
Being positive takes commitment, it takes resolve. Not blinders, not rose-colored glasses. That view doesn’t withstand the tests of time. What does withstand the test of time is when you look back and realize all those shitty days had a purpose to them. Maybe they shook you to the core of your soul. Maybe they even burned your soul. But you didn’t die, did you? You’re still here. You can choose to resist the temptation to see yourself as a victim. You can look and think about what that experience did for you. Will you see it right away? Hardly ever. But, honestly, listening to people still bemoaning an event that happened 20 years ago, really? Really? You are allowing someone or something to hold you trapped like a fly in amber. Am I saying you should not grieve? Hell no. Grieve, rage against the bad, rage against the hurt and pain. And then leave it there. This is now, that was then.
Several years ago, I actually found myself in a pissing contest with a friend about which of us had suffered more. How mortifying to reflect on that! She had said there was no way I could understand her pain. So, I took her up on the challenge and explained a couple of past things that had happened. She was dumbfounded, but not silenced. “But why didn’t you tell me?” Well, really, why should I? Who wants to revisit pain? That was then, this was now. But I had succumbed. I had given in and bathed in the bad old wounds. I learned something that day. Let ’em win. Let them have the worst day. Let them win victim of the year. It is not for me. In truth, there are people who have had it much worse than I ever have. And some have wallowed in the pain and still are. But there are those wonderful survivors who live to tell the tale that the bad guys did not win. I RESOLVE to be one of those.
I RESOLVE to write of my appreciation of those who have shared time with me, friendship with me, who have made my life richer for their very existence. People who were there in the good times as well as the bad. People who taught me how to live well. People who became family and family who became friends. I am a very wealthy woman in the only coin of the realm that matters. I have stories. Yes, you may well tremble, but here’s the thing. There are people out in this world who haven’t heard those stories yet. I stumbled on a neat little gizmo that tracks who is reading this blog. And you know what? It’s been less than a month and here’s the list as of today: my readers are from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Malaysia, Estonia, South Africa, Switzerland…. wow! I never saw that one coming!