There is good reason that someone long ago said, “If you do not learn from the past, you are doomed to repeat it”. There are so many things I thought I had learned in the past, but for the most part I really just breezed past the grieving process and figured I would catch up to it someday. Instead, it caught up to me when I lost everything I thought I cared about. With all earthly distractions (like a job, a relationship, a home) removed, it is with newfound appreciation that I have welcomed learning some interesting lessons. Seeing as how everyone is singing Carols of Gratitude this time of year, I thought I would step up and chirp some positives of being a bona fide walking Christmas Country Song:
1.) I am unemployed. This has truly something worth trolling about! Not only was I let go from a company a year ago that bullies, berates, devalues, and dishonors their employees and clientele, it gave me some perspective about learning how to let go of something when things start to go south. Often times, I find myself hopeful that if I stick with something long enough, things will eventually work out. Instead, I learned that I needed to acknowledge that the owners are dysfunctional people, who think their shit doesn’t stink and whew Lordy, that place was worse than a dirty diaper that sat in the peak of the July sun and baked for a week in a half in the middle of the Okefenokee Swamp! Generally, after we experience traumatic events in life, we quickly have life to distract us and never really get the chance to move through a grieving process. No job=lots of free time. I have been able to use that time to go back to school, and also to go through the ENTIRE process (at least 20 times now, in fact) properly. Being distracted is easy – being able to work through the really gross parts of life and accept them is not so easy – it takes A LOT of courage to love yourself!
2.) I am single. Some might consider this a downside during the holidays, but I am delighted! You see, last Christmas, the lying, cheating, lazy, narcissistic prick of a boyfriend I was seeing at the time made me breakfast in bed and then said “it was time to rip the band-aid off of our relationship.” Now, I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure that the use of a post-it note would have been a kinder option. None the less, I do appreciate the Universe smacking the shit out of me and making me realize that while he has deluded himself (and some of you all) into thinking he is a good person, no one deserves to be lied to, cheated on repeatedly, told they are not good enough, made fun of, used, talked down to, and the list goes on and on……and oh, seriously? BIG RED TRUCK!!! Needless to say, I am overjoyed that I was finally woken up to the truth of the matter. It is better to see things as they are, rather than how we would like them to be….and involves quite a bit less suffering in the process. I was trying to change the ugly parts about someone else rather than love my own ugly parts. Although, I must admit, my ugly parts are pretty damn good company, especially when I stop trying so hard to please everybody else.
3.) I do not have a home. What I have instead is a home in the hearts of my family and friends and I have made peace with my own heart which provides the greatest comfort I know. The added bonus, if you will please see #1, is that I now also don’t have a mortgage to stress out about, in a really crappy economy, whilst being unemployed. Amazingly, when you are unable to pay for basic necessities, you quickly figure out what is and is not a necessity.
4.) I have fewer friends. Conveniently, all of the ones who still act like the mean girls from high school (oh, and there are plenty of guys who fall into this category as well….don’t you worry) fell out of my life when they opted to stab me in the back in order to remain friends (or most likely sleep with) with the prick from #2. Not really sure why, other than that is their cross to bare and my shoulders aren’t as heavy now that I have opted not to schlep their shit around – I have enough of my own thank you very much. To those of you who did offer me safe haven from the storms of grief you are saints (especially when you refer back to #3), and I don’t know if I can ever express how much I value you and how much you have taught me about what generosity and genuine caring look like.
5.) I went bat shit crazy. Every now and then, it is good to hit rock bottom to see that most of the things that we strive for, complain about, worry over, attempt to control, change or cause really just don’t effing matter. These things do not and will not bring you happiness, nor do they help you sleep at night and they are completely overrated. What does matter is that you take care of yourself and be your own best friend, otherwise you just end up acting like an a-hole. (I do have to admit, that being certifiably nuts does offer some fun moments when you are free to act like a 4-year-old again and pitch an all out raging, screaming fit in the middle of the grocery store, wait until a customer goes to find the store manager, move three aisles down, and then when he/she arrives to inquire as to what all the wailing is about, tell the manager you heard the woman crying on the other side of the store and ask if everything is okay – now how many sane people get to do this?! Tell me!)
6.) My dreams are gone. This is a lesson that the Buddha taught long ago that attachment and aversion create equal suffering. The dreams I had attached an expected outcome to were also causing me to avoid looking at the consequences of achieving those dreams. Sometimes our dreams hold us back from living in harmony with ourselves and others, sometimes our dreams are what cause us the most harm. I no longer have the desire to achieve goals that create discord and cause anxiety. Sometimes we get so focused on achieving the dream or the goal that we forget to stop and ask whose life is it anyway and whose dream am I dreaming?
7.) I gave up on myself. This was the most gut-wrenching lesson of them all. One that I had to do in grandiose fashion to learn that I will NEVER give up on ME again.
Merry Christmas, Baby Jack. I hope that someday we can all learn to treat ourselves and each other with as much compassion and love as you taught to all of us.