Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 471.

A die-hard & favorite homie reminded me today of one of my most epic freakouts of all time. We had a good chuckle about it, as we always do when this particular instance comes up in conversation. I won't get into details here, but let's just say it involved me waving my hands over my head wildly and screaming at the top of my lungs, "SHUT THE FUCK UP! WILL YOU PLEASE JUST SHUT RIGHT THE FUCK UP!!" at some neighbors.

Ahem. So. I am not perfect. I've certainly learned a lot since then and tend to communicate in a way more calm and polite manner, even when triggered or when things have gotten really bad. But, you know. It's a path. I'm still learning, and still practicing, and I will be the first to tell you that I am not perfect by any means. I say that a lot. Shit, I just said it twice in this paragraph.

Sometimes I do things that hurt others. Sometimes these are things that I can't imagine are hurtful by any means. And still people are hurt, and it grabs me by surprise. Sometimes, I actually think I am being nice. And the things I do still hurt other people. And sometimes I do something, knowing it will be hurtful. I am always sort of ashamed of myself, even while it is happening, but this is a conditioned tendency of mine. I learned to do this as a way to "win" arguments or disagreements or if I felt that someone was attacking me. It took many years and much reinforcement to adopt this behavior, and it is taking a lot of intentional work and deprogramming to be able to stop in moments of conflict and choose to act a different way. I am clear that this work is worth doing, as this kind of thing hardly ever happens anymore, I suppose as a result of this intentional work. I find that practicing the extension of compassion, embodying it, has helped me to stop and take a breath (sometimes a really long breath. Sometimes a few days or weeks or months of breathing.) so I can go back into the conversation from a place of trusting myself enough to not intentionally hurt the other person. This can be hard for people to understand, that one of the ways I try to mitigate the harm that I could potentially cause is by removing myself. I want to say, "I recognize this pattern, I've been here before, and oh lord, if you try to keep me talking, I pretty much guarantee you won't like what comes out." But I usually can't even get to that in such intense moments. I just need to remove myself.

I would like to have more choice in the ways that I respond to conflict. This is not the only way that I respond to any conflict, thank goodness. I am thankfully a bit more well-rounded than that. But when stuff gets pretty difficult, this is a common reaction. I think one of my next steps in this work will be to practice re-centering, holding my boundaries, respecting those of others, and staying connected in the midst of conflict. When it's that bad. But again, here I am. Right now. Just at this place. Learning about choice in conflict, step by step. Reducing harm by pulling away, taking a breather. Because that's what I'm capable of right now.

I am really, truly, actively, working on my shit, friends. I really am.

I want to respect and honor the scared and traumatized and ugly in everybody I am in relationship with, along with the beautiful and kind and gentle. And I need them to respect and honor that in me. I don't know how to move forward in relationship otherwise. Just as I am taking steps to not punish or shame others for any part of their wonderful, whole, human self that has brought them to this point, surviving against all odds, I need that back. I won't be shamed for my humanity. I am she who has yelled "SHUT THE FUCK UP!" and I am she who has held and nurtured and extended kindness to strangers. I am she who hit her sister growing up and she who has rescued runaway dogs. I am ugly, I am beautiful. I am mean, I am kind. I am growing.

I am trying.

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