It’s good….I think. At least it feels like it’s a better place to be.
I’m talking about the process of letting go.
For years I couldn’t. I kept old, crumbled sepia toned memories close, mainly as a means of deflecting the possible creation of new ones. I can’t for the life of me figure out why I did that, especially when the memories I thought were so dear, actually…in a word….sucked.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, I used to “need” to be liked. No, I needed to be loved by everyone at all times. I’ve said this before and it warrants repeating, when I was either on TV or the radio, I could get 100 emails and 99 of them would be so complimentary the computer would blush…but there was that one; that one email or fax that someone sent. This person went to great lengths to make sure I knew I failed miserably at whatever I was trying to do.
I would obsess over that one communique and allow it to negate the 99 kind, flowery, complimentary ones I received. My first reaction was to contact the emailer and try to change his or her opinion. But really, that was me attempting to fix me, but I never actually did that. I always refrained. In retrospect, I’m glad I did, but that’s NOT to say these missives didn’t eat at me.
When I first started this blog, I received horrible comments, left mostly by the hit and run cowards who love to inflict pain and wound, then move on to their next victim before moving on to their next. These are the ‘serial assholes”. I’ve decided these pathetic colostomy bags of with the ability to procreate are necessary to le structure humana; vital components of the obstacle course that is life.
But this realization took a while to formulate. At first, I would actually sit here at my desk and argue with this idiots. Oh, I got in some good zingers, but so did they. Then it became futile; a stalemate of insults. Still, what they said hothered me, or rather, I allowed it to bother me, despite the fact that they had NO idea who I was or what I was all about. But that didn’t matter; EVERYONE is SUPPOSED to love me without question because that’s what I needed so desperately.
Then something happened last summer. I was deceived by someone whom I once thought I cared for a great deal; someone to whom I’d given a great deal, but who could only give me heartache in return. Turns out he was a sociopath and incapable of demonstrating any beneficence whatsoever. I mourned this lost and he made it clear he didn’t want me to exercise an exit strategy from his life, so like the needy idiot I was, I obliged for a while….
Then something happened; something changed. It clicked. I snapped. It left…and so did I.
Suddenly, I didn’t need that kind of emotional backing anymore. I literally woke up that day and everything was different. I became less gullible; far less needy and I realized the need to be loved and approved of at all times, was so damn much responsibility. As a result, one could only revel in diminished returns. That’s not fulfilling. Why was I doing that to myself?
So, I changed without even being aware I was and really, I suppose that’s the easiest kind of change–to do it subsconsiously. When your mind changes you, the rest will follow. Now, when I get an extremely insulting comment here on the blog, I delete it. When someone attacks me verbally, I apologize if warranted; I fight back when needed.
I spent almost 18-months in abject unemployment, but this new-found acuity kept me from seeking the temporar view from the ledges of the upper floors of very tall skyscrapers. I stopped personalizing or internalizing every rejection email. Oh sure I got scared and depressed when what little money I had hemorrhaged out of my bank account like massive amounts of blood from the skinned knee of one of Russia’s pasty Romanov kids, but I didn’t allow myself to punish myself for it.
I knew I had done my part. I applied for jobs left and right; I fulfilled my part of this unspoken deal I unwittingly made with fate, so I knew not to take it personally. But five years ago however, that wouldn’t have been the case. I would have blamed myself for being _______ (fill in the blank with any derogatory adjective) and endured horrific fits of self loathing.
So, then I pose this question to you, all you Einsteins out there: what am I going through? Is this this elusive insight that so many contemporary sages talk about and made money by writing about? Have I, as I rapidly approach the 51st year of walking upright on this mortal coil, finally started growing up?
On second thought, don’t bother answering. Seriously, don’t. That question has since become a rhetorical one in the time it’s taken me to reread this post. The reality is this: I just don’t find myself that amusing anymore. Yep, maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m utterly bored with myself.
If I could, I’d separate my selves and become two entities. I’d look at myself, probably make fun of my shoes, my visible panty lines and then take a cue from the older Crane brother and say to myself, “Laurie, did you know that Cornell University possesses one of the most powerful pieces of scientific equipment ever invented? It’s true. It’s the Tunneling Electron Microscope. Now, this microscope is so powerful that when it fires electrons you can actually see images of the atom, those infinitesimally minute building blocks of our universe. And we all know that atoms are still almost invisible….even to the assisted eye. Now Laurie, if I were using that microscope right now, I still wouldn’t be able to locate my interest in ANY of your self- involved problems.”
I would stand there, take it and simply respond with, “And I wouldn’t blame you.”