I can honestly say the last two weeks have been awful. Just awful.
And, as a native Portlander and true enthusiast for anything that blocks out the sun, I blame the rain.
Well, the rain and the flu. And the food poisoning. And the bad sleep.
Oh, and, mostly, myself.
I accept without question that I am at the root of most of my problems. I am long past the age of thinking the world is out to get me, or that I have been grievously targeted by forces beyond my control. I’m kind of a stupid person who makes stupid mistakes. I stupidly gave myself food poisoning by cooking something that was a bit more than questionable with a “oh, it’ll be fine” in the back of my head. It was not fine. The food poisoning is all on me.
Nothing really seems fine right now. In many different aspects of my life I am facing the possibility that I am not the person that I think I am. Or more so, that I am not the person I am used to thinking of myself as.
I admitted during confession yesterday that I am angry. Angry that I was hurt and that there is the same forgiveness for all of us. I want to hold onto to my sense of being the injured party. I kept trying to tell myself that I was over it; that I had moved on with my life. No harm, no foul, and if I just didn’t think about it, then I was all good. Just reading how many clichés I managed to rack up in those few sentences should be an indication of my level of not-dealing. I have to accept that towards a very specific person I am choosing to not be forgiving. I’m trying to take onto myself the power of saying yes and no to the dispositions of another’s heart. And that isn’t my place. And I never thought I would try to do that. I have always considered myself fairly forgiving, willing to (eventually) look beyond personal grief I might feel and see their soul having equal value to my own.
But Fr. Jedi pointed out to me, in a not so subtle way, that my anger is causing me more damage that I thought. I didn’t see that the anger wasn’t separate from what else has been going on in my soul. I like to put my sin in boxes; here is sin A that I do most of the time, here is sin B that I do often but not excessively, here is sin C that I occasionally indulge in and here is sin D that got me in the talking-closet today. My anger was distinct from the other thing I was doing that weren’t in accordance with God’s will. Or so I thought. If it isn’t, and it can’t be, since I am a human being and not a robot and everything that happens to me or that I do is going to affect everything else, then the anger is what I have to deal with. I can’t pretend that I am better than I am anymore, pretend that I just let it all go without doing any of the work of forgiving.
Now, on the complete opposite side of shit, I cannot either pretend any longer that I am worse than I am. I cried myself to sleep on Thursday because I opened up to my assistant head-master about my difficulties with my co-worker. I couldn’t explain myself well at all and it ended up with me looking like an asshole bad-mouthing a woman whom should wear a hallow, according to popular opinion. I cried for hours, first of all for being so stupid as to tell someone with power over my career just how spiteful I am, and for being such a failure. I managed to be the one person who can’t get along with a woman generally considered to be “just the nicest person.” How shitty am I that most of the time I’m around her I want to scream?
Well, the thing is, I’m not shitty. I react in shitty ways sometimes when I don’t want to behave like an adult. But I think I’m failing to get along with her because I have been seeing myself as someone less than her, and the truth is I’m not. I get frustrated because there are certain things she is unwilling to do that seem like perfectly normal and easy tasks to me. (On Tuesday she came in looking for the cups I keep in my room. I mentioned that it would be easier for her to just get a water bottle, rather than every day have to come looking for a cup that she loses by the end of the day. She told me having a water bottle was too difficult, because then she would have to wash it out and she’s to busy for that. I’m pretty sure I made lemon-face at her.) Everyday there seems to be a new instance where in my eyes she shows a lack of common sense or good judgment or more importantly, emotional maturity. But I’m beginning to think that it isn’t that she’s particularly stunted, but rather that I am more gifted than most people.
Yup, that makes me sound like a totally up-jumped bitch. But, hear me out. When I consider that I spent years of my early teens attending funerals, that I survived a serious suicide attempt at 16, that I was told before I was 16 that I would never be able to have children, that I had my heart-broken into the tiniest of tiny shard right before I graduated college, that I spent 2 years unemployed, that I was held for years as an emotional hostage by a friend who said they “loved” me, that I was verbally abused and psychologically manipulated by my employer for 2 years, and that I tried to drink myself to death for years (and years and years), well, I’m not actually in too bad a shape. I have an amazing capacity for endurance. Despite everything (and trust me, this is just the highlights, not nearly everything) that I have been through in basically 20 years (my first ten where pretty awesome), I am not a drooling puddle on the floor. God has given me a talent for living through pain and making it out on the other side. It’s a gift. It’s a gift for difficulty and it makes me less prone to making disasters out of what are simply the details of everyday life. And, it makes me impatient with those who don’t have this gift. It makes me see people who have not been asked to face great hardship, and have not been given the grace to do so, as somehow lacking.
Maybe if I can remember that I am not a wretched person incapable of not being frustrated with the most well-intentioned yet ineffectual person I’ve yet to meet, but rather that God has asked more of me because I am capable of more, then maybe I can find a way to get along with her.
I don’t want to be angry anymore. But I’m the only one who can do anything about that. And the only way I can is if I see who I am in the clearest possible light; no better, no worse.
(2 Years, 23 Days Sober)