“When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any
known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you
shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name —— the way, the
thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today’s prompt – Can you remember a moment in your life when you had life in yourself and it was wholly strange and new? Can you remember the moment when you stopped walking a path of someone else, and started cutting your own?
It’s pretty safe to say that I live in the world that is “wholly strange and new”. I have 37 journals to show for my journey. There isn’t a specific moment. I tend to come to conclusions gradually, then make changes in one area of my life before I change others.
What I can say is that I clearly remember February 2005, when I looked around me, blinking, and wondered whose life this was. I was living everyone else’s expectations and I was so out of synch that the disconnect finally jangled me awake. I remember realizing how angry I was all of the time.
Naturally, I am a terminally cheerful optimist. But I’d taken on a persona of someone who was angry all of the time as a protective mantle. My anger was safer and more controlled than anyone else’s, and as long as I was angry, no one else tried to fill that void.
My anger wasn’t wholly fabricated. Part of it was due to the fact that I’m an introvert (not shy, introverted, there’s a difference). Introverts need alone time, in interrupted quiet time, to rest and recharge, and I didn’t get much alone time – if any – at that point in my life.
What I do when I’m over-stimulated is a knee-jerk response. I lash out. I bitch and I gripe and I snark until everyone around me says to themselves “I’m gonna leave her alone for a while.” It isn’t pleasant, but it’s effective. The far better and more effective way to do this is to say “I’m going to go hide under a rock. Leave me alone!” and to have the people in my life respect that and not take it personally. Works wonders with my disposition.
I left behind anger on a number of counts that year. Anger to protect myself, anger that I wasn’t getting time alone, anger that I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live.
Mostly, these days, I head my temper off at the pass. I notice the over-stimulation before it hits the boiling point and get some me-time. I notice resentment about Brett sitting on his tuckus when I’m doing all of the housework, and instead of being passive-aggressive about it (like I would have been in the past), I walk in and say “I’m feeling resentful. I’d appreciate some help.” Most of all, I live every day according to my real desires, my own goals and values.