So… after yesterday’s little melt-down… and – with much-appreciated support from friends and tribe’sters… today – I am squashing bugs and dealing with demons.
The thing about change is that it’s a journey and a process.
It’s not a “destination”. Nobody has “arrived”.
We all have our layers and our issues and our undealt-with shit that we’re working through. There is never a time when any of us can stop and say: “I’ve done it! I am now completely issue-free! I’ve dealt with all my demons and addictions! I’ve arrived!”.
One of my returning, recurring issues / struggles is an old habit that has shadowed me for most of my life. And, as the saying goes, “old habits die hard”.
I have a couple of old habits (that I’ve been struggling to eliminate for some time now)… and it’s interesting – because they seem to work together – like a little roach tribe of sorts. And they’re nasty, hard-to-kill roaches. They keep returning – again and again!!
There’s a quote by Cari Corbett-Owen that goes something like this:
“A changing habit is seldom a one-step-wonder. Rather, a series of repeated stumblings in which we learn to catch ourselves progressively earlier every time”
The old habits I’ve been trying to eliminate… (and yes – as you could see by yesterday’s post – they’re still around) are these 3 things:
- Expectations (placed upon my life by others – but especially those I’ve placed upon my own life)
- Fear of Conflict
All 3 of these old habits work together as a unit (probably why it’s so difficult to get rid of one at a time! It’s almost like all 3 need to be eliminated at once!).
Here’s how they work:
The-Disease-to-Please comes in all kinds of ominous, soul-destroying forms… but for me – it’s my desire to be liked. I don’t want people to hate me. I don’t want people to say nasty things to (or about) me. I want to… be liked!
So – because of this, I do all sorts of shoot-myself-in-the-foot things, like:
- I say YES all the time (even when I want to say “no”). And – as a result – I stretch myself way too thin and end up letting people down. I never intended to let them down – and they wouldn’t be let down in the first place – if I had just had the courage to say: “No, I can’t do that” – or even “No, I don’t want to do that”. And – of course – when I DO let people down, I’m then consumed with guilt… which is then followed by some kind of self-flagellation.
- I try to be “nice”. I water myself down, bite my tongue, wear my “nice” mask – and morph into a sweet, insipid NOT ME person! I am not “nice!”. I am opinionated and potty-mouthed! I have burp-contests with my kids. I swear and rant when I’m stuck behind a slow driver. I drop cocktail meatballs down my cleavage at red-carpet events. I write (and sing) ranty songs about anarchy and suburbia! I get the uncontrollable giggles at sombre events (like government speeches and funerals)… I could go on…
I have written a blog post about expectations – and I talk about them (and think about them) a lot. Shakespeare said that expectations are the root of all heartache… and I concur.
Expectations also come in all sorts of soul-destroying forms. The kind of expectations that I struggle with most – are those that I’ve placed upon my own life.
Deep down inside – a small piece of my mindset (that just won’t fucking die!!)… has bought into this idea of all these things I’m “supposed to” be… and “ought to” be… and “ought-to” do… and “should” behave like… and so on…
It’s like I have this weird Stepford Wife living in my head… sternly reprimanding me for being Hat. She tells me how irresponsible I’m being. She tells me that I’m not “enough”… not-a-good-enough-mother… not-a-good-enough-wife… not-a-good-enough-friend… (and on and on). She goes on and on about all the things I “ought to” be… and “ought to” do… and “ought to” look like…
I ought to (she says) be more respectable, responsible, practical, disciplined, organised, lady-like, well-behaved, good-housewife, sensible, diligent, neat, measured…. (on and on and on she goes)…
… and, of course, I definitely shouldn’t say “fuck”…
… and I definitely shouldn’t share ranty songs, draw rude things or pull zap signs at billboards.
FEAR OF CONFLICT
I am a peace-loving person. I utterly loathe conflict and will do pretty much anything in my power to avoid it (even if it means shooting myself squarely in the foot).
It’s hard to understand why I have such a visceral reaction to conflict. Possibly because I’m an INFP – Idealist (and types like me are renowned for their hatred of conflict). Or possibly because there was a lot of conflict (one parent aggressive – the other passive) in our home while growing up.
But mostly – I think I hate conflict because it…
…drains the life out of me.
And – so – (again) – I do all sorts shoot-myself-in-the-foot things to avoid conflict of all kinds:
- I put on my people-pleasing “nice” mask.
- I say “yes” when I want to say “no”.
- I don’t stand up for myself when people behave in rude, arsehole-like ways.
- If somebody accuses me of something – my first reaction is to go inside my head and say: “Maybe they’re right about me! Maybe I am awful!”
- I try my best not to piss people off (and water down my Hat’ness in all sorts of ways – worrying that things I say / do / create might offend people – and thus – cause conflict).
- I try to make-nice with my accusers… allowing free access to people to poo on my dreams or ridicule my ideas in whichever way they choose.
- I edit myself (all the time!).
- I tell myself: “Just keep the peace, keep the peace!” – even if somebody is saying really hurtful things to me.
- I add endless disclaimers and justifications and explanations… to my art, songs, blog posts and opinions.
See how all of these work together like a 3-headed-Monster-Roach??
SO…. suffice to say… I have spent much of today tackling that old-habit 3-headed-Roach-Monster. I’ve spent most of the day surrounded by art supplies… and I have created a “ME” Manifesto – something I can use (every day!!!) to REMIND myself of who I am. And what’s truly important to me.
I’m using it as AMMO…
So next time nasty Stepford-Wife-of-Expectation whispers her criticisms in my ear and demands that I don the “Mask-of-Fakery”… I shall consult the ME-Manifesto… and remind myself of what’s true and real and ME’ish and Hatty….
And I shall say: “Fuck you, stupid Stepford Wife! I am not those things! I don’t want to be those things. I don’t want to jump through all those ridiculous hoops. I’m me… I’m Hat. It’s taken me years to remember and embrace my HAT’ness – and I’m not going to let your pre-programmed poo lead me astray from who I truly am!”
Here’s the first few pages of my ME-MANIFESTO:
And there you have it…
What was intended as a short, quick post – inevitably became a long-winded ramble. Maybe I should also make peace with that. That I write long posts….
Hat-huggery to all… !
PS: And if you decide to also make a YOU-Manifesto… share it with me, pretty-please!