For the second time in three years I have been engaged – or attempted to be engaged – in battle. The first time, my friends were dragged into something that should have only been between me and another, and many attempts were made to paint an ugly picture of me. I remember saying I was surprised that I had my first high school “he said/she said” almost 30 years after I graduated.
I should point out here, that I’m entirely capable (and apparently willing) to make myself look bad on my own. Ask anyone who knows me. Better yet, go back and read through my blog; it’s not all sunshine.
This time, the attack was even more vicious and more personal, and very detailed; it will affect my whole family, too. War was officially declared (in writing), along with a threat of “My mind, my time, my wealth aimed at YOU. Get ready!”
Because I’m an idiot, my first thought was to be flattered that little old me could ever deserve such attention. (Of course, I would probably appreciate a promise like that more if it came from a significant other.)
Then, I thought, Wow. That’s a real threat. I don’t think I ever expected to get one in my life. At least, not since high school.
I guess I’m a late bloomer.
Could this person hurt me and my family?
I suppose. Maybe. Yes. No. All of the above. That person has enough free time and considerable resources, so I guess if the desire is there it is possible to cause some trouble, at the very least.
What could happen to me?
· My reputation could be ruined? Been there; done that.
· Could I be financially ruined? It’d be hard to break down something that was never there.
· Would another wedge be driven into my family? I’m Sicilian; we do wedges better than lettuce and Dr. Scholl’s combined.
· Is it possible that this person could ruin my attempts at fulfilling my dreams? There is the possibility of certain blockages, due to this person’s resources; however, I write (basically) because I like to talk – and no one can shut me up. Ask anyone who knows me.
I guess all that’s left is my honor. So, I guess that is what is at stake.
That’s a funny line, isn’t it? “My honor is at stake.” What is honor? High respect? Esteem?
What it boils down to is that someone could say something about me in an attempt to make others lose respect for me. What THAT boils down to is whether or not someone else’s opinion of me matters. I don’t say that in belligerence, and I certainly don’t deny that my feelings could get hurt; what I am saying is that I have the right to only be concerned with what I think of myself. Everyone has that right.
What do I think of me?
For answers, I went to the family closet and danced with a few of the skeletons kept there. I found quite a few that I would probably be happier if they stayed where they were, and not publicized in gory, Technicolor detail.
Wow. There are more than I thought.
(No. I didn’t murder anyone, nor do I have any plans to.)
But, boy! Did I do some stupid shit! Of course, I don’t believe I could have gone a full 48 and a half years without amassing a pile, right?
This particular theme of worrying what others think/judgment had already been half-formed in my head this past month. It’s actually one of my ongoing themes that I’ve touched on a few times. My original title was going to be “Mary Poppins or Phil Collins?” Mary Poppins (in Disney’s movie) had a great line that she delivered in a no-nonsense and friendly manner in response to her actions being questioned: “I never explain anything.” That stuck with me; I always wished I could be like that. Phil Collins sang, “I don’t care what you say.” We can all relate to that.
I’m not Mary Poppins, but I’m not Phil Collins; I’m somewhere in between. I don’t yet have Mary Poppins’ self-empowered confidence, and Phil’s not caring was too extreme in the other direction, because I hear defeat in that song. I can relate to the in-your-face not caring, in the surrender of leaving others to their own thoughts, opinions, and actions – not in defeat, but in the letting go of what truly doesn’t matter. What others say and think about me does not prevent me from getting up in the morning and going about my life and trying to do the best I can with what I have.
So, what do I think about me? Oh, I’m an idiot. I’ve been childish, selfish, mean, pathetic, stupid, ridiculous, hurtful, snide, lazy, messy … I could probably go through the alphabet at least three times (and all of the seven dwarfs).
I’m also not as insecure as I used to be. I’m happier than I used to be. I’m learning more than ever, and that’s allowed me to appreciate more. I even get proud of myself once in a while. (Yay, me.)
Would a smear campaign take any of that away? No.
I would probably be embarrassed, though.
Why, indeed? Because I’ve done things people wouldn’t have expected me to do? Because I’ve surprised someone else – or, better yet, because I’ve disappointed someone?
Humiliation needs to be accepted. If I feel ashamed for something I’ve done, that is on me. Am I proud of everything I’ve done? Of course not. (Sometimes, I even try not to repeat the same mistakes over and over.) If I let someone make me feel humiliated, that is on me, too. For me to accept humiliation, I would have to believe that another person has more value than I do, and if I’ve learned one thing, it is that I am just as wonderful as you are – and in the funny vein of paradox, I probably learned that by doing something wrong or stupid.
A while back I wrote about feeling like a fraud here. I’d received some very nice feedback on some of the things I’d written and it made me uncomfortable because I don’t have my shit together. But then I realized that I write about what I feel and what I am learning and what is of value to me. I write for me first. If by my example – good or bad – someone else finds benefit, support, or an idea of what not to do, then that is a bonus, but not the prime objective. I’m not here to tell anyone what to do. I was never good at measuring up to anyone else’s yardstick, and I realized it’s a waste of time to try. If each day I can do one thing better, nicer, or smarter than I did the day before, then I can be happy with myself, no matter what anyone thinks. We all can.
I’m not trying to be brave. I’m not trying to amass an army in my defense. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done. Good, bad, or otherwise. I’m being real. I try to be better each day. I voice my opinions, relevant or not. I talk about sunshine, love, connections – about what I would like to achieve, what I aspire to.
And I still do stupid shit. You’ll probably hear about that, too (or see it on Facebook).
Do I argue? Some would say incessantly. (Again, ask anyone who knows me.)
Will I go to war?
I have other things in life more valuable than my honor. I’m not always right, but I’m learning to be right with me.
Who knows? I might even learn more from this.