Today as I wandered around in my disorderly computer files trying to clean out the messes that I have left behind myself over the years, I stumbled upon stuff that I wrote eons ago—stuff that never saw the light of day, stuff that just sits there awaiting some sort of acknowledgement, destination, or deletion. As I look back, these dusty little gems show me where I was then, and where I am now. Today’s discovery, written sometime prior to 2009 is a fine example of my escape from self-terrorism into the happy realm of loving my perfectly imperfect self. Here it is:
I think I am suffering from seasonal hair disorder. You know – the winter blah kind of thing that would make my hair look as if I stuck a finger in a light socket with the electricity turned on?
Not only that, but I have a sneaking suspicion that in an effort to seek good company, the hair disorder gremlins have sent out some clever little scouts that have obligingly returned with the discovery of a personality disorder to add to my list of seasonal dysfunctions.
The hair situation is only a temporary thing, thank goodness, but the personality disorder thing—well, sometimes I think it will never end. Just as I think I have one aspect of myself in order, another flares up to remind me of my imperfection. My current favorites are foot-in-mouth disease, and bad judgment.
On the growing number of occasions when I suffer flare-ups of one disorder or another, my first tendency is to immediately send myself into bouts of self-flagellation in an attempt to beat myself back into my own good graces. This is not a technique that I would recommend to anyone who is trying to make the return trip to sanity.
Once I discover the futility of self-flagellation, I move on to rationalization. “Well, it really wasn’t that bad, was it? I think he’s over reacting just a wee bit. Obviously she misunderstood what I said. If she had been paying closer attention, it wouldn’t have happened at all, right”
The next response to my faux pas is the questioning phase. Why in Heaven’s name did I say such a thing? It just squirted out of my mouth like Ketchup out of a bottle that’s been slapped on the bottom 57 times. I can’t believe I did such a thing. How could I have been so thoughtless?
Oh, my poor aching psyche!
Behavior is not who I am. Bad behavior, good behavior, not who I am. Sometimes I’m the good witch and sometimes I’m the bad witch. I’m the whole witch, both good and bad. Maybe when I learn to love and respect the entirety of myself, I can say goodbye to my disorders. Well, the personality one, at least. The hair disorder may be around for as long as there are winters in my life.
What troubles me about all of this disorder business is that it seems to be happening more frequently. It’s as if the message is becoming more and more urgent. GET IT TOGETHER GIRL! Maybe I’d better pay attention and listen up.
Maybe it’s all that unhealed anger that’s been roiling around inside of me. Maybe I’d better get busy and start tending to myself because if I don’t, those embarrassing foot-in-mouth moments will show up more and more often.
I actually know people who don’t suffer from any of these annoyances. They just don’t get it. “Stop beating up on yourself,” they say. Or, “You’re being a little hard on yourself, don’t you think?” I spoke to such a person over onion soup and a chicken wrap just yesterday. Apparently, some folks simply cannot relate to those of us who haven’t mastered Self-Love 101 yet.
Contrarily, I also know people just like me. The self-flagellation specialists who find any little excuse at all to tell themselves that they were wrong, said something stupid, or committed some unforgivable act. Maybe it’s because like attracts like, but it seems to me that there are a whole lot more of us than there are of them.
Frankly, I think that these guiltless wonders have their nerve. Just who do they think they are, anyway? How dare they just shrug their shoulders and walk away from their mistakes while the rest of us suffer the treachery of our own mind drama?
But you know what? I’ll give myself credit for having the courage to say out loud what so many of us suffer in silence. After all, who wants to admit to walking through life carrying a bag loaded full of personal flaws? It’s a crummy job, but I’ll do it, because by golly, if it gives just one other person hope and the courage to move beyond their self-perceived sins, then it’s all worth it.
Maybe I’ll try to be more like the guiltless ones.
Or, maybe just I’ll choose to be perfectly imperfect.
Ah. Living happily within the realm of one’s own good graces is a glorious thing. I highly recommend it.